Monday, 31 October 2016

Promotion, with Zombies

adopted kid funny failThis morning I was just arguing with Jof about making me hurry to school when I unexpectedly met Bud: I said 'Oh, that's because you've lost your job', he was not impressed methinks.
Today I took in my forged POW ID card from the Scouting Lamps trophy. 2 other people in my class were contestants, I wonder whether they kept their ID badges or destroyed their documents at the border and claimed asylum as a nationless stowaway.
In the end, only they got to do a show'n'tell, but I did find out that one of the groups got so repeatedly lost, the Explorers were sent out to retrieve them.
At my dentists appointment I was worried that I'd be forced to wear braces, possibly leaving me unable to eat pasta, and ruining my good looks (and enhancing them in the long term, of course), but the dentist said no braces yet, but if I don't brush more I'll be getting a filling next time.
The immediacy of this tangible threat with the drilling and the needles and the manacles and the screaming suddenly seemed worse than braces.
boy on a space hopper at halloweenIt was barely 530 when the first bloodthirsty demons came to the door for sugary handouts and hey presto it was the annoying girl who looks good on the outside but is distinctly crunchy on the inside. Lucky we gave them the chocolate with the laxatives. Later we got Caspar the Very Creditable Cubscout, Mad Rosie and Loud Poppy.
At Cub Scouts the three of us who have come of age did our rite of passage ceremony which is to bounce across the room on a Space Hopper and shake the hands of the welcoming Scout Scouts. It was funny, with a room full of Zombies and Skeletons and Undeads and so forth. I liked being Top Dog in Cubs, now I have to be Little Puppy in Scouts. We played loud games and ran around screaming which was just fine by us. Now I have a whole 3rd generation of badges to get.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Hyper and Hypo: Coming Down

Lamps Trophy: The Saga Continues
So, once the parents had left and the Scout Leaders had been shooed away, we reported for duty at the Desk Sergeant's table. We were Group 7 of 18, so that meant that at least 10 different Scout packs were represented, quite an administrative challenge. We got mugshots done and had to make our own ID badges and stick the photos on, with our Group #, and emergency phone # etc, much like 'if found, please return this bear to Peru'. A big blue bus arrived and delivered fish and chips for the Leaders, but not for us. Because he was 20 minutes late, the big blue bus driver sped us down country lanes in a mad rush to Base #1, which was the tunnel 'Harry'. It was a tunnel under tarpaulins with a trolley and we had to pull ourselves through the tunnel on the attached rope. Then Guard #1 told us to follow the trail of glowsticks to a field. Right in the middle of the field was a bloke with a torch and a stiff bot because he'd been waiting for an hour. We had to give the passphrase "The snow in Warsaw is very early this year" and he told us to take a heading of 168 degrees on our orienteering compass, 800 metres to the gate. We all had a wee and Dorito break. A further 600M away was a hay bale, the next checkpoint. The task was 'Blind in the Town'. There was a maze of ropes, and one of us was blindfolded and he had to make his way through the maze following shouted instructions from us. The Checkpoint Guard had a series of commands in Polish and we had to use a translation card from Polish to English: our blind man only hit one rope.
The Guard gave us the clue "Use Wayfarers' Walk" and we went off through a hedge tunnel to a field where the path split. There were hidden Explorer Scouts in various bushes along the route to make sure we didn't go TOO wrong and we remembered the Wayfarer clue and went the right way unlike the other Group who got lost. We passed a cow sleeping while standing up, and a bull so we turned off our red light so as not to enrage it. Hopping stiles in the fence, we saw bunnies in the moonlight.
There was a queue of 3 Groups at the next task and Group 6 got told off for destroying the farmer's property when they broke sticks off trees and attacked each other.
For this task, we had to make a stretcher out of 2 poles and a rope and carry our Team Leader 200 yards on it, and he had to remain silent the whole time as he was playing the role of injured soldier. The pathway took us through the woods to Stop #4, after 4 hours. It was midnight so we all went aaargh it's school tomorrow. A super-bumpy pathway next to a cliff popped out in a real ghost village and Stop #5 was in the churchyard. There was a tea station so I had a cup of tea, for I am English. You get an Explorer Scout escort through the deserted streets and Group 5 managed to lose their escort. Nearby was a tiny field with such a slope, there were ropes to help you get up.
On the next stop we had to show our forged ID badges at 0100 and were sent across 3 more fields. It was dry, dark and very uneven underfoot which makes the yomping treacherous and tough. Base #7 was in a ditch between fields. The task was to broadcast a request to the Bridge Troll asking to use the bridge, in Morse code, with a box with one button and a light-up bulb on top. I was stabbed by a plant at 0200.
boy on blue sofa watching tablet videos
Base #8 was hidden behind some trees and it was a minefield, which of course meant we were blindfolded and followed shouted instructions, but at least in English this time. Nobody died apart from some passing German soldiers on leave who had had too much Schnapps. We met Group 6 in the forest and they were lost so they followed us, even though we told them not to. At the crossroads, we went straight over by the electric fence, but Group 6 did not, then someone jumped out screaming from behind a bush to scare them, we were wise to this because of the forewarning and didn't jump or go to the toilet in our trousers. Base #9 was in a small graveyard, at 230 in the morning, just before Halloween. Without torches, we had to find 3 war memorial graves and record their names.
Then we were by a car park and we reached the Scout Hut at 3 o'clock, after 7 hours of hiking! Because there were so many Scouts on this nocturnal mission, we only had 2 square yards of floor each but it was enough. I got 3 1/2 hours sleep because we were woken by reveille at 0700 for some pretty extensive tidying, the lost property roster, and massive bacon sandwiches with 5 slices in each. The winning Scout group got 162 points and we came 6th out of 18 with 149. Luke dropped me home at 1030 and I was totally hyper and babbled and jumped and gradually calmed down and was quiet on the sofa for the rest of the day, trouserless but in a blanket-poncho. Eventually the tablet had to be prised from my stiff little fingers.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Lamping but not Glamping

bransbury park southsea model trainsYesterday I had such a busy day that this morning I allowed myself an extra hour in bed, just to think. That made it 12 hours in bed, something I haven't managed for a while. My dreams reveal an underlying desire for infinite power forever, to wield it with blatant cruelty and sang-froid, and also to kill remorselessly.
I had been promised a day full of bugger-all with copious amounts of relaxation and some leisurely not-much thrown in, so I was most affronted when Jof said I had to go for a walk, without even any actual reason. We did Prince Albert Park which was full of girls and Bransbury Park, which had hordes of even pinker girls. I can spin myself up and de-spin myself in the Cup of Seasickness. Sometimes it's good just to park for no reason, you're only a kid twice. Jof made me a bacon sandwich, which is in fact cruel and unusual punishment for someone who is not only on a severe diet, but is a lapsed vegetarian (it's always bacon that causes the downfall).
portsmouth scouts lamp trophy entrantThat left me free for several hours of Minecraft before Scouts. The bigger the Scout, the more complex the tasks. Beaver Scouts only get a single night on camp. Cub Scouts get 2. Scout Scouts get shooting, and something called the Lamp Trophy which our group won last year, so we are determined to retain the title of Supreme Illuminati of the Lamp or whatever it is. We assemble in the dead of night in little-known backwoods village "Denmead" and get abducted by a mad mini-bus driver and callously abandoned in a haunted forest in the middle of nowhere with just maps, a compass, reflective safety gear and food. Then we have to make our way back to Blighty, facing challenges, crossing borders at night, and performing tasks along the 8 kilometre route, and all on a theme of "The Great Escape". I have seen this film and assume I will have to steal a plane with the help of a blind forger and escape to victory.
We picked up a Scout codenamed 'Luke' who used to go to my school 3 years ago, it's this sort of thing I shall have to get used to, everyone being 3 years older and 2 feet taller. But as a fellow soldier of the Old Regiment, we got on famously and were delivered to the safe house 4 minutes early, evading the searchlights and armed guards. Our CO was there and we were handed over to the Goons for assessment, delousing and transfer to other prison facilities. I was a little wary, but the team rallied round and you know, this might just work out. I awarded myself an extra hour in bed (ok, in sleeping bag) just because.

Friday, 28 October 2016

A Handful of Guerrilla's Nuts

planting trees milton common moorings way reclaimed landDeep in the night I awoke from a complicated dream about being back in the prison camp and trying to break out, but every bit of the island had a fence around it and I kept getting seen in the spotlights until I dug under my bed and made a tunnel to the shoreline and boarded an asylum-seeker boat.
Today I had a playdate with Ben and the JBs and possibly Bad Stanley so we cycled to Ben's house early to do some guerrilla gardening. The common is a big wild place where you're never too far from some bricks or a blackberry bush because it was all reclaimed from the sea by filling it with broken houses and sticking topsoil on it.
boys playing bottle flipWe took along a bagful of conkers and acorns from the park and those nuts you get at christmas and some beech tree seeds from Grandad's place and some sweet pea seeds from by the motorway and tried to bury them for next year like some manic squirrel. As before we had a silly idea of making a big giant M out of trees that you could see from Google Earth but it never works out that way.
The slopes by the new paths were much tougher to dig into than we thought because of all the tractors tamping it down but gradually we planted a load of nuts, attracting only a few suspicious glances from dog walkers and a really big rat we saw by the roadside.
Then I made it to Ben's place dead on time and the JBs got in and Team Puddle was active once more. Problem was, we're self-expanding. So, we cycled out on the bumpy paths. Then we did bottle-flip in the back yard. Then we did bottle-flip out of the open upstairs windows.
illuminati sweaty boys in trampoline partyThen we said, flip is such a flippin' excellent word, can we go to flip-out, which is a trampoline-frenzy place like many other soft-play venues, with madness, and blackjack, and hookers. When Pizza Hut was mentioned, there was no going back, srsly, do not even. 2 cars were chosen and payment was made and we invaded the trampolines and troubled the safety officials and the lights went onto strobe and acid house settings which was fine by us.
It looked like we were slow-motioning through the air with green and red trail hallucinations as we hardcored the night away until it was time for Pizza. Further kiddie parties just made everything louder and we had chips and dessert and I was dropped off at home at nearly 10 but it was only my legs that were complaining but with added night-time milk and a shower I realized that bedtime is what I suddenly really needed. When you have Top Mates who have Top Mummies who help make the whole world happen for you, this is what you'll miss, in lots of ways, trust me on this, although I do not yet truly recognize it.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Boys from the Wet Stuff

Thursday. Bud got on his bike to look for work which is entirely untrue because he walked. Jobcentres have become armoured buildings under constant surveillance and with numerous GS4 guards, not like they used to be.
southsea sunken rock garden by pyramidsI loitered inside and completed my KS2 homework and then the JBs arrived. This was the promised diversion for me: with this arrangement, Jof doesn't have to interact with kids apart from periodically telling us to stop shouting. We used my bedroom to create giant penises out of Lego Hero components, then went to the Pyramids to discover an hour-long wait only once we'd paid for the car park. This was no problem for us as we played attack/evade in the sunken garden and then more of the same in the pools when our wristbands activated.
Full of chlorine, we had a couple of sandwiches and played attack chase hide'n'seek upstairs with guns until they went. I had Scout homework and the other KS2 homework and getting-my-stuff-together-for-Scout-camp work which he totally sprung on me so I got angry but in the end it was all done and I went back to Pokéminecraft Cyber-land forever.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

An Eling Comedy

eling totton bridge over tidal riverEvery now and then I have to keep my vast extended family happy by visiting either of them. And today, it was Grandad's turn. I was already in a sulk because I was playing Pokéminecraft and I sat by a Legendary Spawning point for, like, 10 minutes and no Pokies came along so I angrily battled rival tribes on my phone for 20 miles or so, and then we got to Grandad's place dead on time.
He likes teaching me maths (and cutting out newspaper articles saying things like only 5% of actors are employed at any given time) so we did the volume of a tea caddy and a box of Oxo cubes and then we estimated the area of Portsea Island to be 18 3/4 square kms.
We always have to go somewhere with a pub lunch because I consider the restaurant in the Elizabethan manor house to be too posh. This time, it was Eling, pronounced Ealing not Elling. This tiny village has been a working port since medieval times, has one of the 2 remaining tidal mills in the country, and has a smallish muddy nature reserve. We parked by a vast container wharf and dumping ground in a space marked "For Heritage Centre users".
eling tidal mill pond totton
The tidal mill is old and bent and apparently still mills grain for bread, but Ye Gifte Shoppe and Heritage Study Centre was closed for repairs. A huge family of swans eyed us suspiciously from the rapidly dropping water levels and we strolled off through the muddy marsh with reeds everywhere, like the ones they thatch roofs with.
The raised walkway has chicken wire on so it's not so slippery and Grandad said what clever chickens to nail the wire down like that. I babbled incessantly about the Dambusters and tried to hide in bushes but if you don't stop babbling it doesn't work. The graveyard was huge, something to do with the black death apparently. The church up the hill was nice (bells stolen in 1691) and it had a sign on the gate saying no kite flying here. As it was in dense woodland, we thought it rather strange but it was because by this bit of Southampton Water, many pylons carrying 400kV cross over the greensward. That's where we met 3 girls in a tree, must be half-term or something.
goatee beach eling by totton This green space (Goatee Beach, beards not compulsory) is directly opposite the Mega-docks of Southampton with its container-ships and cranes that go on forever, and downstream is a large metal UFO which turned out to be the Marchwood Incinerator.
The same family of swans swam over to hiss at us and follow us around in the hope of food but we went inland to a small playpark with a single climbing frame shaped like a pirate ship. I stood by the Fo'c'sle and gave Grandad the synopsis of the play "Pirates of the Currybean" in which I played Captain Swaggersword, Chief Wonga of Wongaland and 3rd Naughty Rat. In the tunnel under the ship we found a single piece of graffiti in neat handwriting saying "Satan will rule" but not specifying when, most disappointing.
coldharbour farm lee nursling southampton
On the medieval toll bridge itself, we saw a sign warning of 'Fear of Drowning'. Shouldn't it have been 'Danger of Drowning'? Eling seems to have a series of bizarrely worded signs. There was a man in the little toll booth charging £1 per car (70p for motorcycles) to cross, but he's only there in the daytime. Personally, I advise you to go for the £5 weekly season ticket, or back in time to when the previous owners (Winchester College) charged fourpence.
The Anchor Inn gave us our promised pub lunch, Grandad and I both had the child-size spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread, and a sign in the gents said anyone found using illegal drugs will be barred from every pub in Totton so I made sure I wasn't found.
Back at Grandad's place I had a swim in his pool although I had to share it with some old codger getting one-to-one physio then when everyone else had gone, I nipped into the spa hot-tub (over 18s only) and afterwards joined Grandad in the gym for some weights, the bar you pull down and some up-slope treadmilling. Meanwhile, pumpkins ripened in the field next door, D-Day minus 5 for them.
I declared the whole day to be a resounding success, even the most pleasant walk, and ate every single raspberry for pudding, leaving Jof zero.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Woolly Mammoth in the Room

Well, it looked like a normal holiday day with Jof ie not much. I did attack her a few times too often and she did battle endlessly with online webchat and call-centre people about such arcane devices as 'why are you charging me for a tablet I cancelled 3 years ago?', but other than that, all was quiet as a mouse. Unless it's one of those giant man-eating trumpet mice you get in the Horn of Africa.
southsea seafront crazy golf pitch and puttBut then Bud came home 2 hours early because his job finished today and we are now destitute and we have had to sell the family pewter and are packing up our troubles in my old swimming rucksack and heading west in a mule train. The going will be tough and there will be rattlesnakes but we have our god (which is me) so we'll eat those darned rattlesnakes and talk like the guy with the telescope in Blazing Saddles, goldurnit. He has survived 12 'Rounds of Redundancies' in the last 15 years but it seems 13th time unlucky.
But it was a sunny day and far too late we shipped out in the old jalopy to the seafront where Jof played me at Numbskull Golf while Bud went for a run. Crazy Golf is one thing, but as it's 3 days before the end of the season, the area was deserted and the Golf course had suffered a summer's worth of underinvestment, late-night drunken students nicking the model clowns and houses, and the attentions of non-toilet-trained seagulls. Thus it was downgraded to Numbskull Golf and we went from hole to hole wobbling the ramps, picking up the windmills and wondering what 13th wonder of the world should have been in the big empty patch in the middle of hole 7. On the way out, we asked the Chap-In-The-Booth and he said that his designer-built course was perfectly OK until it was made a free attraction during the recent Victorious Festival, with its transient tenty clientele with their snortable vodkas and cigarettes of forgetfulness. Later, I watched the Dambusters-based Carling Black Label Beer commercial (1990) on Youtube and dissed it totally, favouring Minecraft and Disney-Tarzan.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Chatting to Chaffinches

game of monopoly in progressHooray! The first day of half-term, or the first one where it's a Monday and you're not in school. It was always going to be a lazy day so Jof made us go to the park and get some fresh air. While we were there, we threw nuts to the squiggles and left tumble-dryer fluff and wool offcuts on the bushes for the birdies, to line their nests with. Now, some might say it's not nesting season so the nests will go unfluffed, but she says the birdies can make little fur coats and woolly fleeces instead. She really is very thoughtful about our feathered fiends, she saves bread crusts and bacon fat and says they can make their own bacon sandwiches. I think she's probably missed out on a successful career as a chaffinch whisperer or a sparrow crooner, maybe she's a great tit or a booby at heart.
Then we played Monopoly but when Bud got home from work I took it as a cue to leave and get back on the Minecraft. Later Jof found she'd lost lots of weight at Chunky Chappies Anonymous while we watched Dambusters: I liked the flak and the fact they used the word Nigger 20 times during the movie, because it was the name of Guy Gibson's dog.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Great South Fail 2016

tenth hole southsea cricket clubWhat a nice Sunday morning with the sunlight and the relaxed attitude to the day. I also learned that some parts of life are like a Rubik's Cube, the longer you play with it, the harder it gets, er. Then we said goodbye to Bud. Jof and I watched the beginning of the Great South Run on the TV and then braved the cooling breeze from Denmark on our bikes.
The whole world was there again and we went to the Tenth Hole (our go-to eatery for cakes and mini-golf) and I had a cake and watched the Elite Women and the Keen Men go past, and then the early orange people.
Bud was one of them and we slipped through the cricket club passageway to our vantage point by Lumps Fort Rose Garden and saw him again after the big Henderson-Eastney loop. Also spotted that day were some Batmen, a guy pushing a double buggy, Oliver the Scout, 2 chaps in pants, a rhino and some Mutant Hero Ninja Turtles.
lumps fort rose garden southseaAnd I dutifully stood on the promenade and shouted helpful things (in my mind) to the increasingly pained runners but even with coats, the Scandiweegian winds eroded our ability to stay, lucky all those runners were doing something to keep warm.
We all met at home for lunch and watched the Great South Run programme on double-speed to see if he was in it (he wasn't, and neither was I) and we had the Elucidation of the Results Ceremony in which we found he got the same score as last year (1 hour 12) whilst also being 26 seconds slower. I guess the time has come when age-defying antics fail at last. But we both have our tickets for next year, hooray for self-torture! Speaking of torture, I had to do maths homework and he had to drink Belgian Monastery beer, made I suppose by original Belgian Monkeys.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Junior Great South Run 2016

Up first even though nobody was hung over. Because voice-google always interrupts ("I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that") when Bud comes in and asks me what I want for breakfast, I had the surreal experience of asking my tablet "OK, Google, how do I turn off OK Google?"
great south run southsea portsmouthThis time last year I did the Junior Great South Run and it was tough but straight away I insisted on buying a ticket for this year, and I was looking forward to it. But first came acting and we met in the basement of the Royal Maritime Club again because the theatre was hosting a wedding. We jumped and danced and acted and I am now playing the biggest part of the Ropery play but with some redactions to make it more manageable.
10 minutes before the end I was extracted by Bud and Jof did the getaway driving which is why we went backwards into a traffic jam. But we got to the seafront and I changed in the car and the run # card was attached to my shirt and I made my way to the start line-up where the same bloke as last year shouted at us for 10 minutes about not starting too quickly and balancing our plasma electrolytes and stuff, so I did that. Once the 16 year-olds had gone, my wave departed and I ran round dutifully in the splendid autumnal sunshine, noting the drum band by the Sea Life Centre and the huge distances I was supposed to run.
Finally, I was in the home straight and a hairy man with a microphone picked me out for a high-5 and I finished and got my goodie-bag with medal and shirt (blankety-blank chequepen and book inexplicably missing this year). And I was 21 seconds quicker than last year!
eye and hexagon mural goldsmith avenue portsmouth
This was the end of my exertions for the day and Jof drove me home for lunch and Minecraft. Bud did shopping and got fireworks and a keg of 'Speckled Hen' for some kind of party soon. This rather large mural has recently appeared in the Little Tesco car park near me and is by my old friend MyDogSighs: he provides much of the street art in our town. It is a spankingly good improvement on the blank wall it was before. Film night was 'F/X: Murder by Illusion' (1986) because if you're going to be a film star, you need to know about special effects and how they worked before the entire film was made on a computer. With any movie, I have the ability to watch 80% of it and then, when the main character comes on screen, ask "who's that?"

Friday, 21 October 2016

Freaky Friday

waterslide into paddling pool funny failTo celebrate the end of another section of our little lives, the teachers let us come to school in non-uniform, as long as we contributed £1 to school funds, for they are considerate like that.
Knowing that I have a Great Little Mini South Run tomorrow, I have chosen to prepare by running circuits of the playground, during games of Tag with Okely Dokely. I am 'Taunter' who goads the mark into chasing him and tiring him out. Then it was another boring roundelay of maths tests (63/64), spelling tests (10/10) and so forth, whatever.
But I took Sham home again and showed off my Pokéminecraft world. Obviously only 1 person can sit at the PC keyboard at any one time and I think you know who it was, for the duration. I let him choose which Pokémon to use, what more does he want? Anyway, we got a Level 36 Poligrip and a Level 28 Trowza but my Nematoad was killed by an EnderWombat, what can you do. I have homework from school AND from Scouts, and we're all off next week! Lucky we won all that money (£7.20) on the Tuesday Euromillions.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Gingerbread Man of Destiny

text conversation between american moronsAgain, a day of normality, nobody tripped the fire alarm, no seagulls entered the assembly hall to steal food, no jehovah's witnesses took the stand.
But I swapped my picture in art to an easier one, and we did percentages in Extra-Maths with the Headmaster so now I understand the science behind my phenomenal successes on the craps tables.
At home I'd barely eaten my prawns when it was time to go right back to school. I determined 7 reasons why it was different, including being at the wrong time, with the wrong person in the wrong clothing, etc.
meon junior school year 6 classroomOnce I'd shown him my empty classroom again, we met my teacher for the teacher-parent ganging-up-on-the-kid meeting, and I had to be there for this one. She was armed with an image of an empty gingerbread man and filled it in with positives, overall impressions and negatives to be worked on.
I am apparently, her superstar. Furthermore, yerronner, I am a high flier in maths but could possibly benefit from babbling less with Okely Dokely. I always blame him for being the talker but it takes 2 to babble.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Rainbow (sing it)

curly yellow slide and yellow ladderchinese engrish ripoff handbag legend failSchool was normal. Most stuff was normal. Because of Robotics I didn't have to do French (hooray) and because of PE, 2 possibly disruptive members of our Ecology team weren't there so we redid the whole deforestation project without them and scored top marks, hooray. In maths they asked what 3 prime numbers multiply together to make 1001 and I was the only one to get it right, hooray. 3 Hoorays in a row make me a hipster, surely.
crete greece t shirt for kidsIt was Wednesday so I duly parked it and there were a few co-conspirators but once Bud came back from buying broomsticks for the Scouts it was drizzling and this had attracted a rainbow. I used to sing a rainbow but I reckon it's only the 3rd one I've ever seen. They don't come out very well unless you use a long exposure but the last time I tried that in the park there was trouble.
Anyway, I moaned that getting older was bogus because I couldn't go trickle treating, and then we had a discussion about whether Gyarados (atrocious dragon-shaped Pokémon that evolves from a Magikarp - but you knew that) should be pronounced Guy-ara-dos rather than Garridose.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Homo Erratica

engrish product name fail funnyJof went to work today even though it was her day off. I went to work but didn't get paid. Bud went to work but not for much longer. One man went to mow, but that's another story.
Today we played 9 diamonds in which you arrange 9 tessellated literacy components into a diamond shape in order of importance to an essay or short story. South couldn't beat East's bid and North won with a 3 of clubs. Then we watched the same Youtube video as we did in Year 5 about a 1st Grader drawing a butterfly and taking repeated constructive criticism from his classmates without once going home, getting his fathers' assault rifle, and killing them all. By the end, he had an absolutely cracking Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and the plaudits of his peer group, all of whom remained alive to congratulate him.
scout group lock up garage kit
Then we had to list the pros and cons of each others' drawings which is asking for trouble, in a class of 11 year-olds, some of whom are nice, some not, but most erratic at best. Afterwards we looked in the Scout Lock-up for broomsticks. This is not witch-related, the Helper chappie last night wanted some smooth poles as frames to learn knots and rope-lashing with. Fortunately we'd bought some last year, it was just a matter of finding them in the somewhat crowded garage and not falling in the drifts of dog poo outside, because it is a communal latrine for the Baskervillian hounds of the neighbourhood.
That left me free to play Minecraft with added Pokémon and eat quiche and crisps and lasagne in front of Jof who is on a mega-diet again, poor girl.

Monday, 17 October 2016

And the Last shall be First ...

blind assistance dog funnySo yesterday we had a lazy tyre on the car which couldn't be bothered to hold in air any more. So Bud, who is normally first out of the house, had to loiter until the tyre and exhaust place opened to get it fixed. So I got some extra early-morning tussles and encouragement to go out and get a job etc. The nice man at the garage said "Cor strike a light Guv'nor (just not in this no-smoking establishment) this one's a goner and no doubt and this one 'ere is nearly shot through and you need yer tracking done see the way it's wearing on the edges there and you'll need the back one done 'cos it's almost illegal, get it done next month tops, yeronner". And that is why this Monday morning started cheerily with a £170 bill.
But I was having troubles of my own. In Ecology we have a group of half a dozen working on the project, so not all members have their full attention on the task at all times, if you know what I mean. So I got angry with Child A writing on the wrong subject and I kept deleting his slides and he kept bringing them back and it was less than satisfactory. But in Robotic Programming we managed to get the robot to move Damien Hirst's shark-in-a-tank without making soup and our bomb-clearing robot successfully negotiated the minefield and rescued the stranded vegetable seller.
adam blade beast quest orchard books vipero soltraAt home I had an hour booked on the PC for Magikarp hunting. In the modern society of today, Fuzzy-wuzzies are right out of fashion for shooting, it's Nether-Mobs instead, so I stood at the top of the stairs with a sword and went "Gnnn Bzzzz warg Electro-Shok vibe legendary setting choof choof bzzz krrr vadoof labalaba" for 20 solid minutes because that's what you do if you have an active imagination and no trousers.
That left me enough time to read 2 books. The Beast Quest series by Adam Blade may not be weighty tomes quoted by the Bard or sent into space on Voyager, but the approx. 130 pages are set out pleasantly with big pictures and a nice large font for easy comprehension. Plus he had to think of 42 different beasties to fill the series, no mean feat. Also they are brightly coloured and get me one point each on the quizzes.
I am undergoing transmogrification from Cubs to Big Scouts so this week I did a double stint, attending both meetings at a total of 2 1/2 hours of extreme Scoutery, getting to be both first and last, showing grit, determination and a bit of tummy where my Scout jumper is getting short. Flynn and I have elected to rise to proper Scouts next week.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Right in the Globular Clusters

Sundays are my very own day for Minecrafting and Youtubing and generally wasting so I made absolutely sure that I wouldn't have to go to the supermarket, because that gets right in the way of my 9 hour MineTubing stint. I'd spent some time trying to download 'Pixelmon' which is a Minecraft add-on mod where you get Pokémons popping up left right and centre and as far as I am concerned, it is the very pinnacle of modern techno-entertainment that will never be bettered. Now, I'm sure we all know that chunky military funding speeds up development of many inventions, and in the same way, those special adult film companies have invested heavily in tech that will make those special experiences more hands-on and virtually real. But at my age, Pixelmon mod, honestly.
pokemon in minecraftSo he downloaded and installed it successfully by cheatingly watching the tutorial video and once I knew it was on there, I breezed through the supermarket like the man who invented solar panels for the sun shining out of his own butt.
That's when we noticed the front tyre on the car had some air in it, but not enough. We blew it up with the free air-whoosher in the petrol station, enough to get us home. And while he ran a half-marathon and Jof watched property programmes, I did a real marathon on the Pixelmon server and it was totally epic. I've got all sorts of beasties all levelled-up, this is my breeding ground where I make my Pokies poke and it's full of cake for some reason. The nice ladies I met yesterday who let me build a house on their land have been forgotten. I mean, she was 25, who needs it, srsly.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Accident at Mr Hall's Ropery

tonys curios elm grove southseaIdeally, Saturdays are relaxed affairs with relaxation and low-impact gaps. But, reality does not always match the well-laid plans of predestination.
First, I was happily enjoying my second hour of Youtube Minecraft videos when he said have you had breakfast yet, because otherwise you will be hungry.
So then he insisted on doing a hands-off teaching course of how to make my own boiled egg with toastie soldiers of varying rank, with all the patronizing questions like how are you going to spread the margarine and how are you going to provide this 'boiling water' of which you speak. So, we were a little behind schedule. Then, the pre-arranged taxi arrived, about 5 minutes before we were ready. And Jof texted to say can you buy me more milk and put some more money in the car park meter, and we almost had time to do that. Because Bud's work is closing, many unwanted parts will be going in the bin so certain items are salvaged such as (in this case) 3 brass gas pressure dials.
groundlings theatre portsea beer festivalSome chap called Tony makes steampunk items under the name of Tony's Curios so we donated 3 dials to this Curious Tony character in return for this picture and the safe knowledge that the bits wouldn't just be thrown away.
Then we did what Jof asked and that made me 20 minutes late for acting but by then I was angry anyway, one of those pre-teenager angst things, and Miss Bossy Boots did not help. We are due to play Victorian street kids again with a ropey script about Mr Foster and Mr Givens and Mr Siddons. After acting, Jof took me for lunch and a quiet afternoon on the sofa, several hours until the idiot man returned from the beer festival and burned supper for us.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Verity Lungbutter, Inventor of the Adjustable Wench

skatepark trick jump winJof was almost good enough to go to work today and woke me up for the second time after I'd gone back to sleep a bit. These alarm clocks are just hinting at possible futures, they don't rule my life.
Well, we visited a rival junior school and learned about music in a hands-on way: Jamaican music is something they do of their own accord with that nice music out of 'Commando' and Tongan music was war canoe-biased with a definite Haka drum beat with added tattooed shouting warriors in grass skirts. I believe there may be an opening for a Haka at the Ministry of Silly Walks, you can just see Mr Cleese doing it. The 'Music Festival' was pretty brief, though, and soon enough we were back at school missing Extra-Maths but doing a long PE lesson.
safety at work workwear hi vis clothing
We did a team-building variation on a theme of tennis with a bench and teams of 3 and we had to report our victories and losses and Child A lied about Team A's record and it set off such an argument we had to go inside and read in silence for the rest of the lesson. This is why I was angry for the rest of the day, and don't tell me I'm being silly, for I am contrary to ordinary.
And poor old Amber cut her leg open and we were all told to cheer her up and make her laugh and while 30 kids rolling their eyes and dancing in circles is all very well, it was my manic goose impression that did the trick.
Later Bud and I went to Giant B+Q to buy a new brightly-coloured top for the Great South Run next week. All the yellow jackets were coats or XXXXL (American) so orange it is. I still have the sour-puss face but got better later, honest. Even later I played Minecraft with a girl who said she was 25, I'll be meeting her again in our special cyber-dungeon, mmm.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Like a Worm in Tequila

open scissors packet with scissors sheffield steel failThe day started well for me, but badly for Jof. She had Exploding Tum Syndrome and I had to take her phone to her and be concerned as she curled up in a corner and looked pale and wan. But that did give me the chance to do everything else myself, with the breakfast and the getting to school on my own etc.
In school we had the first Extra Maths tutorial which was difficult. The teacher said it was an easy introduction, but lots of us had severe trouble. In Art we coloured in the Roy Lichtenstein-style frames we made earlier, and one of us got angry again. He has the Rage (not rabid hydrophobia in French) and is well known for sounding off amusingly and getting sent out. Then he told the teacher to shut up and was sent out.
And that was it, really, apart from clearing up the art room again (she called me awesome) and donating more reels of scrap labels from a well-known local company which is closing down. Jof was still in bed and amazingly didn't appreciate me lying on her and massaging the nearest foot, poor girl. In the evening she got out of bed for 3 hours before giving up and going back, excellent news for me as I got hours and hours of Minecraft-Youtube-videos because I had to 'be quiet'.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Milk Round 3 (Activate travelling matte)

life of a gamer no sleepWe had a long PE lesson today where we did team-building games involving getting all 7 of us across the gym floor in the shortest time possible, to train us for future corporate team-building exercises. On the version with 1 bench and 2 gym mats we got over in 40 seconds by standing on one mat and passing the second one to the front and moving onto it, like druids moving bluestone menhirs from the Preseli mountains on rolling logs.
I missed Sham so had to settle for the much better Wednesday Park. OtherMax of Scouts and I played a little but he can climb better than I can and when the others didn't come, I went back home where Bud was building a recently acquired workbench in the garage.
So we built it together. I used the knife to cut the tape, chose my own Allen keys, worked out which way to attach the footrests and the backs and had to undo them again to get the light fitting on in the confined space.
workbench salvaged form xyratex seagateBut when we'd moved the tumble dryer and the 3 years' of dust and installed the bench, it was epic and a really good father/son learning project with the toolbox and the radio on and no interference. It fits spot on between the light switches and used to belong to Dear Follower Martin. The only things missing were beer and massive construction errors, like when we built the cubist cupboard thingy, with its doors on backwards and stuff.
portsmouth academy for girls open dayLater, we tried out Potential Secondary School #3. This one is a girls school but will now take boys. Numerically, this is promising for a growing lad, but it's quite far away and as soon as it starts raining and hailing, the daily journey will start to chafe somewhat. We met lots of known faces and I took the Maths Challenge where you make an equation with blocks of plastic, and another challenge with numbers and I won a geometry set! I expect everyone did really, but it made me happy. Pops won the iPad, alright for some.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Hhhoh Hhhoh Hhhoh

electrocution risk in wet weather failGreetings and good mental health once more, O Dwellers of the Asylum! May your Xanax and Ritalin taste sweet and the killer clowns miss you!
Anyway, today we had a fire drill. This one was not caused by some numpty hitting the fire alarm panel with a pallet truck, this one was a deliberate test with a Schools Inspectorate Health and Safety Officer present to make sure that Mr HeadTeacher wasn't faking the results.
The alarm went off! We all filed out sensibly! Within 2 minutes we were all lined up in the schoolyard in alphabetical order having our names checked off the list! And then someone noticed that Class 3Q were absent. The teacher was in the computer room and the teaching assistant had gone home sick earlier in the day so the entire class just sat there, bells and hooters and whistles going off around them, waiting for instructions. Mr HeadTeacher wished that the old sinkhole over by the water fountain would open up again and swallow him as the Fire Auditor gave him 2/10 for allowing 30 kids to die horribly and turn into crispy fried children. At least they would have had a ready-made costume for tonight's Halloween disco - charred Zombies! Gosh, how we laughed. The class have to have 3 weeks of extra fire drills to burn some sense into their little brains and the janitor had to stand there with a sandwich board saying "I am Fire" pretending one of their exits was blocked etc.
meon junior school halloween partyAnyway, I am one of a half-dozen or so insanely outstanding pupils who have been seconded into an extra-maths class. This means we get taught by Mr HeadTeacher himself (still smarting from the loss-of-30-kids-in-his-care incident), missing some art classes and maybe going on to Oxford or Harvard!
die hard halloween costume ho ho gruberThen I helped Jof set up the Halloween disco. I scattered plastic mice everywhere although by the time 180 sugared-up kids destroy the room, I doubt they'll notice. And when Year 5 go mad on mescaline, it'll be carnage.
It may not look very spooky in broad daylight with curtains that don't quite meet and the inflatable bat had a puncture but we'll just load up on Twinkies and Sherbet Dabs and imagine. The Year 3 and 4s were lined up across the playground in their zombie and skeleton and witch costumes (those of Class 3Q still smouldering) and we escaped.
I had a shooting date with Okely Dokely and Football 'Arry and Harvey the Haircut and we played tag. George had a horizontal coffin so it looked like a skeleton was holding him up in a box but it made life difficult during tag especially when his skull fell off. The cooler teachers laughed at my outfit. Jof did 6 hours standing which is why her feet fell off, I helped clear up and we ordered fish & chips for supper (well, I had horse's willy à la Mrs Miggins). We were both very tired.

Monday, 10 October 2016

The State of Welfare

Nobody likes Mondays. Well, apart from me, I haven't learned to hate them yet and no songs have been written on the subject. But then I haven't learned to love coffee or beer, either, so I guess it all balances out.
skynet self aware technology internet search history failSo, I got great news. Due to the League Of Little Lego-ers who are doing the robotics project, I will get to miss French for a fortnight. If I am chosen to join the League permanently, I shall miss it for ages, even better! We have a new topic which is how to save the entire animal kingdom. Quite wide-ranging, you might think, but there are five of us in the team so we'll be able to cover it. Sub-divisions (phyla) include: habitat destruction, pollution, littering, and my own subject, cruelty in zoological establishments. We shall be living in (being donated to?) Marwell Zoo next year so expect my keen critical eye on their treatment of us animals.
When we got home, somebody had left a rolled-up carpet on the pavement leaning up against our house. So we called the National Rug Helpline ... yes well anyway. Sham was not able to come round to play Minecraft so I wasted my entire hour in pants watching Youtube videos of other people playing it.
In other good news, Jof doesn't have to do the treasurer's job for the school-helpers any more after they said you can't just bring in the money in a Tesco bag, which will mean she can spend much more time cuddling me (and feeding me cake) on the sofa instead of counting all that sticky tuck shop money. See? Every cloud has a silver (and bronze) lining.
Stayed on after Cubs to join in with the Big Scout meeting. They are all quite big and loud, all I've got to do is grow 6 inches and I'll fit right in.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Licence to Thrill

ford mondeo estate boot storageI could get used to these weekends, just think how many of them I've got to look forward to in my 150 years left in this incarnation.
Out of strife comes advantage, and out of crisis comes opportunity. So I need 2 passport photos for my Local Authority Licence for a Child Performer. I've already got official permission to miss school and all the rest of the application is the same as last year. So where is a Photo-Me booth? In the supermarket. And where can a hungry lad source a quality breakfast of his choice? In the supermarket café.
passport sized picture for performers licenceSo we went to the tip (obviously) and ditched a load of wood from the clear-out of old sets at the theatre and a load of metal which was from our garage clear-out. The fascist recycling technician didn't apply the minimum £10 charge for any of it, even though I dropped one of the bits of 'Hard Plastic' down the side of the skip.
Then he went shopping while I got my photos and my breakfast which was macaroni cheese, chips and garlic bread with a chocolate brownie to finish. Well, that's what happens when you give a 10 year-old the choice.
Again, that left me free to modify my Minecraft world for hours and hours, because I've done my homework. I have a book where I've written down loads of things I need to achieve in my MineWorld, such as making an underground storage facility and getting 50 diamonds, lots of little tasklets so I can tick them off regularly.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Ain't nobody know de trubble ah seen

junior great south run entrant's number timer chipJust my kind of morning, up at 9 something with a mother still in bed for me to trap and shout at/regale loudly about Minecraft. And it was acting again. This time Bud stayed outside to sweep the yard, perhaps in preparation for a new career. I led the troupe of performing seals (ark, ark) upstairs where we collaborated on a sketch for the Victorian Festival of Christmas at Her Majesty's historical dockyard just round the corner.
Our performance is a heartbreaking deep blues tragedy in which downtrodden orphans work their little fingers to dem bones to please a cruel Uber-Mistress who does nothing but chastise them and crush any dreams they may have. We sing while working on a chain gang of laundry and towards the end, collapse through exhaustion and starvation. It's nothing like 'Annie' at all, in that some of us are boys.
Stage directions are a team effort and I made changes to our routine which have been written in. Later, I professed a fleeting desire to wear a tutu because this is all about girls and apparently that's completely fine as long as it stays on stage, witness the exaggerated ham-acting of Cinderella's ugly-dude elder sisters with the balloons down the bodice and 3 inch layers of make-up.
I also got my new official student hoodie top, my official Great South Run race number and timer chip, and my official 3 hours playing Minecraft and selecting my own film for Saturday night. Then the DVD player died even though Jof blew a hairdryer into its front portal.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Testing Times in Emerald City

Today was the culmination of the mathematical testing triad. I got 10/10 in the spelling test and came joint top in the maths! Perhaps I'm not a dunce after all and all those hours spent in the corner with the conical headpiece were wasted.
fat chick funny fail obese monstrosityI washed up the paint pots again and changed my library book from a Potter to a 'Beast Quest' in which Arcta, the Mountain Giant, gets a right old beasting.
Yet again it was Sham day. We walked home and at the traffic lights, were again surprised by an elderly driver who attempted to kill us by running the red light. Yesterday it was an old Codger, today an old Ratbag, but when you're kissing the fender of a Ford Escort it doesn't really matter.
We got 2 and a half hours of advanced Minecrafting while Bud thoughtfully stayed out of the way, cleaning the garage in blatant displacement activity. At the moment we are killing pigs to get emeralds to pay for armour to fight the Ender-Dragon to get the egg. After supper I finished the entire Beastly book in one go. Incidentally, today Bud crashed a pallet truck into the fire alarm, destroying it and evacuating the building.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Mergers and Acquisitions

star wars lego minifigures chewbacca joke funnyToday was all about maths and art. It was the third and final maths test which enables our Dear Leader to judge which topics we're hopelessly behind on, and schedule extra whipping sessions for those areas, such as fractions.
But the best bit was art, in which we actually got to do some painting. Our adopted professional artist is Roy Lichtenstein who did the cartoon-style paintings with bold colours and thoughtful ladies. So we drew some wiggly lines and filled in all the panels with different styles and shading, like cloisonné enamelling. This was fun although mine ended up looking like a big red brain.
At the end we had to clear up, of course, cue the dancing idiots. Child A managed to get some mixed paint (the colour of alien skin) in his mouth, maybe tomorrow he'll poo Ben-Day dots. Then they all left and I washed up all the paint pots, which is why I was late out.
xyratex plant closure salvage propertyThen I had another Sham day. We walked home and remembered to look both ways at all the roads - but only when we'd reached the middle of each road. Then at the traffic lights before my house, some daft old codger totally drove over against the red light - I mean, the green walking-man was flashing and the tweeters were tweeting - and we stood and watched him go by as we'd been taught to not trust anyone ever.
And we Minecrafted for 2 hours in which we acquired many items and merged our inventories for we are partners. Meanwhile, a new storage rack has gone up in the garage which has made things a bit tidier. Bud's work is being closed for legitimate business reasons due to excess global production capacity in a challenging economic climate, so little items keep making their way home to help out the Scouts, the school and our house.
Incidentally, Grandad (87) has booked himself a holiday in Vietnam. I'm sure he'll love it, long time.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Cleanup in Aisle 3

balloons stuck in a treeteachers drink to reduce stress of teaching brats funnyWell gosh, wasn't I angry today. In PE we did multi-games to include handball and football and Child B was too competitive and we all hated him and because the teacher was refereeing the football matches, girls had to umpire the others and they were partisan and incompetent and everybody hated it especially me. I hate ball games.
offset tilted spinning ringAnd to make things worse, we've got a 10-week art topic and we will only get to paint for 2 weeks because the rest of it is taken up with writing begging letters to venues city-wide and the best letter will get sent and all the others binned and it's so unfair, just like my entire life.
So I beat up my pillows on getting home. This, and the snack, made me feel a bit better and I met the JBs at the park and we did kickball and ball-tag and during one of the kickball sessions Johnny randomly fell off his swing (nearly as gracefully as Horst Funtlinger, Hampshire Zero-G backgammon champion) and we were, like, Instore cleaner to Aisle 3, dead geezer in Aisle 3. And all was good again with the sunshine and the running around and some excellent rebound shots and catches and some 30th birthday balloons stuck in a tree.
Later I tried out my new machine gun which is part of my Halloween costume (I play a dead German mercenary) and watched "The Great Escape" because one of my upcoming Scout events is escape-themed.