Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Floral Dance

trough of flowering annuals school projectI'm really getting into this holiday lark now. Again, I had to be forced to get dressed and have foodstuffs and sweetmeats, cheesy comestibles and extra Pringles.
Some weeks ago, we planted seeds at school and watched the plants grow: I took home my peas and they grew happily in the big pot in the corner until snails ate them. But I also requested my own flower-garden (one day I'll have a real garden again) so I chose some simple annuals and we planted them up and left them to get on with it.
home grown cannabis plant and kidThe cornflowers are out, as are the marigolds and some white things: several large weeds have been removed (you don't want to grow weed) and we suspect that the tall thing in the middle is another one. That reminds me of a time about 4 years ago when I visited a friend and he'd been growing flowers all summer - and it turned out to have been a weed the whole time! Gosh, bet he felt like a big old silly.
Now, I know that the entire world is down on the sunny seafront either watching the free music festival or the bikini parade. But I've just got my new month's allocation of data so I'm spending some quality sofatime watching Youtube videos of Americans hatching Pokémon eggs.
I tried to outlast them but 'Skyfall' came on just at the wrong time and goodness me, this James Bond series could be a watcher.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Martians and Minions

fratton swing park st marys road railwayWoke up at 930 and the first thing he said was 'We're going out' so I grumped. This lasted quite well and was compounded when my phone wouldn't log on to Poké Mongo because it denied there were any GPS satellites, or even a signal. Thus I slouched along the mean streets looking at the ground, like a penguin who has lost his egg and knows the wife will be back soon.
Stopping only to get hugely interesting things like printer cartridges, I sulked my way to the Academy for Girls where I hope to go in Year 7 and only then did I start to talk non-stop about the vegetable patches they have there, how they sold a beetroot for £20 and bought rust remover for the kitchen saucepans with the proceeds, all valuable life lessons. But then we found blackberries by the railway and coins under the see-saw and the man in Tesco fixed my phone and it all got better. I saw 'The Martian' with Matt Damon and then the Minions film with cake and biscuits and chocolate oranges and it's almost as if I'm on holiday. Later, I saw "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (18) and laughed at the exploding bridges but didn't like the water-wheel torture. Didn't stop me having a pillow-fight and getting to bed at 1215, who cares about this midnight thing anyway.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Welcome to Wongaland

Bouncing along on the crests of the waves once more, my chauffeuse drove me to work and the day started. This one is Day 5 of 5, in which the tiny dancers, aspiring actors and assorted hangers-on, camp followers and also-rans perform the play we've been learning all week. It is our chance to prove the subscription money was worth it, or just that we've had a really good time for a whole week of the holidays, and it's been 9-5 with few let-ups, I can tell you.
pirates of the curry bean kings theatre southsea summer school dramaLast year I did the same week and the play itself was a mish-mash of various West End musicals. I was new to the stage and found learning the dance routines difficult. But this time I am a little more experienced and have an ally and a more structured play - The Pirates of the Curry Bean!
We did a dress/technical rehearsal and then had our break, which was in the park by Robert and Johnny's school, where we played tag for the last time. So far this week, at the end of every lunchtime tag session, the 'it' carries over to the next day. This time, we all knew it would carry over to the next year so I tagged Admiral Hornhonker at the last minute, knowing he would be in the next age group next year and the 'it' would lapse.
All 50 of us queued for make-up which is not a pretty sight or sound and I had one of the 16 microphones stuck to my head and on we went. I did some gentle miming, excessive scurrying (Largest Rat) and everyone else did some quality singing, dancing and cracking of really corny jokes.
As with all productions auditioned, cast and performed within 1 week, there were prompts from the front, those special on-and-off mikes that only broadcast every third word, random blasts of music, gaps and giggles. Then I came on, resplendent in leopard, and did my little speeches. Well, you could certainly hear every word. My natural showmanship was curtailed somewhat by the director but I delivered my lines and adapted my accents and we all lived happily ever after.
Notable characters present in this 16th century maritime panto-drama:
* 2 extremely short Health and Safety officers in Hi-vis jackets
* A very good mop dance
relaxing after stage performance* Sydney with big pink beard and lots of lines
* Star Trek, Star Wars and other references
* Comic parrot, not deceased
* More changes of allegiance than the Vicar of Bray
Then the assistant director of the theatre came on and did EXACTLY the same speech as last year only he begged for money for the 1st floor toilets not the central heating system. The curtain came down for the last time, trapping one rubber haddock and a treasure chest in limbo forever. Us kids removed our costumes and make-up and were reunited with our owners and I was tired so Jof made me pasta, even though MacDougalls was offered.
Due to photographic restrictions, I will have to wait till the DVD comes out and try to do some screengrabs.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Caught 'em All: Foontling Turlingdromes

News reaches me that some enterprising chap has filled his Pokédex. This means he has all 142 of the imaginary Pokémon creatures released in the UK, as well as a US-only demon that he hatched from an egg. He has been playing it non-stop since the game was released, trawling the parks of Southampton, where he probably walked past me last week. Perhaps he is otherwise ... unemployed.
where to run away from home
Couldn't get out of cycling to work today and of course, it was fine once I'd started. We worked very hard indeed at our performances and saw our costumes. Mine has a leopard-skin overlay with feathery hat and flames coming out of my legs. It's good to be the King. But Sydney reckons her outfit is better, we always want to out-do each other. That's when I nearly starved to death because Bud hardly put any food at all into my lunchbag. I don't care that it was a direct response to me only eating the snacks yesterday and leaving the actual food, but I'm registering a grievance. Plus, I only got 2 drinks, so my micturations were as plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee, especially in this weather. We decided to run away. Syd will seek asylum in Cuba, and I will make my way overland to Greece, for a better life.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Britain's got Talent. But at what?

I do like an interesting life. Some of my previous incarnations have been a little dull, so it's nice that this one is getting extra mushrooms.
drama school kings youth theatre portsmouthToday we went through our performance still with scripts in hand, although I didn't need mine for a lot of it as the parts of Standing Bloke and Running Rat are non-speaking roles. And it's a sweaty, noisy, funny experience all round. But meanwhile, back at the other ranch, the television executives at ITV had seen footage of my usual theatre on Youtube and had requested a filming session of us drama students doing our Lion King performance so they could do a piece on local stage schools as the intro to an episode of Britain's got Talent. This gives me a chance of appearing on TV 3 years in a row.
So slightly before our usual finish time, Bud picked Sydney and I up from the stage door and gave us a bag of fresh drinks and snacks to keep us hard workers full of energy. I said, have you got my blacks, which is not a Boer farmer comment, because in this case the black T-shirt and leggings we wear under our costumes are called blacks. He had not. Thus we had 14 minutes to get home, collect clothes, and get to the theatre before filming began. At home, he searched fruitlessly and said are you absolutely sure they're not in your bag, the bag you've had with you all day, the bag with your script and lunch in. Oh dear. We still made it to the theatre on time and we did the scene in which I played Second Drooling Hyena and it all went off OK. Plus, one of the girls gave me my Lion King script that I'd left behind and thought had been binned and lost forever. This memory thing runs in the family, apparently. Did I just say that? It's probably just chocolate deficiency.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Biggest Rat you'll ever meet

collection of copper pencil sharpeners chineseOK. Now the stage show is getting serious. There are about 8 scenes and we've been through the first 4 loads of times and we can now do them without scripts. Of course, I find that very easy because my speaking role (Big Chief Wonga) doesn't appear until near the end so they gave me the additional non-speaking role of 'Rat' who comes on twice and scurries around looking up skirts and nibbling kneecaps. My specific stage directions are to cause some low-level mayhem (have experience, will travel) and I don't have to wear make-up (sufficiently rodentiform already).
At home, we went over some of my potential crowd-pleasers like the mad gesticulation and the slash-slash-stab with added booyah. In a post-shower tussle I made a wet butt-print on the wall for future generations to savour, maybe like the Blarney Stone. Here is a glass-fronted display cabinet that Bud bought off some old dear selling car-boot goodies out of her front door, as you do. It does do quite well for my collection of copper pencil sharpeners, everyone needs a hobby.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief

kings theatre albert road southseaHooray for Monday! Few people say that. But today I start a week-long theatrical course at a rival theatre with the chance to cavort onstage at the end, and have it filmed. Hopefully the cameraman won't be asleep and miss my lines like he did last year.
Anyway, they were chillaxed about the start time as before, meaning loads of parents loitering outside the Stage Door glancing nervously at their watches. Having used the tradesmen's entrance, we assembled and auditioned and parts were handed out. Sydney got a really big part and another member of my drama group is there and I got the smaller role of Tribal Chieftain 'Wonga' although I do have a pivotal identity crisis just as the fat bird is limbering up, and plenty of opportunity for grandstanding. We had lunch in the park and played tag and it was quite a long day in the end.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Trump Towers

asmodee hotel tycoon board game monopoly ripoffWoke up closer to 10am today, normally I'm up early to watch Americans argue over Minecraft tactics but maybe I'm practising to be a teenager. I have had a mildly busy time of it recently so chose to do nothing. I only just got dressed - nothing wrong with pants - and played Lego and watched Simpsons and Minecrafted merrily. I eschewed the chance to go to the park and play Poke Mongo even though apparently somebody caught a Strewth, 2 Dagnabbits and a Kukukachu all in the same bush. Jof challenged me to 'Hotel' which is a property game in which you amass a portfolio of upgradeable buildings and charge rent for anyone landing on your hotels. I usually spend all my money too quickly but Jof is always malleable. Bud cooked supper which was dull and small so Jof had to put extra chips in the oven.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

America Scup, Day 1

americas cup portsmouth harbour solent 2016He woke me up at 0925 by sitting on my leg. This was most unfair and I objected and tried to go back to sleep but he stole my bedclothes for the hungry washing machine.
I tried to get out of the cycle ride to the seafront but I did understand that walking takes longer and that cars were going to be impossible, so I led the way and, well, I only went slightly wrong.
red bull display team americas cup portsmouthWe found that the 'Race Village' had taken over much more acreage this year but the public bits weren't behind big metal fences and bag searches. But all the stalls and shops and entertainment were in the paying bit, and it was £25 a go or something so we were never going to do that. But we found a decent spot on the sea wall and I went off searching for Pokémon, because the seafront is packed with monuments which are all PokeStops and because the roads were closed, I could wander around in the big crowds and not look out of place.
The man on the loudspeaker got quite excited and millions of boats were suddenly out on the Solent. There is an official viewing area for yachts and I believe the whole of Gosport Marina was out there, and lots of ferries and container ships and hovercraft and Police tugboats and so forth were miraculously called upon to loiter with intent around the sailing zone.
team new xealand americas cup portsmouth
There was a Royal Marines landing craft, a Police jetski, the RIB speedboat I went on a couple of days ago and a few Navy vessels all just happened to be there purely by coincidence. I went off for a second lengthy PokeHunt and scored some hi-level Magnacartas and a Croupyay. Meanwhile a nice lady offered us a free ticket to the Race Village, but I didn't want to go in alone.
The plane display team buzzed the area repeatedly but they have to stay over the sea, what with the new safety rules following the air crash at Shoreham. They looped-the-loop and flew at each other and went up high and pretended to stall and let off those long smoke trails and it was so good I nearly looked up from my phone.
Then the racing boats started sailing around but we couldn't tell whether it was a race or a warm-up so we just enjoyed the event in the excellent sunshine which was a right old improvement on last year, I can tell you, when even the presence of the King wasn't enough to scare off the storm clouds and the whole day was cancelled.
americas cup portsmouth 2016Popped in to cheer Jof up at her work and got some well-deserved sofatime until she took me to the park for some more Poke Mongo, still sunny and good enough to catch me some serious Garibaldis, 3 Sputniks and a Flabber. I only wore a shirt for some of the day, Vitamin D me up, Scotty!
As part of my education, Saturday-night-is-film-night was "The Great Escape" with many people I hardly know yet because it was ©1963. It started slowly with lots of impenetrable talk through handlebar moustaches and stiff upper lips but eventually I understood it was a cop-chase with 17 different villains such as 'Stolen-bike geezer' and Blind Guy and Mad Miner-dude and 2 Blokes-in-a-Boat and Round-Glasses-Nazi and so forth. Then I discovered it was epic but at bedtime I had an extended sadness about the Death-of-Nanna. She was totally on my side and I can't bring her back but if ever I am a Nanna, I will do double-arm waves and sew on Beaver Scout badges and cook oversized Northern dinners like she did.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Official Birthday I should have had

romsey leisure centre foyerDuring a recent trip to the beach we discovered that the JBs were not so much double-booked as not-booked-at-all for one of the holiday days. So we booked them.
This is very good for me because I have such a drab and empty life, it's nice to have some co-conspirators with similar interests, such as Minecraft, Lego, and talking rubbish. Thus they were delivered to us nice and early and we started with a bit of Crafting but then left for Romsey Rapids, or as we call it, Womsey Wapids, intending to completely reprise my birthday party agenda from the 2nd of January this year, apart from not having a Ben.
So we talked rubbish on the way apart from an impressive 12 minute period of silence when we listened to the radio. When the Rapids are busy you only get 70 minutes before your wristband colour is called and you leave, if you get there at the wrong time you can get even less time, which has happened.
childrens menu cowherds pub southampton common
But fortunately everyone else was at the beach or at the Americas Cup so we got 2 and 1/4 hours of splashing, frolicking and playing tag. It became a challenge to stand on the bubbler discs and try not to fall off, also we did the waterslide a couple of times and even tried out the tiny-people's pool and slide. In the end we got out voluntarily, 4 minutes before our wristband colour was called.
We had a coolbag full of drinkies so sucked away for a while until we got to the Cowherds. This is our go-to pub in the Common in the middle of Southampton, right by Tiggleton Corner and this time there was no mud. Some local youths washed our car for charity, cheaper than the Romanians at Sainsburys and with more pink tutus. We ordered food and drew revealing things on the kiddie menus, always a window into the soul of a child. I did a series of Ms all over it, and gave the characters swords. Bob covered his in triangles and said it was Illuminati. The thing about Illuminati is, you have to say 'Nobody knows' so even if you say ok then, but what's this Illuminati thing all about then, they still say 'Nobody knows' and it's all rather pointless, apart from all the pointy triangles. Johnny wrote 'Jimbob' 37 times and drew a conversation about yogurts.
duck pond southampton commonThey got chips and I didn't. There was a dangerous minute where I almost descended into a Class A Sulk but he said go and buy some chips then, and then we all had chocolate brownies with ice cream anyway. We had schemingly prepared lots of bread for ducks, by buying it from the cheap shelf in the Co-op, and Jof had brought home some cake that a customer had brought in and they'd forgotten. When we got to the duck pond, the ducks were largely absent, the swans indifferent and the seagulls and pigeons numerous. They eyed us like a flock of static vultures.
The bread had been in the car the whole time so was quite hot, we found that if you scrunched it up, you could make little breadbombs and target the distant moorhens and we hit quite a few. We also shot each other in the head and butt with hot doughballs which is technically a food-fight, hurrah! By the time we'd finished the lake had a greater mass of bread than waterfowl but we'd done our duty and played briefly in the park and then got our swimming trunks back on for the splashpark.
splashpark southampton commonThis was not the same as in January. It was hot and full of screaming kiddies so we filled up the waterguns and shot them, the little gits. I didn't want to change back so elected to walk to the car in just a towel. We decided my cover-story for my strange garb should be that I was an autistic child so we walked to the car going 'Wooo!' and 'NURRR!' periodically so as to blend in. On the way home we tried really hard to drink all the drinks and eat all the emergency mini-cheddars and we all had a nap, then more Minecraft and Lego at home. We had them for about 9 hours and it was great, Robert is making a Navy dockyard. Jof went to the gym so I chose Rambo as the Friday Night Film because we couldn't get The Great Escape on the movie channel.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Nauti, Nauti, very 10 Nautical Miles

large orange ball going in portsmouth tip recycling centreDay 1 of the holidays proper and I knew it would be dull. My plans revolved around going to the park and visiting the Pokestop and watching Minecraft videos.
Well, that bubble burst early on when he gave me 2 boiled eggs with marmitey dunkers and said we're going out. I work in the entertainment industry and one has to help out the old theatre, and not just by lending them my beautiful face.
exhilaration RIB speedboat rides southseaSo we'd already unloaded 2 tubs of wood offcuts for the Scout cooking demonstration and so we took the empty tubs back to the theatre, and loaded up another batch of dead chairs, bits of scenery, random bits of metal and a sun.
This was all very good for me because the theatre is a Pokestop and so is the monument to the birth of council housing on the wall opposite and as we drove to the tip we had to go past the sea and a lake and there were some water-based Pokies running loose for me to capture.
RIB exhilaration speedboat rides in solentSo I kept up a constant babble without drawing breath, like this. "Well I've got a level 17 Voltorb but I really need a Stinkipu or a Nibblenob or a Flange, they're all metal Pokemon, and if I can get 3 fairydusts and a revive I can upgrade my Haribo to a Haribooboo and Oh My God! There's a Fnartle nearby but I've only got 72 Pokeballs, I really need to get a Splanch first..."
At the tip we unloaded and that's where I caught a Voltorb, OK it was really the sun. But by the time I was home, I'd caught several cyber-beasties and uplevelled to #6 and as far as I was concerned, it was a winner.
Knowing that monuments are often Pokestops and that I wanted both water and grasslands to go PokeHunting, he suggested the seafront where you can easily find 50 acres of open grassland and more monuments than you can wave a mobile phone at.
RIB exhilaration speedboat rides in solentSo we rode down and I had to reboot the phone 3 times because it got confused but I'd just started when he said our boat leaves in 10 minutes so I said boat what boat and it was the Exhilaration RIB powerboat ride, 10 nautical miles around the Solent including a look at Spitbank Fort, Stokes Bay, some ferries and the Americas Cup battleground. Their office is right by the Hovercraft port.
The nice man fitted me for a brightly coloured lifejacket and I beat my chest like Tarzan and we all got on the boat and the driver said don't fall overboard and we reversed out. Pootling off, I could see Mozzarella Joes where we spent so much recently and I said is this the speed we'll be going at, for it is rather pedestrian.
video
But then the driver must have operated some kind of throttle lever because it suddenly went rrRRRRR and we practically took off! You are kinda wedged in and there's a metal loop to hold onto and the seat in front of me was empty so I got a better view and it was epic.
southsea seafront with war memorialThe wind is terrific and you have to squint (or wear glasses) and it roars in your ears, don't have long hair or a hat.
You steam along in front of the Pyramids and once past the pier, you veer off out to sea and go past Spitbank Fort which is very big and you could see the cook having a swift fag on the gantry on level 3 and we waved at some people and we went past lots of other boats, big ones, small ones, navy ones, ferries, yachts and fishing boats, Police boats, and 1 guy in a canoe fishing.
Then you go over to Stokes Bay where I shall go in a couple of weeks and we saw Fort Gilkicker and then the driver went nuts, he basically did handbrake turns at severe speed which is called doughnutting and the edge of the boat goes in the water and all the girlies screamed and he changed direction and went back over his own doughnuts to make sure and then it was back past Portsmouth Harbour entrance and we slowed down outside Clarence Pier and parked up again to disembark.
It only took 15 minutes but boy it was funny. Of course I instantly said Bud, when we win the lottery and I didn't even have to finish the sentence because now I think everyone that was on the boat wants their own power-speedboat, they all heard me and started laughing. Plus I want my next birthday party there and to take all the boys with me.
So as not to make the entire day a total loss, I spent half an hour wandering the fields of freedom on the seafront, phone in hand, collecting XP, Pokeballs, Crundibles, Magikarps, and yes, the big war memorial is a PokeGym and 3 Pokestops and by the time I was hungry enough to look up from my phone, I was a veritable PokeBoss with a whole menagerie of imaginary creatures.
At home I rested. But not for long. I put on black tights and a black shirt and shoes and took my black bag for a black op. I have been learning the parts of Ghost of Mufasa and Second Drooling Hyena for the theatre's production of the Lion King, based on Hamlet by William Spokeshaver and recently sung by Elton John. As I got there, Grandad sailed past on a cruise ship, I was 200 yards away but indoors. Apparently he "waved vigorously at no-one in particular" which is just like him.
The concert was preceded by a 37 minute drum solo by one of those drum-and-whistle groups you try to avoid in city centres, only this one had a kazoo and some zithers and Moroccan nose pipes and Zulu ululations. They set the scene for Africa, Warp 6, and we acted out a cross-dimensional Hamlet the Lion King crossover combo.
groundlings theatre showcase drama schoolI played the part of Ghost by standing on a chair behind a sheet going Mufasa you have forgotten me with a torch up my face. The youths did some highly commendable self-loathing and then an acid house dance group were interrupted in their exertions by some swordfighters who made everyone jump with their blood-curdling screams and sword-on-sword clanging.
During all this, Jof had her phone and managed to capture several Voltorbs, an Electrode, and power-up a Snafu, and when I finally emerged from the stage door, I was hyper. But I had to calm down, for tomorrow I have the JoniBobs for the day.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Gonads, Going, Gone!

chichester cathedral main towerOne could say that technically, it isn't the first day of the summer holidays because it's an "Inset Day", the teacher-training day in which we are all absolutely sure that they spend 8 hours training and preparing syllabus updates and not studying the effects of gin and tonic on a really hot day.
But it wasn't hot. I had planned a 'Nonchalant Beach Day' in which there were no plans of any kind to meet on the beach and play in the sea, it's just that if anybody who was already at the beach happened to bump into anybody else, then it would be churlish not to combine forces, and you know how I hate to churl.
So given the change of weather, we had a change of plan and a trip to the big swimming pool in Chichester, which I had already checked out with Bud last year so it was guaranteed OK. The flume-waterslide wasn't operational but the pool is deep and I think that the children of Chichester work harder for longer hours that we do, for it was fairly empty and we dived and quacked and swam and found food in The Cloisters café. We got an outside table because of the numerous old bats (Elder-Fledermausen are often to be found in or around old cathedrals. They occupy the inside seating areas in twittering droves, leaving biscuit crumbs, a layer of bat-guano and the hint of carbolic soap wherever they hang out) and that's when we found the weather getting steadily hotter.
I took a selfie on Jof's phone to prove my location and then demanded we try Poke Mongo on it, which everyone else in the world plays except me. It worked. I had a quick tour of the medieval paddocks of Chichester and caught several Pokies.
southsea seafront swimming wartime boom concrete blocks
Back at home, we'd decided to go to the beach after all as the mercury was rising in Taurus in the east, and we picked up Bud and all went and got into the sea. It was quite cold and initially you get severe testicular retraction but we got used to it after weeing in it to warm it up, a trick us chaps used last Sunday. Jof is allergic to seaweed so we hardly threw any at her at all, but us chaps swam out to the Green Marker Pole on the blocks of the old wartime boom, and the sideways tidal rip tried to get us but we were too strong. A lone RNLI guy on a canoe (who I know from a school presentation) watched over us as hordes of generously filled bikinis abounded in the sunlight although I still don't appreciate them.
I played Poke Mungo-hunting on the beach, all the way to the pier and back, and caught lots of imaginary cyber-beasties on Jofs' phone. I messed with the root directory a little and added a keystroke_logger.exe subroutine hidden in a partitioned SQL subfolder, did I mention I got a 1 in computers? Meanwhile, a cruise ship drifted past which may have a bearing on future posts. We got home sandy and tired with pink skin and everything is awesome ...

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Charles Babbage Indifference Engine

jump trick win parkourcar fire destroyed writeoffAt last! The last day of school, school's out for summer, ra ra etc. We watched each others' Olympic bijou filmettes and watched a film and generally mulled and milled, but not Meldrew or Mulder. We got to play games and Okeley Dokely had one where you're trying to tunnel out of Colditz but the Goons can move the exits by adding tiles.
groundlings theatre portsmouth boat chairsI brought home as much of my schoolwork as my Sherpa could carry, but the literacy book is being retained by the school as a reference book for the Year 3s: they liked my piece on animation. I marked the end of Year 5 with a slight sob and a scoot home in the baking sun. Speaking of burning hot, here's a dead car we found. I said it looked like a Terminator had landed recently, leaving that bubble of alternate reality that burns all within its timely radius.
Tonight is my rehearsal so I got my black costume together and noted that I may die of heat exhaustion wearing it so took shorts as well. My group got a second scene to act and I play a ghost suspended in the air looking like a giant bald egg (unlike all those giant hairy eggs) and there was delay on the microphone so my lip synch was out until it short-circuited a bit and I went Blaart when actually I'd said Simba.
I had no spare time at all to play on the tablet because I was helping the younger members, for I am a pro, if only I could sing like Sydney. And to cap it all, the TV is filming there in a couple of weeks and I'll be there, another 10-hour day. We took a couple of boxes of wood offcuts for the Scouts and I got home pink and smiling, like a victorious ninja, or a Johnny Cash Avenger. All in a day's work, whatever, dude.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Mexican Heatwave

body armout translation failWell, it's practically the holidays which is why we're hardly doing any work at all. First we 'finished our homework' and had a quiz. This was a lengthy endeavour with 60 questions, and a few pitfalls for the unwary student, of which we are legion.
post office in co-operative milton road portsmouthYou get points for questions correctly answered. In this, it was traditionally arranged. But if you stage-whisper the answer so loudly that Team James on the other side of the room can hear it, Team James will get an easy point with no synapses fired, and Team Whisper will have one deducted for idiocy, and breach of the peace. You could also lose precious points for being told off, so there's a few more gone. We came third.
Then was the battalion rounders game. The entire year played boys versus girls and although significantly more numerous, the girls don't quite have it in the hand/eye co-ordination, as they hardly spend any time at all hitting things with sticks. So we won 17:5, with my home run coming from a shot onto the roof which came back down the drainpipe. In the rematch the last girl hit it by accident on her follow-through which sent us stalwart fielders the wrong way and they won by half a point.
st james hospital milton tree climbing
In a post office inside a shop we posted 5 different kinds of throat-clearing pastilles including Fisherman's Friend to Grandad, who likes to sing without a frog in his throat. Perhaps he's moved onto newts. We walked home in the welcome but brutal heat.
Scouts today could not be at the bandstand due to excessive building works for the Americas Cup so we went to the Mad Hospital. Getting there early and shirtless, we had the chance to climb trees and see the midges dancing in shafts of sunlight and to get called strangers by some kid with a Dino-Transformatron who then wouldn't leave me alone. Bit by bit the cubs arrived and we outnumbered DinoBoy. We ate chips and crisps and played 'Fruit Salad', so at least some of it was healthy. I renegotiated my own age to allow myself to go on the next Cub camp, for by then I will be a Full Scout.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Jabba the Hut

sheet with hole centyral for costumeFollowing my success at the supermarket café last week, I persuaded Jof to come with me this time so we all went shopping. Bud did the actual shopping while we chose bacon and sausages and hash browns and tomatoes and toast and I think we got the better end of the deal.
Back at chez moi, Jof had to make my costume, a task that was thrust upon us at the last minute yesterday when I'd forgotten to mention it to them for the past few weeks. It's not too much, a sheet with a hole in the middle and some slight ruching to the shoulders, much simpler than a wetsuit with the bottom cut out.
And hey presto, in the fabrics box was a Blue Peter, a sheet with a hole in the middle that had been made earlier for a previous costume but was never used as it was far too big. In fact it was still too big but with some strenuous ruching and foxing and badgering, it was almost plausible. She made me a backup in case, because she's like that.
low tide southsea seafront bodyboardingAnd while Bud was delivering the emergency costume, Ben phoned to say come down to Jabba the Hut and let's play in the sea, for it is warm. There is very little that sounds better than an invite like that so Jof got 17 suitcases of water-play kit together and we drove nose-to-tail all the way to the coast like 73,000 others and found them.
Ben has a beach hut (which he named Jabba) which is a very good place to store your body-board and spare trunks and we're all very jealous because you have to be on the waiting list for, like, 5 years. So us chaps went straight in the sea and stayed there for an hour and a half and some brave adults joined us and Pater Over-Familias ran past and waved hotly. Eventually the boys went to play football and I parked it and I did have a very good time and we may very well have future beach dates because temperatures are rising and we've all got holidays coming up. I had tired arms so showered generously and played Naked Minecraft as only a happy ten year-old can.

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.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Ch-ch-ch-changes on Hold

So today was practically the last day of term and I met Oakley-Dokely as usual to walk in with. We have made a sub-contractual flexible arrangement with a third worthy person to join us when our paths cross, but today his alarm didn't go off and he was 40 minutes late. We didn't wait for him.
funny cats fall into swimming poolIn rounders we played the rival team that beat us recently in a return grudge match. We were equal at the end with only me to play, I hit the ball into the library and ran round the pitch to victory and cheers of 'Usain Bolt' from the adoring onlookers. I think that's what they were shouting, we do share some aspects of our physique after all, in that we both have 2 legs.
We had our last 'Changes' lesson (puberty) today, it was questions-from-the-floor time: I asked 7 questions, predominantly about lungs. This means that puberty will have to be suspended for the 6 weeks of the summer holiday until it can re-start in the autumn term.
In other news, Pokémon Go has been released in the UK. I look forward to being able to stumble around finding augmented-reality invisible cartoon characters while falling into hardware glitches such as walls, roads and ponds.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Wet Dreams and Silent Screams

kid scratches car door with screwdriverWell, it's getting to the end of Year 5 and we're winding down our academia (a kind of nut). We're still getting over the vast complexity of puberty lessons with the wet dreams and the spots and deodorant and menstrual cycles and the pads with wings and the teacher was absolutely right, we do have to keep our mouths shut about it, if a Year 3 or similar ever got to hear about it, their brains would indeed explode.
But today we invited a Year 4 class to review our Olympic-themed stop-motion films and my group got top billing! I mean, natch, but it's nice to have independent adjudication, even if it is from youngsters who don't have puberty clearance.
A new fad has broken out which seems to be moustache chase. You place a finger over your bottom lip and chase each other around. I'm not being Nazi about it, but they do look silly.
butterfly house canoe lake southseaAnyway, to make up for the lack of exercise following quitting advanced swimming lessons, I'd promised to cycle down to the seafront to give Bud a run. As long as I spent 40 minutes or so in the saddle, it counts as a workout. So we loaded up the rucksack and headed down there, the long way round. The wind was in my face and I had to get him to slow down and it hurt my legs but we got there shirtless and went into the Butterfly museum.
portsmouth natural history museumWe'd been there earlier in the season and the sign said come back from June onwards, there'll be butterflies. So we searched every plant in their hothouse, leaving no leaf unturned, found nothing, and asked the lady.
canoe lake cafe ice cream southseaOh no, she said, we're not having any butterflies this year. The hothouse is too old with big repair bills so they're chopping it down and making a big new one off to the side. Stopping only to buy a particularly blue rock, I bought a big ice cream at the café and we toured the lake in the sun and I found Ewan from acting lessons and two Year 3 girlies from my school and we played happily in the sun for ages, and I didn't tell them any of the hormonal nightmares to come. Recently somebody out in the Real-World asked me about the hand-cranked boats on Canoe Lake. They're no longer functional, but hiding in the Pedalo-Swan operator's shed.
On the way home, my bike bucked unexpectedly and I fell off, why do they do that?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Differently Normal

Left the house on my own and didn't come back for ages. My class walked to the girls' school and looked at their art exhibition.
5 dollars love you long timeOne was a picture of a forest but the artist had scuffed chalk in a particular pattern so from far enough away, a ghostly figure emerged from the trees. There was one of all the Doctor Whos, and one of a lion, although he wasn't rampant. More couchant.
I liked the only 3D one which was a severed head, not from Highlander the Movie, but from the Demon Barber of Seville, Sweeney Todd.
We got back just before the rain, which was both intensive and extensive. For 'Open Day' we got all our work out for the lucky parents to examine, neither of mine made it again. This was nothing to do with Bud finding out that his entire company was closing and he has to find a new job. They always need those taxi drivers to take you to the airport, right? Klothni ela Ilmbataar is 'Take me to the airport' in Arabic, I guess we'll hear that a lot.
Anyway, my school report says I'm normal apart from in maths and computers so perhaps I can have a solid career programming robots to do simple tasks, like driving people to the airport. I have chosen the next school I'd like to go to, it's the one with the big stage and the big science labs.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Harry Lonsdale: Prom King

engrish funny t shirtToday we walked to the secondary school up the road and saw their school play. It was about life in one possible future, in the 24th century where an evil woman dictator with a pointy nose and a blue handbag wanted a third glorious decade of total law enforcement, and had banned all forms of music.
schoolboy standing on radiator in assembly hallIn the end, the footloose new kid on the block discovered the lost legendary guitar of freedom, struck a heroic pose with awkward trousering, and struck a heroic power chord with major 9th and reverb and it was so loud, it brought everyone back to life and the evil dictatoress lost her marbles.
Then Jof told me to help prepare the assembly hall for the Year 6 Leaver's Disco. They had just finished an hour of PE so the hall was an oppressive miasmic fug of disturbingly suspicious Eau de Ninety 11 year-olds so we opened the windows a lot.
Then we moved the trestle tables and the benches and found the Prom King robes and I tried them on and waved the nob-on-a-stick and we found the Prom Queen's robes with added fluffy pink trim and I declined the chance to look transglamtastic.
prom king robes and maceAnd we got the ballot boxes out and looked at the DJ's playlist, good luck with that lot, and made paper chains and hung them in the windows and put up a sheet for the photo booth and it was all rather fun really.
Met Jof briefly and went to my last swimming lesson. It's just too hard, it actually hurts, all that ploughing up and down getting exercise. Apparently my priorities might change in the next few years and I might make the effort to look trim for the ladies but until then, Minecraft it is.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Peaks and Troughs: a Transformation in Progress

dumb criminal funny arrest pictureSo, as per info gained from our puberty lessons, some of us are starting to feel the first ripples of the Hokusai Great Hormonal Wave of Kanagawa. It turned out that the enemy I made in anger last week was just a friend I hadn't forgiven yet, so we walked to school together talking about Minecraft and didn't get knocked down by any cars at all.
show and tell at scout meeting
My class lost heavily to the class next door at rounders because all my lot were in groups babbling instead of spread out over the playground fielding and catching, well that's my excuse anyway. Speaking of sore sporting losers, the moth that landed on 'Crying' Cristiano last night now apparently has over 60 Twitter accounts. Lucky he's got 6 legs, with all that typing. In Scouts one of our number did a show'n'tell on Transformerbots.