I apologize for some of the posts this week in which my superstar looks and winning smile were inexplicably missing, but sometimes I'd just be inventing a reason for a photo. Not so today.
So I'd had some croissants for breakfast, made even more delicious by strawberry jam purpose-stolen from a hotel in Majorca. And I moseyed into the dining room to play Minecraft and Bud was sorting out the latest delivery of funny foreign coins.
I have a collection of these, mostly started when we inherited some from Blind Uncle Len, and we always had a few of those old French coins and stuff in bottom drawers, the way we all do. But nowadays, every time we visit Lyndhurst or Chichester or Salisbury or Bognor, there are those special antique shops where you can riffle through the bucket of silly coins at 10p a go or buy the random Chinese take-away tub of coins for £5, and see what you get.
Over the period, we have gained many coins from countries far, some donated by friends, some collected off the street and some bought in shops for something to do. And whenever there is a new delivery, you sort them into countries, ditch the ugliest ones if you've got duplicates, then compare to the existing collection to see if you've got a new one, or a shinier version of one you've already got. Then you add it to the spreadsheet, and stick it in the little plastic wallet thing you can get from our mate in China and sent in the post.
So there is a process. And because this collection is nominally mine - Bud is just curating it for me, honest - I took an interest and sorted the Americas section and added them to the spreadsheet and inserted a line for the ones we didn't have, and determined that this one was shinier, and this one wasn't, and generally joined in with gusto, pyjamas and a magnifying glass.
And then we got one from Surinam, a square 5 Cent in faded aluminium. And we didn't have Surinam on the spreadsheet! I had to add a new country! I found this strangely exciting, oddly compelling. We now have over 2000 different coins, and laughed at the Belgians for having identical coins but some say Belgie and some say Belgique, and other little anomalies.
I tried on some clothes that Jof had got me for the 'Battle of Britain' topic - become a wartime evacuee. They are good, with a pretend tie and a baggy jumper. I already have the Cockney accent from my days as a Victorian chimney sweep.
Then we went to Portsmouth University. I am slightly too young to attend full-time but that is where Chinese Henry and his film director Gemma were holding auditions for a student film. The film is about a chap undergoing psychoanalysis and where the shrink has to say tell me about your mother and your childhood, they need some kid to play 'Younger Matthew', and I read the lines for the nice people and had to do it in a whiny voice and they liked me. But I won't find out if I've got the job for a while. We had to pay for a parking meter, silly given that we were a few hundred yards from my next appointment at the theatre. The Union was big and new and smelt of fags and there was a huge lounge with deckchairs.
At the theatre I met Sydney and we practised Wind in the Willows and stuff, and it was a good lesson. There is an audition for a Spielberg movie so I took the details. And while we were out, Bud had bought a knackered elderly suitcase for £5 out of an antique shop in Southsea so I have something to sit on, on the station platform waiting to take me to the countryside away from the Nazi blitz.
Even later, I met 26 other members of my Scout group for the swimming badge session. This event is at my old stomping pool and last time I did Badge #2 and that was fine but last year we didn't do it, just when I was being trained up by the proper swimming club. So this year I said stuff Badge #3, let's go straight onto Badge #4.
So I had to tread water for 5 minutes and do 5 lengths in 5 minutes and do 40 lengths without stopping and hold onto a float for 5 minutes and dive in a few times and Oh Dearie Me.
Due to certain talents I have, such as being wonderful and epic and so forth, I totally beasted it. I could have gone for Badge #5, roll on next year. James in my class did it too and Tall Luke, with whom I did the night-hike, tried Badge #5 but struggled, and won. The Badge-Meister will be busy tonight! Then we had 45 minutes of messing around with frog-shaped floats and diving etc, hooray. The boys' changing room was packed afterwards: only 2 people thought their way around the problem and used the ladies' changing room (no Scouts are ladies, ergo no occupants). The swimming pool was built 117 years ago for the Royal Marines, barracks just up the road. And the officers' changing room is now the ladies. That is why it's 4 times bigger and you could play tennis in it. On the way home we saw a head-on crash involving a Dominos' delivery car where the fronts of both vehicles were all squished up.
At home, Jof had made us a roast dinner and we hoovered it up like very hungry deserving people eat godly ambrosia.