He woke me up at 9 to feed me and take us to the beach. My Scoutmaster Skip had emailed through a volunteering event that would count towards the 6 hours of service that I need to get the Community Scout Badge, which is one of the ones you need to get the Chief Scout Gold Award badge which is on my hit list.
And it's all very well agreeing to such a noble task but it's a little different at 9 on a Saturday morning when he's saying get a move on, and take your gloves. This event is a locally organized one where volunteers go on their Facebook page and sign up to do 2 hours of litter-picking on the beach, to save the wildlife and clean it up and generally be nice to the environment where we live.
And you know, it wasn't that bad at all. I became King of the Random Strips of Rubber Tyre, but I also found a glove, several shotgun shells, a lot of fireworks and tin cans.
Jof favoured long bits of hairy rope and bottletops, Bud got a sock, bits of caravan and millions of little bits of those bright green ropes that never rot. In the end our binbag was very full and we have made the world a better place. And we met Sydney's mum walking Bella the dog.
Part 2: Pushing those Personal Boundaries
I had my birthday recently and now we are possibly a bit old to have a party in Pirate Pete's or Krazy Kaverns, it has become the norm to find a new and interesting venue and have a boy's day out, perhaps with chips.
Last year we did Romsey Rapids and that was very nice with the waterslide and mill-race with bubble attack and a pub lunch afterwards. And we would probably have done it again had we not found the Guildford Spectrum Leisure Centre with its numerous waterslides of all nations, wave alert and the trio of diving boards, each higher and more terrifying than the last.
So we picked up Ben and the JBs and drove towards London with the 3 tall ones in the back jabbering on in their heathen lingo, recording it all on Ben's phone, and with the Dinosaurs of Rock CD playing at considerable volume. Johnny plays gittar and many of the tracks were just for him.
They have a 1 Metre springboard, a 3 Metre springboard, and a 5 Metre concrete one. Last time, I bounced the 1 Metre a few times and jumped off the 3, but never liked the look of the 5. This time we had 3 extra contenders with us and I don't think any of them had met boards of such threatening dimensions.
We all started with some 1s. Ben did dab-jumps and I did a couple of real dives and the JBs did big flap-doodle jumps and we all messed around a bit, for it is fun. But then we joined the big boys queue, because the 3 and the 5 come off the same ladder so you get to choose which one you're going to do while still queuing up.
Before long, we'd all done the 3. But that 5 was sitting there mocking us with its easy availability and no shortage of other kids jumping off it. I broke first, and climbed the heady heights, marvelling at its own personal cloud system and really quite large drop to the water below. I did hesitate. I've seen Bud do it many times and the trick is to go in straight, with both hands protecting the willocks. This way you can actually reach the floor, even though the water is 4 metres deep.
Then Johnny took the stand and he did a bomb. He bombed off a 5 Metre board, his first time off a board of that height. And everyone around pulled faces and went holy poodles are you sure you wanted to do that mate and Johnny came out and he pulled faces too and said gosh darn it, my bottom hurts quite a bit.
And we were all very sympathetic, and so will his first girlfriend have to be, for his rear end is no longer the pristine paragon of virtue and purity it was before that watery deflowering, just saying.
And having stared death in the face, we went off and played tag in the main pool and got some wave alerts and just messed around for the rest of the 1 hour 50 minutes and that is why we shall always be best buddies because what more do you need.
Eventually the tannoy called for the yellow wristbands to get out and we went to have a look at the ice rink and the ice smoother-truck came out and smoothed it and we had chips and burgers and chicken lumps and threw ketchup everywhere and Ben had 2 cokes and Johnny doesn't like ketchup and I forgot to order chips and you know, whatever.
The journey back was no quieter and I've learned some new words and basically we all talk rubbish for ages, but everyone has to have a hobby. Ben gave me a Minecraft Creeper and Ocelot set and a tenner and they all gave me a fun day out and we have all done new things in new places and extended our personal boundaries and hooray.