Saturday, 16 July 2016

Hot Walls: Hot Feet and Hot Bods

brick vaulted ceilings cannon portholesWelcome to the Mungledome! Marvellous. I was plugged into my cyber-teat by nine and didn't have to emerge into reality until breakfast, for which I had 2 boiled eggs in case I'm about to start a growth spurt. Many of my friends have, it has to be my turn next.
I am a troubled being. For I know that everyone else is out there capturing Pokémon by the dozen in the parks and roadways of good old Blighty and I'm not, because I can't get Pokey-go to download for me. This means that while externally I might appear to be a devilishly handsome future prime minister and father of twelve, I am in fact riven by self-doubt and roiling anger.
But then it was acting. Sydney came round in a most inventive pink outfit with teuthic tentacles and we practised our lines and went through our next performance, outside because it was sunny. A fighter jet overflew us and the Naval Base at about 500 feet but I reckon it was one of ours. At the end, the big boss told all the parents to have the costumes ready by tomorrow, and Bud said what costume, and I said it's the one I've brought back letters about, like, 5 times, so we'd better make it right away.
But first we had a planned walkies. I lectured Bud for 20 minutes about Pokémon having heard that Flynn had just captured 9 in the park, which made the walk to Spice Island fly by.
solent boating portsmouth historic sea defencesMy current home town has a small amount of history with wharf and defence facilities going back a couple of thousand years right outside the theatre. One of the old bits is the 'Hot Walls' which are imposing gun platforms and barracks right at the harbour entrance. You've always been able to walk along the top and go on the roof of the Round Tower but the lower floors were always locked, apart from when the Wynter-storms opened one of them and we went in and saw stalactites, srsly, because of that chunky history I mentioned earlier.
But now the city council has funded some rock-on redevelopment and these in-yer-face historic assets are now tourist-friendly art galleries and a café and an ice cream shop, all with vaulted ceilings and exposed brickwork and all the right stuff that historians and estate agents bang on about.
The café sits right in the corner with harbour views and those arrow-slits and cannon windows and it was full of Americans going holey moley, Martha, ain't this wunnerful, and these were some tunnels I hadn't been in before and they didn't disappoint. We shall return.
americas cup portsmouth VIP villageAnd the art holes are very worthy but we didn't buy anything yet, what with Bud going onto welfare and everything. The sun was out and summer had definitely arrived, and so had the crowds of Spanish students and myriad un-tanned bodies getting the first red patches of the season, Nipple Monday having well and truly passed. Clarence Pier Amusement Arcade was loud and smelt of candyfloss and chips and thieving seagulls. Target #2 was Mozzarella Joe's, a food dispensary on the beach. Workmen were erecting lines of flagpoles for the Americas Cup next weekend and I got calamari and chips and Jof got in late straight from work and had a Caesar salad which was just wet leaves so she got Megalodon chips which have extra cheese and bacon. OK, so 3 of us had lunch, and 2 rounds of soft drinks on the seafront but £59 seemed steep. We left her arguing about money with the manager, which is one of her top hobbies.
Next stop: the bandstand. The Cub Scout leader wanted to meet there this Monday but we knew that it was absolutely covered in fences and workmen and canopies and viewing platforms and flags and generators and keep out signs, and that didn't disappoint either. The Americas Cup is a big deal and after the embarrassment of last year when 2 days had to be cancelled for bad weather, the council has spent extra on flags and marquees and weather forecasters. We did however (last year) manage to 'liberate' the bar price list 2015 including a signpost saying It Is An Offence To Be Intoxicated In Charge Of Minors which pretty well condemns everybody I know to Transportation to the Colonies.
Southsea seafront boat rowing competitionsThe tide was out so we hopped along the exposed rocks, treading on all the barnacles and limpets. A noisy noise may very well annoy a noisy oyster but it was too noisy to ask any, what with all the laughing we were doing. Jof met us at an ice cream outlet (she does not hop rocks or barnacles) and I had an orange sticky one which dribbled down my tummy (shirts not included today) and I got all sticky.
Way further on, Target #4 was the Southsea Regatta. The Dear Old Queen was not in attendance like at Henley but many rowing clubs from far and wide had brought their boats and were sculling merrily across the Solent in a barrage of coxless pairs and novice sweeps. My feet were tired and hot so once Jof had convinced me that I was tired and it was such a long way home, I demanded to go on the bus so we did, a snip at £3.60 to avoid a 10 minute walk. My acting bag was examined and it contained zero costume order forms. Later, I had a bath which made my legs feel much better.

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