Sunday, 28 May 2017

May 2017 4/4

At last! Up far too early to loiter with intent.
school trip to marwell zoo residentialMany schools send kids on residential courses lasting a few days and I've been on the Stubbington one and I've heard about the Parents-Get-Lost one on the Isle of Wight. But a new one has joined the pack - Marwell Zoo.
I've been to this zoo a couple of times and they do have a study centre but now they've added dormitory huts and numerous activities for youths both bold and wet.
meon school residential trip to marwell zooJof had gathered together all my kit and barring the last few things we'd forgotten such as raincoat, it was all ready and I togged up and set off. Jof dragged me back and showed how much she loves me by saying have a good time and I'll miss you and don't forget to wipe your bottom and loads of other mothery blarney and I escaped the tightening noose and fled.
On the way to school we started to see other classmates dressed like me with suitcases and finger-spinners and in the assembly hall stood a bunch of parents and the Left Luggage Hall of Doom. We all trooped upstairs and the parents dispersed: that made us officially zoo animals.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity week
The journey was by 2 coaches: even a short hop like that is challenging for energized youngsters and the teachers knew that so we stopped off half way there to run around a random field, and got to the zoo at noon for a site tour, and a lunch of sandwiches, apples, juice and chocolate bars.
This is when we found that although the campsite is next to the zoo, it is not actually in it. This was a let-down for those of us who wanted to be Ostriches, or who wanted to feed a certain someone to the tigers. In fact, we couldn't go to the zoo or Ye Olde Gifte Shoppe at all, because it is in the public domain. But now we are older, these residential camps are activity-heavy. There was a large refectory tent, and 6 Stalag Luft-style dormitory huts with a seating area outside, 3 for boys, 2 for girls and 1 for teachers. They got comfy chairs.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekActivity #1: Rock Climbing Wall, with harness. Topping out at 50 feet, I got 35 feet up the wall that gets steeper and steeper the further up you go, until it goes past vertical and curves back on itself.
Activity #2: Obstacle Course. Has stepping stones, hop-jumps, and a massive tunnel. This tunnel has anti-bear defence lids at both ends and is wiggly and pitch black with minimal crawlspaces and corners and drops. It was ace. But on the jumping-wall, my legs were not long enough to reach to the 3rd level.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekFor dinner we had stir-fry chicken of which I approve. Then we had a 2-stage activity. First, your team got a random item and had to make an advert for it, act it out, and this would get you points - and in this case, points make money - with which you buy materials for the next stage. We got a golf ball and made an advert for an Un-Chewable Gobstopper. I was the chewer and we had people railing against sugar overload for young teeth, then a granny came on and declared she was tougher than a gobstopper and she was shot by a rifleman, I guess you had to be there. But we won the acting competition and got the most money.
Activity #3: Egg Bounce. This old chestnut is known to us all. Each team protected their egg from a 30 foot drop using the materials purchased with the advertising revenue. We named our egg 'Dr Scramble' and we had so many layers of packaging, our egg-pod floated gently down and our species was saved from extinction. In fact only one egg ('Harambegg') died, when its hat became detached and it sprayed an arc of yolk everywhere. I got 8 hours' sleep.
On day 2, Ben bunked in with me because Child A snores. Breakfast was Full English and I went back for 3rd helpings, with numerous sausages. I need the energy, you know.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekActivity #4: Milk Crate Stack. Again, this one is well known to us all, I've done it at the Portsmouth Water Sports Centre. Again, you're harnessed and people throw milk crates up to you and you stack them (in teams of 2) and see how high you can get, just not like Jim Morrison. I reckon we got to Level 10.
Activity #5: Wayfaring. This is essentially orienteering, your team gets a map with points marked on it: each point on the ground has a letter hidden from easy view, you collect the letters, unscramble the magic word, and win. I was a total Map-Guru and on some of the positions, I found the letter nailed to the back of a tree or similar when others had walked right past. The magic word was rifle-range. Then lunch.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekActivity #6: Raft Building. OK, so most of us have done this too. You have rope, logs and barrels and you lash them together and row off into the sunset with laughter and gay abandon. I wore my water-shoes, trunks, tracksuit bottoms and 2 T-shirts. Everything got soaked and that's when I had the only shower of the week, mmm. But please notice the epic weather in the verdant and countrified surroundings of this entire residential course. A nice change from summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty gritty.
After supper (chicken goujons) we had film night - Despicable Me.
Day 3 did include breakfast, but I only went back for seconds.
Activity #7: Archery, another former favourite. I scored a bullseye from 5 metres.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekActivity #8: Quad Biking. Well, I've driven trundly safety cars at Butlins but never anything like this! It was amazing with giant helmets with sticky-out bits at the front and a big D-shaped course with wiggly bits and a long straight. Owen seems to be perfectly designed for quad-biking and took the corners like a boss. I opened her up on the long straight and gave it full throttle: ok, so you only get up to 15 mph but it feels like you're in a Spitfire.
Activity #9: Zipline. This one is a detached part of the aerial adventure and you climb 10 metres up a tree and zip 25 metres over a lake. It does go really fast, and you get 2 goes. Funny thing we noticed, the lake had 2 crocodiles in it. One of them is called One-eyed Steve after he lost a fight with the other one.
Activity #10: Aerial Adventure. Similar to but smaller than the one at Centre Parcs, you have a variety of obstacles including the suspended planks. The planks hang in mid-air at different levels and have ropes through each corner. So getting from one to the other isn't always easy. Average competitor 'Child B' could get across in 3 minutes. I took up the super-retro-challenge and went across backwards in 1 minute, for which I got a prize - an extra chocolate bar at dinner.
Later, after sausages and mash, we had a campfire and sang songs such as 'Eat the banana' and 'The balls on the bus go round and round'.
Day 4 was sadly truncated by having to go home. But first we had the Full English breakfast again and I had 3rd helpings, you've got to take opportunities when they arise.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekActivity #11: Rifle Shooting. OK, so it was only air rifles, but this isn't the 1970s any more. I scored 8 rounds through the bullseye and will get my cardboard target back later.
Activity #12: Gladiators. Straight away we thought we'd be standing in a sandy ring poking each other with rubber spears to the music from Star Trek but no, this is a climbing game. You have to ascend the various levels and go over the suspended tyres and sit on the upper log, all whilst securely harnessed. I could not get past the spinning tyres. Child C fell off the top bit and swung around, held up by his harness, which squished his ribcage and he vomited copiously from a great height, most fun to see.
marwell zoo residential school trip activity weekAnd after a hearty meal for the condemned kids, we all got back on the coaches and came home. My first priority was a shower, then straight back to Arse Electronica which I had missed terribly. I had lost my voice (but gained a hoarse) because of all the shouting.
All in all, the school trip to Marwell Zoo activity was totally bodacious and epic. Of course, we are of that special intermediate age so there was lots of raping of teddy bears, dry humpage and bandying about of rude phraseology. We could hear each other through the prefabricated tent/chalets and once Child D heard a particularly funny joke and laughed so much there was fluid leakage. So he needed new trousers and bedsheets and everyone laughed at him, which may not have helped. But you get that sort of thing.
Chasing Ghosts (and Swans)
christchurch harbourBack in 1957, when Jof was a kid, her parents used to take annual holidays in a little seaside resort called Mudeford, pronounced Meoo-deford by us and Muddiford by everybody else. This former fishing village sits at the mouth of Christchurch Harbour and is pretty and isolated and has coastal pine trees and marram grass on the dunes and views to the Isle of Wight.
But that was in 1957, and Jof fancied trying to rediscover the hotel they used to stay at, called the Avonmouth Hotel then, but since renamed. A lot can change in that time.
We approached at speed using a hand-drawn map which got us to the car park in 1 hour 10 minutes, no detours, and 1 entire compilation CD of "Dyno-Saurs of Rock" which Jof kept telling us to turn down and I kept secretly turning back up again until she stopped wittering from the back seat of the car where I usually send her.
wooden boat christchurch harbourAfter some excellent climbing in the coastal pine trees, and having paid for 4 hours' parking, we wandered off in search of the long-lost Hotel of Yesteryear and quite soon, she found it and we looped round the back to make sure. That's when Bud said ooo look, it's the River Mude after which the village was named, let's get a closer look, and I stepped heavily in a patch of newly laid concrete which was clearly marked by a large yellow traffic cone, inserted a deep, full footprint in a permanent position for future generations to admire, and we invoked the great Monty Python, and went Run Away, Run Away.
mudeford beach to christchurch ferryBack on Mudeford Quay, we saw that it contains Gifte Shoppes, fisherman's equipment stores, a sailing club, Lifeboat station, pub and lots of tourist stuff, including millions of people crabbing (they get bigger crabs in Dorset) and a ferry. This ferry is marked on the map as going to Hengistbury Head (a sandy outcrop about 50 yards away) and Christchurch Central, with Priory, Church and an actual town.
So after a fortifying ice cream, we got the ferry (departs every 12 minutes) for only £3.70 the lot and it was quick and good, 10/10 for them. But that was it. It only went 56 yards to Hengistbury Head, and you had to get the fancy wooden luxury cruiser to Christchurch for £20 return.
pub lunch by ducking stool lane christchurchSo we did that, and we saw swans and ducks and outdoor centres and expensive beachfront houses and buoys shaped like top hats and it was all rather good. In Christchurch we crossed the Quomp or the Quim or the Quagga or the Quorn which is apparently the greensward open space with swingpark and headed into the bustling metropolis, finding a bank for monetary purposes and The George Inn which gave us scampi and chips and squid and beer and toilet facilities.
river avon christchurchThis is an old town so just down narrow medieval lanes from the pub is the old 14th century ducking stool lovingly recreated in 1986. It was most tranquil with the ducks and the weeping willows, but the description sign makes it clear that back then, the town magistrates could punish mouthy, gobby women and horrendous screaming fishwives who didn't know their place for being 'Scolds', gosh how things have changed, now brassy wenches get on TV.
christchurch castle ruinsAcross the road is a Norman castle, now totally ruined. OK, so the keep mound remains with a few walls but the grounds are nice with access to the church through peaceful gardens where a wedding was going on, nice work if you can get it. We walked through a lime-tree tunnel and came out by the Quay.
In Quomp/Qwerty/Quandary Fields is a decent swingpark with good-looking added splashpark, both very well attended. They tried to get me to cool off in the life-giving waters, but I was having none of it because all our swimming-type kit was back in the car.
christchurch priory tree tunnelBut we'd already walked past a boat-hiring place and I had my eye on the motorboats. So Bud conned us into only having 30 minutes (£20) instead of the hour we should have taken (£30) saying we didn't want to miss the ferry back.
We were allocated a blue 5-seater motorboat and the engine just wouldn't start, even when Bud pulled the cord and made it go chumf chumf. But then there was an orange one next to it and orange is my favourite colour and that one started. The rules were to keep to the right, only go upstream to the 100 foot chimney, and come back. As soon as we were out in the main channel, Bud and I swapped places and I drove the whole way.
christchurch harbour boat hireYou go upstream past lots of fancy houses with yachts and motor boats and verandahs and yuccas and weeping willows and it does rather make you want to live by the sea. The boat was programmed to chunter along at 4 knots and the steering was slow to react so you Tokyo-drifted along like a car on an oily skidpan and I got used to it rapidly and the boring old adults just had to sit there while I bossed it totally.
And once we'd gone under the bridge and met the 100 foot chimney stack, I did a massive handbrake turn in the river and it was epic and gosh I do somewhat like this boating lark. And I got us back to the pontoon and Bud did another handbrake turn to get us alongside which I could have probably done better and we had 45 minutes before the next ferry, did I mention we were conned.
quomps playpark christchurch dorsetSo we had coffee and saw the medieval mill and fed the swans (saw one hissing at a sausage dog that got too close - very funny) with locally produced corn and the ferry arrived early and took us back to Hengistbury Head very slowly due to an adverse wind, seeing some New Forest ponies of varying ages and girths on a tidal island.
And knowing that we still had to take the 56 yard ferry back to Mudeford Quay I agreed to at least look at the millions of beach huts and see the sea, because I don't usually get the chance, living on an island in the sea.
river avon christchurchIt was sandy. This was immediately different and we gambolled around in the dunes with their spiky grass and messed around on the beach and before long we were paddling and I was digging in the sand and getting totally wet and dirty and that is what you are supposed to do, even though the sea temperature was only 13 degrees. I rinsed off by plunging in right in front of the Needles lighthouse and Alum Bay, where I went a few years ago on the chairlift.
silhouette boy on rocksmudeford beach dorset low tideAfter a while I dressed (with added authentic Dorset sand) and retrieved an errant swan feather and we got the ferry 46 yards back to civilisation (low tide).
There we discovered that the kind but cheeky old Burghers of Christchurch Town Council had awarded us a £25 parking ticket, no doubt as the ducking ducking stool is off the byelaw statute books nowadays.
Stupid thing to mention: of the 4 different boating-craft we were on today, employment agencies phoned Bud while we were on 2 of them. I still maintain that in the event of a lottery win I want a kayak, he wants a dinghy and she wants a motor-cruiser, but then she also wants goats, alpacas, baby horses and 17 cats so you can't trust her.
And, pink in special places due to all the sunshine, we drove home taking only 1 wrong turning which enabled us to see some new and interesting corners of this green and pleasant land, including the fabled Hotel of Yesteryear that Jof saw down a side street as we left.
hengistbury head mudeford beachWe kept pace with a fifty-something chap in a bright red Lotus Elise on the motorway and the west-bound side was clogged forever as half the country went to Devon for the weekend.
needles vectis in sunshineMeanwhile we pigged on chocolate and West Country Fudge (it's exactly the same fudge box you buy in Stonehenge, St Ives and Weston super Mare, just with a postcard from Mudeford stuck on the top). I was promised all the crabbing equipment I could eat next time we return. We took it in turns to shower.
On Saturday I relaxed with Minecraft. Briefly, I attended acting school where the only other student was a 14 year-old girl who is friends with the older sister of Mmm-Lucy, who is in my school class. Because there were no drama teachers available, we had a predominantly Tech lesson and played with the lights and I did a White Haze when I was supposed to do a Purple Haze, but my Super Silver Haze was all sparkly with crystals.
boy surfing on tableAnd I went back on Minecraft and Skyped with some random dude while Jof watched the FA cup final. Film Night was 'Crocodile Dundee' with some really dreadful outfits from the 1980s and lots of clever jokes that I missed because I was arguing. Showered whilst singing my Dyno-Saurs of Rox medley including excerpts from hits such as 'Stacey's Mom has we will rock you down to Gorky Park, and she's buying a stairway to the winds of change, when the wheels have ideas of their own, smooth as the groove that's making you move, taking the long way around...'
Sundays are always a battle 'twixt sofa and cake but Jof made me go out for a brisk walk, luckily rain stopped pain within 4 minutes. Meanwhile, 2 blokes were filling up a 'Man with Van'-style removals lorry with random rubbish and we noticed some dead pallets. You can't let these things go to waste so we mentioned the Scout Camp-fire and what do you know, both of these old boys were ex-Scouts and helped us carry 6 pallets and a table over the road to our garage, saves a journey to the tip and it's all in a good cause. Film night was 'Expendables 2' with guns and bombs and funnies.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

May 2017 3/4

Sex, Drugs and Scouting
Back to school with our noses to the collective grindstones once more, even though we've finished the exams.
not a smart husky dogSo we began with science, always a good place to start. We learned about blood and arteries and veins and then we went straight onto sex and puberty. Some of us are already going through the special changes - whether we want to or not - and have girlie-bumps or unexpectedly hairy stiff upper lips or willies and in some cases, all three.
We watched an animation with cartoon-style kids showing off their inner workings and getting boners and we all laughed a lot because we know all the rude words but not boring things like Johnnies and tampons. So we have come out of this class with a whole lot of adjusted preconceptions and inventive misconceptions.
And because giggling at each others' boners isn't enough, we also learned about drugs. So now we know about heroin and LSD and masturbation and cocaine and crystal meth, and that alcohol is ok but not for kids, don't tell the emergency room staff on a Friday night.
Then we went onto lighter things and did our first script run-through for the Lion King. As the King himself, I have to be loud and powerful and full of authority. But it was only the top 18 characters so the rest of the year group will have to join in later.
lumps fort southsea seafront miniature villageThe happy-clappy religious types visited us again and made us sing overly joyful songs about what a wonderful groovy god they've invented and we contented ourselves by substituting lots of other words, mostly nob.
Down at the seafront it was a bit rainy and Johnny bundled me off the football and I fell over a bit and got wet. But we did climb on the fort using the helpful grab-fence to get to the beach hut roofs and got all muddy. It says warning, anti-climb paint but it didn't stop us, buncha rebellious monkey-spankers.
Later it was the Scout AGM. Because they take our money and look after the kids, the Scout leader-types have to have a proper meeting so all the parents can see how many kids have been killed on camp and stuff, and it was zero again, must try harder.
As I have been a Scout since I was first old enough, I can't really complain about having to attend and the speeches were much shorter. But then he said Quiz Night and I got miffed because I wanted my Minecraft back. But we teamed up with Flynn and Cosmic and their mum and we were 'Spiniez' as opposed to the team called Fidget Spinners behind us and the team called Midget Spinners next to us and something about Pink Fluffy Unicorns which should be a punishment for unruly Scouts.
And of course all us kids are sober restrained sorts and hardly bellowed out the answers at all. If there was a tie on any of the 5 sections, the winners had to do a tying-the-knot challenge tie break, and once a Granny totally beasted a regular Scout with her super-fast getting knotted. And in the end we didn't win but got 39/50 which is knot bad.
Trouser me up, Scotty
man getting eaten by crocodileThe sex education continues. While we did learn about the ventricles, valves and vagus nerves, we also covered other matters of the heart such as sex and love. Friendship was the first relationship we covered in detail, having declared that a sexual relationship won't be required until we're over 16.
We drew diamond-shaped diagrams with aspects of friendship listed in order of importance, and trust and honesty came out top, with cashflow and attractiveness coming last.
tesco childrens clothing sectionAnd just when I got home he said you've got 2 jobs so I sulked for 2 minutes. Job 1 was trousers. And pants, and shorts, and slippers. Since last year my perfectly good collection of artificial leg coverings has miraculously shrunk in the wash and I need a whole new lot, particularly for upcoming school trips and holidays. So we walked to giant Tesco and with extreme difficulty, found the right section without asking for directions. And even Tesco is not immune to the great shrinking-demon of clothes, because all the 11-12 years clothes did not fit, and we had to get 12-13. Still, this is all due to puberty, which stalks us daily down the halls of education, and even in our dreams.
And just down the road from us is a house currently infested with builders. They were kind enough to say yes, we can take as much broken bits of wood as we like for the Scouts camp-fire so we took 3 loads between us and local man Brian 'Bald Eagle' Beaver-leader caught us taking it, how apt that this wood is going to the Beaver Scout camp next month.
hamburger for unconscious vegan prankWednesday was damp with added rain. Due to an outbreak of excessive optimism, I didn't take a coat. In PE we played rounders and I got miffed when placed on First Base which sees no action, hope I won't have to take orders I don't like in my future life.
And in what seems like never-ending sex education, we were shown a picture. We all thought it was of a bottom having huge diarrhoea. But then the teacher said it was of a penis shooting out sperms and we all went aaargh! Hope to never see that kind of thing again. There was quite a lot more video-nasty about men humping and pregnancy and foetuses growing and hips widening.
milton park portsmouth green spaceLuckily, Bud came to pick me up and brought a raincoat. Grandad phoned and set me a task of finding out the time in New York and Turkey if it's 12 noon in England.
The Potatoes of Madness
Today we had another lesson on drugs. We learned which ones were legal and which not, what they do to you and your health, just not how to pronounce them all.
And we all got one drug each to research and write up a little explanatory pamphlet about, I got LSD which sounds a real hoot. The one drug I reckon I'll try is alcohol.
kid shocked by giving birthAnd we had our last sex lesson, which was a video of a baby girl being born. So we saw our first actual vagina that wasn't a cartoon and then all of a sudden there was a potato in it and then the potato turned into a whole baby and there was screaming and lots of spludgy bits and we all went aaaargh again, put us right off the whole thing.
And then things took a turn for the weird, maybe some of that LSD got left behind.
Now, sometimes people are not what they seem and we have a prime example. CrunchyGirl is all nice on the outside, but very very crunchy on the inside.
purple fidget spinnerAnd Child A was running down the classroom and tripped up over a chair leg and while he was down, CrunchyGirl kicked him hard in the ribs, so she had to go to the headmaster because she is on permanent report and he had to have his Mum come in to see if he was OK to continue the school day with such a large unsightly purple welt on his ribcage. Then Child B ran towards CrunchyGirl to give her a swipe round the chops and he went down too and ended up with a table on him although he didn't mind, for he is made of sterner stuff.
Then, out of nowhere, six girls started crying for no apparent reason as did Child C who is technically a boy, but, you know, and practically anyone who wasn't already on the floor was blubbing like crazy. It was bizarre.
wind lifts building roof awayThe teacher said it could be Mash Hysteria which is something you get when you've eaten too many potatoes, or are a large group of emotionally fragile individuals going through puberty.
So after school we went into town and I bought a Fidget Spinner because absolutely everyone else has got one therefore I have to, too.
Fridays are always good and the weatherguesser had predicted clag and drizzle all day. Thus when it was sunny and warm all day and our PE lesson was outside in the park, we were all happy. We did running and jumping and relays and absorbing solar radiation and then Bud walked past and we said hello. Sadly taking pictures of schoolkids doing PE lessons Does Not Look Good but it was in the place in the rainy picture just above. Might I add that Child D (who is a girl) runs like an absolute girl and cost us the relay when she dropped the baton for the 4th time. And we were off drugs, and sex was already finished so now we're off to the zoo. And I'm not kidding.
Psychotic Laundry
Started the day with bacon and eggs and a session gathering my stuff for being abandoned at the zoo (told you). It's amazing just how much stuff one guy needs and it's all grown, like me. When I was in the loft choosing a suitcase, I went for my newer, larger holiday suitcase (rather than my original brightly coloured one) but that was still way too small and so I adopted Nanna's suitcase.
suitcase for school tripThat's when we also found lots of crap in the loft, this is not an obsessive-compulsive hoarding disorder kind of crap, it's either bats or rats so we bought lots of poison and traps, knowing that bats won't touch them.
And every time the laundry was put out, it must have sent psychic rays to the clouds, because it rained heavily, directly against the orders and authorized predictions of the weather-guessers.
Later it was acting and we waited for Sydney and her friend Unknown Caitlin (I know lots of Caitlins but not this one) to turn up but they took too long getting ready and we were late (in the rain, 'cos we'd left the laundry out in the sunshine). This is another thing about girls, if they're going out on a Friday night they have to start getting ready on the Tuesday because they're so rubbish at everything. And adding an Unknown Caitlin simply trebled the time it takes an already slow Sydney to arrive.
Anyway, acting itself was good and as part of the scene I have to knee someone in the goolies but the part of nuttily-challenged man is currently played by a girl, that's why it's called acting. And another in a random series of 'Groovy Local Locations' is the Round Tower, with 2 added forts in the background. Perhaps this is why we're called Strong Island, with all that rock and brick surrounding us.
medieval tower sea defences
Saturday-night-is-film-night was 'The Expendables' in which Sly Stallone invited some Hollywood friends to perform in a hotch-potch mismatch of a film where Schwarzenegger and Willis barely featured but Ivan Drago from a previous Rocky movie played a mercenary drug addict. The rent-a-soldier cast of The Unmentionables was taken directly from 'Commando' as was the Generalissimo's palace but this time the general's daughter was the feisty love interest and there was a lot more tattooing and knife-throwing.
Jason Statham from 4 Shotguns & Transporter 1-7 was nice to see (particularly as I have to employ a Cockney accent at work) and I look forward to Irascibles 2 and 3 where a well-known semi-retired Cyborg takes more of an active part in proceedings.
Damaged Goods
Woke at ten something but stayed in bed reading for an hour.
schoolgirl broken wrist in cast slingMade contact with Sydney over Skype to find she'd broken her wrist so badly she had to have a midnight operation to re-attach her ears with metal poles and she didn't get home until 1 in the morning.
And of course it would be her right hand, so she can't write or play Minecraft which is basically the end of her life until the cast comes off. So she watched me play for a while but facetime is better than voyeurism so I went round to hers to cheer her up in person. She taught me Back-Garden-Backgammon and we played in the sun, and there was ice cream and discussions about rice pudding and her vast foam cast-protecting sling, which might get in the way slightly in acting. And I couldn't go to bed at midnight because I'm going to be living in a zoo for a while, as one does.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

May 2017 2/4

unconscious drunk asleep in urinal funny failVerboten in Sixty Seconds
Dread! Fear! Well not really, just the exams that the teachers have been terrified about for so long.
We started with Reading. Not the unnecessarily ugly town by the Thames, but reading comprehension. It was an hour long and before long, Child A had stood up, walked over to the teacher and asked loudly to go to the toilet, even though we had just endured a lengthy speech about not leaving your seats or making any noise. We all knew he was going to mess it up one way or another, because he cannot help himself.
Then, after revision for tomorrows' spelling and grammar test and some differently shaped breaktimes, we had a second round of auditions for the Year 6 play. 25 kids were challenging for 18 parts and they made me do the voice of the narrator to hold it all together, because they knew I could do it properly.
kalahari tents 5th portsmouth scout groupWhile I do want a large part, it is not the part of the narrator, so I made sure I told them to cast me as the baddie. And it looks like one of the 2 contenders has suitably won himself the role of Warthog, and the other was sent away for being naughty, so I should be a shoo-in, but you can't count on anything in this world, or a hill of beans in this crazy cosmos.
And after school I walked home with Ben and we went to the beach hut and played Manhunt until they got bored and opted for football. I was quite tired by then and had a slight huff but Jof made kedgeree which is good for you and filled me right back up again.
beautiful lefkara cyprus turkish delightsIn Scouts we opened the Vicars' garage and did some outside work with the stoves and camping equipment and we have a new girl doing the try-out and Bud took home 3 tents to mend or replace. We had to have 3 attempts to find a Camping-Gaz stove with some gas left in it and then Child B tried to set fire to his shoe and was Banned from Matches. Someone at Buds' work brought home some Turkish delights from Cyprus but as he is from the Greek side, I guess we have to call them Greek delights.
Speaking of delight, it's lovely to see a modern country like Ireland can still have a law against blasphemy. In a hilarious move, Stephen Fry from A Fish Called Wanda was investigated for criticizing the gods. One must wonder how many other developed countries (unlike the islamic ones) still have protection for fictional characters enshrined in law. Perhaps the USA or Germany or Oz also ban defamation of helpless supernatural beings like Santa, Hedwig, Donald Duck and the Grinch. Incidentally, my latest Singalongamax earworm is 'Something tells me I'm into something good' by Hermans' Hermits.
Puto, ergo Sum
you only had one job failTuesday, and the torture continued with spelling and grammar tests. It's only the 11+, so there's no Also sprach Zarathustra or Veni vidi vici.
But I rarely concentrate on my spelling so much as I do on Minecraft for one simple reason. In this modern world of spellcheck and autocorrect, all I have to do is Cupertino warthog as cryogenics, and milf contractor Whelan collagen implant enantiomer Alaska topless for me.
hotel tycoon board game annoyingAnd after the tests we had so much free time I was able to play benchball and Lego for hours. Jof picked me up from school as a treat and I played her at "Hotel Tycoon" in the sun. I have a special talent, which is to babble inanely without respite even when being told to shut up, for your words are like farts in the wind that I cannot hear over my own far more important shouting.
And Jof has a special talent which is to land on all of my rentable properties and founder immediately in a Femaelstrom of bad luck. Lucky she has my constant vocal assault to keep her distracted.
gruesome baking intestines skeletonWednesday was a day of maths, with an arithmetic exam and also numerical reasoning. We discovered that our resident maths whizz still has trouble translating centimetres into metres and metres into kilometres, he's always wrong by a factor of 10. Sure it won't matter when he's a civil engineer or a spacecraft designer. I still haven't found out what part I have in the Year 6 play.
One of Jof's favourite viewing pleasures is the 'Take me to the Country' or 'Houses under the Hammer' genre, with lots of properties to look at and either criticize or yearn for. This is why she can now stipulate that our next house has to have a staircase up the middle, 3 reception rooms, a hidden servants' staircase at the back, and a kitchen island.
I decided that what I want (what I really really want) is a swimming pool. So I announced that if Jof dies, I will convert her bedroom into a pool.
I'm a SlumberJack and I'm zzzzzz
Today was the last exam of the SATs - Reasoning. Not so much the cut and thrust of learnèd debate on the floor of the House of Commons but bar charts, pie charts and associated mathematical trivia.
public payphone outside booth fail only had one jobI think I did quite well, let's just hope it doesn't come back as 12% after I said that. There are limits to the human mind - as has so often been shown in this blog - but I filled every unforgiving minute with Venn diagrams and bell curves and goddamn kids coming back from the shops with 3 junior hacksaw blades @ 14p each and Anusol cream @ 2 shillings and sixpence and how much change did little Alfie spend down at the amusement arcade before coming home and trying to fob off his mother with tales of the unexpected price rises.
Anyway, this isn't the end of term but certainly the end of the exams. So we had a party with popcorn (I don't like popcorn) and blackjack and hookers and herbal chocolate brownies for relaxation. And we got to watch a film!
'Storks' is about ungainly long-legged birds who migrate to Scandinavian countries and nest in chimneypots, but also deliver newborn infants to those villagers who have not yet learned about the birds and the bees. And delivery failed for one such youngling, which means a card through the door saying we'll try again tomorrow otherwise you have to come and collect your firstborn from our local distribution depot in Windy Bottom, only 75.3 miles from your location.
yodel crap parcel delivery company fail
This is exactly what happened to the new Gazebo tent for the Scouts. It does not matter if you specify on the order form that you won't be home until 4pm on that particular day, and even insert a line in the address saying so. Because the Stork is controlled by a computer that decides on the route the Yodel-Stork has to fly, and the automated Female Dork sorry Stork on the phone is only programmed to attempt redelivery the next working day between 0900 and 2100, which is fine if you are working from home, perhaps attached to an iron lung (working from lung?) or to collect it yourself, rather reducing the need for the Stork in the first place. Lucky this Stork Regional Processing Centre is just over the road from Bud's work, making him as happy as an agoraphobe in an iron lung.
INCIDENT SLOW DOWN
Today was one of those embarrassing in-between days like the Mayan Days of the Dead, when you've finished your exams but are technically still waiting for the weekend.
potting six pool balls in one shot winSo we could concentrate on our Year 6 play: at last, the roles were handed out and I am Mufasa. Again. Maybe he doesn't have the biggest part, but I am the King, as befits, perhaps I'll grow up to be a movie star with regal gravitas like Morgan Freeman who keeps playing god or the President.
mti broadway junior collection lion kingAnd I tried not to think about those ghastly old French lessons which are probably not actually finished and may come back to haunt me. I may not be a Francophobe, but I don't want to be a Francophone either.
I suppose the most alarming part of the day was when some unknown Year 3 micro-kid was doing some experimenting. As with all seats of learning, controlled experimentation with theory, reproducible results and peer review is a vital part of expanding the sum of all knowledge, creationists take note. So anyway, this kid was seeing how hard he could hit the little glass window on the red box fire alarm thingy with his pencil without actually setting it off. Well, he found out. We all found out the joy of an unplanned fire alarm with actual fire engines in the street outside and lots of angry teachers saying well it wasn't me, and has everybody got out alive. Child C got a week's suspension and the rest of us got a very shouty lecture.
And Bud lost his job again which makes Jof the only breadwinner in the house. It must be a very strange game you play if you hope to win bread, no wonder adults are so stressed all the time worrying about toast landing butter side up. Give me oblivious childhood any day.
Great Balls of ... Pasta?
I like Saturdays so got up really early at 0930. Jof was at work and sent a text home asking for breakfast to be delivered so while Bud did that, I spoke to Grandad about maths.
In acting we are learning 'One man, 2 Guv'nors' and now our group has Sydney, myself, 'Arry (not 'Atchet 'Arry) and the tall girl whose name I still can't remember so has to stick with her stage name of Gareth.
portsmouth harbour bus stationI play Francis, the two-timing butler, so I have to serve 2 unrelated masters as sole manservant, with hilarious consequences. We're only doing one scene for the showcase but it is the funny one, following our winning performance of Under Milk Wood at the last showcase. This random image is of the Hard Bus Terminus which has been completely renovated at a cost of insert cost here, and you can now go in the newly opened main building and ask for tickets or buy a tin mug.
The road surface is very new and smooth and will be fun when the frost returns. It all looks rather swish and all that remains is for the actual buses to find this ready-made international transport hub. After acting, I fed some more birds in the park and then met Sydney in cyberspace for some more Skype-Minecraft. We played 'Bed Wars' which is less erotic than it sounds and 'Happy Slappers' or similar in which you have to slap each other off a grid suspended in mid air, as you do. Meanwhile, Bud mended tents and Jof had a snooze on the sofa. I'd run out of time to select a film so Eurovision noxiously clouded the airwaves once more, with well-known European country 'Australia' showing off far too much hair and some truly disastrous entries from countries who should have stayed annexed, vassal states to some greater power such as Guernsey. For supper Jof made me 'Mac and Cheese Bites' which are macaroni pasta tubes rolled up and deep-fried. I tried one, and never again.
Devil Boy
create the world lego playing card groupUp last, once levels of dehydration became too much. Managed to find Sydney online and set up a Skype/Minecraft combo call for extensive gaming. That was when Bud loudly said hope you're not as naked as he is, before he knew I was on a 16-way group Skype call. This is bread and butter for future Psychiatrists. Anyway, I was wearing pants.
The latest replacement for Schools vouchers at the supermarket is "Create the World" Lego cards, much like Match Attax. Each pack contains a super-card and 3 normal cards and there are about 140 of each to collect, so I said I'd open 2 or 3 packs and save the rest for the Zoo school trip but within minutes I'd opened them all.
table football game in progressAfter an awful lot of nothingness (what are Sundays for?), the JBs invited me round for a Random Barbecue. This traditional event takes place in their back garden whenever sunshine abounds and we certainly had some today.
OK, so global warming has not fully reached our northern climes so the adults wore blankets while Robert and I played stupidity football which is where you joust on plastic motorbikes that would be small for a 6 year-old but can now be used as roller skates by us advanced beings. Later, I played Golf on the Wii and we all had a go at micro-Ping-Pong and Fussball and air hockey and they spotted my fatal flaw in that I am quite crap and a total cheat when pressed and we all had a really good time. May our association last forever.