Sunday, July 30, 2006

Intermission - Cool Dads Don't Wear Socks with Sandals

A little break in the story to talk about something that happened today.
There is a competition in the newspaper my parents read. 'The Daily Dinosaur' is trying to find the nation's coolest Dad. In the kitchen, The Parents have left the paper open at the competition page. I glance at the rules while I have breakfast.

-draw a picture/take a photograph of your own dad (someone else's dad might be better)
-tell us in 50 words or less why you think your dad is cool

Normally I would not look at this impossible job twice BUT the prize is 'A Trip to Cape Canaverel!!!!!!!!!!!!' oh and a car.
I go to the loo and think. There is a copy of the paper in there. I trundle upstairs to my bedroom and find a paper lying against the door. Serena the cat runs past me yowling. I have to wrestle a newspaper out of her collar. I think the parents want me to enter the competition.

So I give it some thought. There is the HUGE difficulty of showing what my dad looks like because this really is going to put the judges off. He is a cross between Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the wino who lolls about on the bench near the post office. This is quite a good photo of him. It was taken as he was about to leave the house to go to a conference of dentists in Norway. Norway is very cool unlike Dad.

Uncool things about Dad
-he wears socks with sandals (cool dads never wear socks with sandals)

-he wears a vest all year round
-he carries a toothbrush in his pocket
-he argues with the TV
-he takes me to football practise (wait a mo, that's quite cool)
-he doesn't care what other people think about his shorts (also quite cool)
-he cycles to work with the spiderman helmet I bought him and THAT is cool
-he winks at me if I don't eat mum's vegetable medley - cool
-he tells cool funny jokes e.g. How did the rocket lose its job? It was fired! What do scientists use to freshen their breath? Experi-mints!

Maybe I will enter that competition.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wanttogoto Places No. 1 - The Smithsonian Institution

Some time ago Science Fan told me about the Smithsonian Institution in Washington in the USA. I have never been but it is on my list of wanttogoto places. At the Smithsonian Institution there is a whole exhibition on Apollo 11 . In 1969 Buzz Aldrin went up to the moon though Neil Armstrong sort of stole the show and Michael Collins was there as well but he didn't get out much. Their mission was to get to the moon and get back again. While they were there they did loads of interesting experiments and collected 47 pounds of moon stuff. They were not looking for aliens as the moon is dead. Which is a shame.
And they even had time to jump about on the moon for a bit. Well two of them did. It makes me wonder, if you are going to go to all the trouble of training to become an astronaut, you would actually want to get out there and have a little walk about. So once the 'Eagle' had landed in the Sea of Tranquility, I wonder if there was a big fight about who was going out and who was going first.
If there was a big fight then Neil Armstrong must have won and he got to say, 'That's one small step for Neil Armstrong (big breath); one giant leap for the rest of you (cackle)'.
But of course NASA changed it to make it sound as though he got on with everyone and was thinking about the whole world and not just about being the first person to step on the moon.
Anyway what they found out was that they could really fly to the moon and get back again without dying. What I have found out is that at the Science Museum we are going to meet a REAL astronaut; a man who has been into actual space in a spacesuit. Buzztastic.

No aliens though.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

School Party

School and party are two words which don't go together. The photo on the left shows just how much fun a party at our school can be. However some of the best party fun I've had was at Dexter's house when we were actually allowed to use long dangerous sticks to hit a fairy. It was a pinata fairy and it was his sister, Trixie's party and the party bags had little hairclips in them BUT hitting the fairy was quite a thing.

For the rest of the journey up to London Miranda read a book twice as big as her head. I wasn't going to read the title but since half the book was on my side, I couldn't help notice it:
'Big Bugs are Best!'
Of course they are. Especially when they are in a book written by your own dad which is really showing off. Dexter kept trying his best to contact me from his seat in the middle of the coach. But he is actually useless at throwing and the little balls of paper kept ending up on the back of the driver's head, causing him to swerve violently. This made Mrs Trundle have to stop the coach and be sick. There were cries of 'cheat!' and no fair!' from those of us who got the time of Mrs Trundle's sickness wrong. In the end I felt sorry for her. She didn't even have the energy to stand up and bellow.
So we arrive outside the Science Museum and as soon as the coach jolts to a stop, Mrs Trundle makes a miraculous recovery. I race to join Dexter and Tom and his mum. We stand in a big group, parent helpers and us lot waiting for orders.
'Stay with your partners please children! And stick to your grown-ups!' Immediately Dexter and me and Tom pretend to stick their heads to Tom's Mum's arms. She laughs and then stops when Mrs Trundle says, 'that is not funny!'
All the grown-ups give one another a look. Mrs Trundle holds up her clipboard.
'Now has everyone got their clipboards and worksheets?'
We all wave our clipboards up and down like Mrs Trundle is too hot and we are trying to cool her down.
'Alright, alright,' she says. 'Follow me - Wilfred! Dexter and Miranda! You're with me! Come along!'
We all slouch over to her and I'm sure I see a parent saluting.
'But I want to go with my friends, Miss,' whines Miranda.
'I need someone sensible, Miranda. To keep an eye on these two.'
Looks like she hasn't forgotten the last school trip then.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Going to the Most Interesting Place on Earth

I can reveal the big reason why Mrs Trundle is miserable - she gets travel sick. She's a teacher and she gets travel sick. I ask you. It's not as though we're going to travel to the unknown savage bits of the Earth (which would be quite fun) like Livingstone. And we're not going to make a long journey by boat or train or even bicycle. Part of the fun is trying to decide when she will be sick - she thinks we're paying attention, for a change.

I think you'll agree that I am going to the most interesting place on Earth - THE SCIENCE MUSEUM!!!! My friend, Dexter thinks so too and we are both a bit excited. But although he's my best friend and we're on the same coach, we're not allowed to sit together. I have been put next to the new girl, Miranda and she is miserable because she is separated from, 'The Bug Club' gang. I am also just behind our class teacher, Mrs Trundle and she is also miserable but grown up which is worse. Mrs Trundle cannot really believe in science or she would not have stopped Dexter and me experimenting to see which bits of Dexter's lunch would roll right to the front of the coach. Dexter only eats round things. Anyway, finally everybody is in their seats and the coach sets off. As soon as it does everybody reaches for their pack-up because you need to eat on a long journey.
'What have you got in your pack-up?' I ask Miranda.
'Nothing!' she says and grabs her very tiny plastic container, then hugs it and turns to the window. I can see her reflection as she squashes her face against the glass. I want her to turn round so I can see what she has in her box.
'If you push your nose harder against the glass,' I say, hoping to grab her attention, 'you'll look like my godmother's dog, it's called a pug.'
Miranda immediately shrunk her head back into her neck like a frightened tortoise. 'Oh shut up!' she shouts. I shrug. I don't understand what the matter is but then I never do according toMrs Trundle. I think they just don't understand me.

This is a picture of our coach. Our old headteacher was a coach enthusiast and he gave this one to the school when he retired. It was made in 1948 and Mrs Trundle said thankyou but I think she wanted something that didn't bounce about quite so much.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Buzz Newsflash!

It is my absolute dream to walk on the moon, in spacesuit like Buzz or in space like Buzz or work on a lunar module, like Buzz. Maybe I will start calling myself, Buzz.

Buzz Aldrin was in the UK! He went to a big party at Buckingham Palace, run by Prince Philip.This was all to do with him being so interested in keeping people fit. Course you have to be really fit to be an astronaut. It's important to start early, so I have a training list-

-play football every Wednesday after school with Dexter
-run around at school-ALOT
-jumping from the fourth step of the stairs every morning (next week it's the fifth)
-using the roundabout in the community playground to pretend zero gravity

I suppose I could include the yoga class Mum makes me go to but we don't do much except for breathing and crossing our legs . Anyway I begged The Parents to go up to London with me so I oculd meet him. But they would not do it. Granpa Jack came round and said that he'd met Buzz Aldrin. I said, "I know that but I haven't!"
He said if he didn't have an urgent appointment he would have taken me and that he would try and speak to Buzz on the phone. Hmm.
I am going on the school trip to the Science Museum soon. That's one good thing I won't miss but I don't think Buzz will hang around waiting for me to go to London.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Bug Club!

I can't believe that Miranda already has a club. With members. Turns out her Dad is an entymologist which is a big way of saying bug hunter and he's always flying off to hot jungles to find the biggest bugs in the world. What a show off.

So, there's a new girl and she is called, Miranda. She came to the school at Easter and she is a bit of a girl. For example, she has an especially pink pack-up and a red spotty sparkly headband which lights up in the dark. I don't know about rugby yet. I do know that if a walrus could speak, it would sound like Miranda.
We are in the playground at playtime and she is looking at the ground.
'Probably looking for a hairclip,' says Dexter.
'Yeah, or a fairy,' I say.
So we go up to her and actually ask her what she is doing. She pushes her glasses up her nose and bellows, 'I'm looking for a red ant, I saw three at lunchtime and I believe there is a nest nearby.'
We take two steps back because her voice is so loud and she sounds as though she might bite something.
'You're looking for ants!?' says Dexter. 'But you're a girl!'
'What do you know?' she shouts 'My Bug Club is ALL girls!'
'What Bug Club?' I ask and I look around.
And that's when I notice there are quite alot of girls crawling over the grass holding onto Tesco bags.
'Caterpillars,' she bellows, 'lots of them and grasshoppers, if we're lucky.'
I am unbelieveably green with jealousy. A Bug Club! Dexter's mouth is opening and closing but nothing is coming out of it.
'Well, we've got a club!' I say, trying really hard to think one up, 'it's a really good one, isn't it Dexter-for boys!'
'Let's go,' says Dexter, 'Alex Stevens has got a new football.' And he runs off.
Miranda purses her lips and sneers at me. 'You don't have a club!'
'I do!'
The whistle goes for the end of break.
'Boys!' she says and pulls her cardigan straight. 'I prefer insects.'

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Sparkly Pink Rugby Player

Below is an example of something that is pink AND sparkly. Mum says, the one on the right is OK because it is old but that just makes it even more boring for me. I have never seen a sparkly pink rugby player but I think that would be VERY funny and might help a lot of young baby-girls take up rugby. Somebody should think about that.

When I was baby-child, I believed that all girls liked pink, books about fairies and rugby matches. I was mostly right. Pink is still quite big at my school; pink pack-ups, pink school bags, pink headbands but maybe girls grow out of pink. I don't know if mum was ever a girl-she says she never liked pink. She wears a lot of stripey trousers which are too big for her and T-shirts which say stuff like, 'Would you like it?' and it shows loads of chickens with their feet rotted off or 'Poor Cow' with a cow mooing out of someone's shoes or my favourite-a diagram of a car engine and an exploding earth beneath the words, 'driven to destruction'- exciting stuff. She says I can wear pink if I want to but Dad says 'over my dead body'. I did find some books about fairies in an old box when I was on a rummage. Mum says they are antique books and books about fairies nowadays are all commercial and sparkly and pink- I don't think she's read Artemis Fowl. The rugby thing comes from my godmother. She was a girl once and she says that rugby should be played by all girls. She takes me to rugby matches and shouts the rules at me. She jumps up and down (ALOT) and buys me forbidden fizzy drinks and packets of crisps to keep us going until the next fizzy drink and the celebration bag of sweets. She's great.
Anyway, the thing about girls is that they are a bit difficult. You think you understand them-pink, fairies, rugby- and then one turns around and does something different that makes her less of a girl and more of a friend. Tricky.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's That Time of Year

The electric lightbulb versus the hoop. Hmmm, no contest.

It's that time of year. The time of year for, 'THE SCHOOL TRIP'. I'll tell you now about the one we've already been on-to Mablethorpe-on-Sea, which isn't as much fun as it sounds.
Firstly there was no sea, not on that day anyway. Not unless you count looking at it using a pair of high-powered binoculars.
Secondly we had learning objects and these were:

-to know about different environments
-to know how to use a map (including use of a key)
-to know about EVERYTHING

And learning objects ALWAYS mean worksheets. But what was even worse was the actual place we went to - Mablethorpe Hall. This place was run by teachers as well-probably. Anyway, they kept shouting and telling us not to touch things. All the old buildings were bursting with things you weren't allowed to touch and worksheets and really helpful questions meant to make you think. After we'd escaped from the old buildings, THEN, then we had to dress up as Victorian children. I don't know why because although the Victorians were fantastic at inventing stuff, they were rubbish at childhood. Only the rich children had toys and then they had things like, the hoop. How could they have invented the electric light and the hoop at the same time? The Victorian schoolroom was the final awful thing, a school within a school, teaching stuff we'd learnt 4 million years ago. Even, my teacher, Mrs Trundle looked bored and she's practically Victorian.

I'll tell you the story of the best school trip in the world next time.