Thursday, August 31, 2006

Miranda is Really for it Now

Mrs Trundle is not a pirate but she does have two things in common with the evil villain on the right. She has an eyepatch and she has a moustache. OK, her moustache is not a ginormous batlike thing but it is there and sort of wafts a bit when she moves her mouth alot (which is alot). Also her eyepatch is quite superior and has pretend diamonds on it. You may want to know how she came to have an eyepatch but at this moment you just need to know it had nothing much to do with me.

Miranda is really for it now. We are just waiting for the right moment. And this could be difficult because after the utter and complete disaster of the button pressing incident, Mr Chuckle and Mrs Trundle went into a huddle and Dexter and me are now under museum arrest (it is like house arrest but in a museum). Mrs Trundle is making it her total duty to make mine and Dexter's life a button free MISERY.
'Just look at the triangular window the astronauts looked through, Wilfred,' she says, pushing me and Dexter into the nearly real space capsule.
I make the mistake of not instantly looking at the window. I am too excited by the acres of sparkling silver foil.
'Look at it, then!' she says. Dexter goes to touch it. 'DON'T TOUCH IT!' she roars. 'Just mark it off on your worksheet, Wilfred and you Dexter! Now why was the capsule this shape?'
I move out to get a better look.
'Come back here!'
And it goes on and on like this so that one interesting thing after another is ticked off but not touched. It gets to the point when I don't know who I hate more, Mrs Trundle or Miranda and her smug bug club buddies. They are allowed to go wherever they like and touch whatever they want.
And then it is lunchtime and Mrs Trundle is forced to swivel her bulging eye (did I mention the eyepatch?) over other victims. We are force-marched down to a big space, near some toilets, where we cannot make any mess and everyone grabs a table and takes out what is left of their lunch.
And I spot our chance for revenge. Miranda has gone to the toilet with a swarm of girls. On the next table her pink fluffy backpack is open. Her precious lunchbox is there.
'I think she needs a few extras in it,' I say. I reach in and grab the little plastic box.
'Give it here,' says Dexter and he has a handful of earth from a ginormous potplant. 'Look at this,' he prods the dirt, ' there are ants here! big-uns!'
'Yeah,' I say, 'and they look hungry...tell me if she comes,' and I pull at the corner of the lunchbox.
It peels back a millimetre and gets stuck.
'Hurry up!' says Dexter.
I pull some more. The lid gives a little, I tug harder and it flies off and the box sort of jumps and 4 trillion creepy crawlies land on my face. Someone screams. I think it is me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It Goes Round and Round and Round...

Fascinating Invention No. 6 - The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland

Strictly speaking (which is how The Parents speak ALL the time) The Falkirk Wheel is actually a big, huge piece of engineering but then someone had to sit down and invent it. Or stand up. Or maybe they were on one of those whirly teacup fairground rides and thought it would be fun to make lots of people go round and round in a boat. It was probably therefore invented by someone my age and his mum or dad just snatched away the doodle-drawing, saying,
'Oh that's a terrible idea! Nobody would want to spin round and round in a BOAT! How childish! Ha-ha-ha!'

And all the while they are thinking how they can rub out this bit and add a line or two here and a nice picture there and BOOM! There you have them impressing the boss with their idea for 'the world's one and only rotating boat lift'.
Or something like that. Anyway it is extreme. How it works is, it turns like the sails of a windmill and lifts and lowers boats in the gondolas at either end from one level to another, joining two canals called the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal.

It is one up on the whirly teacup ride but it could go alot faster for my liking.

See, it is REALLY big and curvy with giant cogs!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I created a Slide Show! Check it out!

My Summer Holiday - Part 1, Scottish Stuff

THIS is the approach to Fingal's Cave on the Island of Staffa. As you can see a number of us wore yellow oilskins because there was more water flying into the boat than going under it. One man is being sick inside the boat. The other man is about to be sick outside the boat.

So, Scotland is excellent on the whole. It has a good lot of bridges and boatrides and caves and an altogether buzztastic boatlift called, The Falkirk Wheel (more of which later). On the down side it has way too many old churches and gardens you pay to go into (how mad is that) and bagpipes of course.
You might be excited to know that we stayed in youth hostels. I was definitely excited because this meant I got to sleep in a bunk bed and The Parents did too. Dad moaned about not sleeping properly and then moaned about someone pinching his Special K cereal from the communal kitchen and then moaned and groaned on the coachdrive across Mull (mind you he was sitting next to a baby-child who threw up at least three times into a see through plastic bag). The driver took 1 hour and twenty minutes to reach the port on the far side of the island. After the second lot of sick Dad asked for the windows to be opened but the driver refused because he said, 'it will rain and there are cattle about'. Were the cattle going to poke their heads in through the open windows and feed on us? That's what my dad asked but the driver said something back in a foreign language and even I could tell he was not being nice to his customers. By the time we got to Fionnport it was actually pouring with rain and the driver said 'told you so' to dad as he stepped out of the bus and into a cowpat.
The journey across to Staffa was like the best water ride at Alton Towers and then some more. We actually BOUNCED all the way. The captain told anyone who was not a good sailor to sit ouside. There were even some giant yellow capes called oilskins to put on, so it was just like being inside my own little room for me but Dad does not like getting his beard wet so he stayed in the fume filled cabin and missed all the bouncing fun. I leapt off at the tiny island wanting to look inside Fingal's Cave but had to wait for Mum to help Dad off the boat. He looked greyer than normal and refused to run or even get up for a good ten minutes. This was very frustrating as the other people on the boat raced ahead along the basalt cliffs to get in the cave before we did. It was worth the wait. The cave is extreme, formed fast from volcanic rock it is tall and thin with bashing waves echoing inside the cliffs and visitors having to cling to the rocky sides because there is no barrier between a the narrow slippery ledge and a long drop to a watery death. Cool.
Nobody fell off the edge and the trip to Iona was less bouncy and dad spent less time in the in the toilet and more time telling me what fun I was having. So back to normal.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, August 07, 2006

Holiday in Scotland

We are off to Scotland and then somewhere else for a holiday. We are coming back on 23rd August and I hope to report LIVE on an audioblog. Listen to this space.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Don't Press That Button!

Buttons are tempting things. Especially if they are big and red and say 'DO NOT PRESS EXCEPT IN EMERGENCIES'. I cannot imagine being one of those soldiers who guard nuclear buttons. I would just HAVE to press it.

Back to the trip. We have sorted out which alien we are and now Mrs Trundle is standing next to a very tall man who is nodding alot.
'I bet he's the astronaut!' I say, nudging Dexter. 'I wanted Buzz Aldrin of course but...'
'There are so many buttons to press!' says Dexter interrupting. He is making a little blue alien creature shoot back into his spaceship over and over again.
I am about to say I don't care when Mrs Trundle blows her whistle and the tall man sort of bounces and then tries to look as though he is not shocked at all. We all stand to attention.
'Class! This is Mr Chuckle...' (lots of sniggering) She glares and and death rays beam from her eyes. The sniggering stops. 'Thankyou. As I was saying, Mr Chuckle, one of the senior curators, will show us to the spaceflight exhibition and will be judging the rocket competiton.'
Not an astronaut then. We follow Mr Chuckle. He drones on about how much fun science is and how we are all scientists and he does not seem to notice the buzz as everyone talks about the type of rocket they are going to build and who they are going to build it with.
'We're not having her,' says Dexter, pointing at Miranda. She is bossing some bug club mates, clutching her plastic lunchbox and trying not to be with us. 'We should get Tom, he's got four packets of crisps for his lunch - he'll give us some.'
It is tempting. My lunchbox has a carrot, a wholemeal cheese sandwich and two apples. I could do with some crisps. But I wonder about Miranda with her own cool club and mostly bs in the quiz; maybe she's not such an alien after all, she could even be good at building rockets.
'She might be OK,' I say, 'a bit, anyway.'
'Bet she doesn't have crisps in that tiny lunchbox,' says Dexter.
Mr Chuckle moves to one side and there it is - Apollo 10. I stop, my mouth drops open, I put my hand out to steady myself. Someone crashes into me.
'You're in the way!' says Miranda, shoving me into the wall and the big square fire alarm panel.
I put up my arms to stop myself.
'Don't press that button!' I hear Mr Chuckle shout. 'Not that button!'
Too late. I feel the glass crack beneath my elbow. The alarm is deafening. Mrs Trundle's mouth is very wide and angry. Mr Chuckle is running and waving his arms. I decide then that I don't care if Miranda has a space module stuffed with crisps. It would not be enough.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What Kind of Alien Are You?

The Americans encounter loads and loads of aliens and get really good photos of them (see left) . In the UK we have seen a couple but maybe they are from a planet in a poor part of the galaxy and cannot afford such good spaceships. The Wilmslow spaceship (see below) was shaped like a dustbin lid and was a bit rubbish compared to the American one.
I have to talk to the only half-way friendly alien I know, Atyllah the Hen.

So we walk into the Science Museum as though we are glued together and...awe and wonder! You can almost smell the science in here. I turn to make Dexter have a sniff but he is busy pocketing the free leaflets. I look around at the others for signs of awe and wonder but they are all busy sharpening their pencils or swapping Yu-Gi-Oh cards. So, who apart from me is the only one with her mouth open, gawping? It's Miranda or maybe she's just spotted a very interesting fly on the ceiling.
First stop on our voyage through the Science Museum is, 'Alien Encounter'. Normally I would think, 'cool' but when it's written on a worksheet everybody thinks it must be rubbish. As it turns out we are wrong. In the, 'Alien Fiction' bit we see some really gruesome close ups of the actual Roswell alien autopsy. Miranda makes us look at ET.
'He's so sweet!' she says.
Then we look at alien creatures right here on earth and Dexter writes, "Miranda" on the worksheet list. But she does not take much notice as she is looking carefully at blow-up photos of evil looking bugs and saying,
'They're so sweet!'
The final part is the best. There is a quiz called, 'What Kind of Alien are You?' There are questions like -
You're thinking of visiting another planet. You choose your destination because:
a. It's a lovely colour
b. Its inhabitants are weak and poorly defended
c. Its culture, though inferior, is of some interest to your anthropologists
What do you call your spaceship?
a. Primrose
b. Destroyer of worlds
c. E=mc2

You get the idea. So Dexter and me end up with mostly bs. And Miranda, not girly a (what Dexter thought), not know-it-all c (what I thought) .
No, she is a b. Just like me.