Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On the Whole I Think That Went Rather Well

There may be an infinite number of parallel universes, and we just happen to live in one of them. These other universes contain space, time and some of them may even contain me, in a slightly different form. What is fantastic is that these parallel universes may exist less than one millimetre away from us, milling about like loads of bubbles.
In the parallel universe where The Parents live, stick insects do not exist and every family eats organic vegetables and
bedrooms are always a joy to walk into. Children wash everyday, have nice tidy converstaions with their chums and do homework, just for fun; the trouble with bubbles is the high danger of popping.

Right, so we come to the ruction I was talking about. When The Parents find out about the cress seeds actually being stick insect babies they are VERY DISAPPOINTED. This is because:
a. they were ultra-keen to help me with some actual homework and now there is none
b. they are not ultra-keen on stick insects and now there are some
c. I lied to them
Out of all of these disappointing things, c is the worst, the absolute horror and the total work of the devil. It makes them put on their Very Droopy faces and loll about over mugs of tea in the kitchen, wondering where they have gone wrong with me. I try and make them feel better by pointing out that I never lied to them, I just did not tell them the whole truth. This only makes them sigh more.
'We must make sure this doesn't happen again,' says Dad.
'No, it definitely will not,' I assure them, 'Miranda is not giving me anymore stick insects, I know that.'
'Your father means - no more lying , Wilfred.'
I do not think I can agree to this, since that could be another big fat lie.
I try distraction. 'Can I keep them, then?'
Mum puts her head in her hands. 'Never mind that now, we have something important to tell you, Wilfred.'
What - more important than stick insects? More important than being Very Disappointed with me?
'I can keep them?' I venture.
Dad starts puffing up like a gorilla about to attack. 'Yes! You can keep the stick insects as long as they stay in your room and inside a cage...COME BACK!'
I am half way out of the room, ready to find a cosy spot for the tiny babies. 'Oh, yes,' I remember, 'thankyou. Bye.' I run.
It is at this point that I think I went to some parallel universe where ancient disappointed people shout at you about babies. Very weird. Anyway, I ignore this impossible happening and take my little sticky children up to my bedroom.
On the whole I think that went rather well.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Homework is something that should be avoided. It is tedious and makes me feel rather peculiar. The Parents are very keen on homework (they are welcome to it) and would like me to be like an eager bookworm, racing home to get my hands on even more work and really enjoy it. They are mad. I say, how come teachers get paid to do work and we do not?

After tea at Miranda's house (double chips, meatballs and peas) I take my precious stick insect babies back home. As instructed by Miranda, the stick queen, I have not opened the lid of the shoebox; this is to make sure they do not leap out in a frenzy and attack. I have to say, I had not quite realised how vicious they could be until Miranda informed me of the unfortunate cat-mauling incident; I will have to keep my cat, Serena, out of their way. In front of the house, I check for curtain twitching from Mrs Next-Door. Nothing. She must be busy with her new dog. He is minute, noisy and she carries around under her arm. He is an armpit yap-dog and his name is Smoochy - urgh and shudder. The Parents are in. I know this because I can hear them arguing with Tony Blair in the kitchen (on the radio). So, this is a lucky break because it means I can sneak up the stairs...
'Wilfred, is that you?!' shouts Dad. 'Come and see my new tooth!'
He sounds a bit thrilled and this could mean an excting addition to his Big Teeth collection but I resist.
'Got some homework!' I yell.
Quick as a blink, Mum's head pops round the door. Too late, I realise my fatal error of judgement.
'Super!' she says. 'Do you want some help?'
'No, it's fine...'
Dad's head appears on top of hers. 'Homework eh? Come on, let's see it! Is that it?'
He points to my shoebox and they almost fall over each other trying to reach me. It is actually quite horrible, they are like some form of homework zombie types, feeding on the horror that is homework. Their clutching hands reach me and grasp...the shoebox!!!
'Not that!' I say, reaching for it. 'Don't open that!'
I can see the disgruntled sticks flying for them, stamping their little sticky feet in their hair and clothes; biting them...too late.
'Oh lovely, 'says Mum, 'you're growing cress!'
'What?' I ask and my mouth drops open as I stare at the matchbox wedged inside the shoebox.
'Look, you've already got the seeds on some cotton wool - we just add water and watch it grow!'
Tiny little dark brown dots lie in the box - these are eggs not babies! Some dribble plops out of my mouth.
'We'll water them,' says Dad and they dash back to the kitchen with the stick insect eggs.
I can almost hear Miranda laughing her fluffy pink socks off at her little joke. Oh ha. I think about Miranda and pitcure her covered in stick insects and all of them biting her very hard indeed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fascinating Invention No. 8 - The Bee Plane

with a length under 9.5 ft (2.9 m) and a wingspan of just 6.5 ft (2 m) the Guinness Book of World Records considered the Bumble Bee to be the smallest plane in the world following its first successful flight on 28 January 1984 but STOP PRESS that is nothing. Just read what the excited Professor Gursal, a mechanical engineer at the University of Bath, has just said-

"Our work will make the goal of tiny aircraft, perhaps eventually the size of bees, a step closer."

Everyone would like a plane the size of a bee, that is what he is saying and I can absolutely see
why. I think this is completely brilliant and I really really want one of these little planes. Apparantly the big important difference which makes it all possible is, NOT having fixed wings, like on ordinary aeroplanes. The smaller you go, the better it is to copy nature and make the wings flap up and down; so the team studied insects' wings as part of a programme to develop tidgy aircraft with cameras and sensors built in.
What can you do with these teeny tiny aircraft? You have to ask???

-spyplane. It could whizz into secret meetings and find stuff out although the danger of swatting is high

-scout. I am not talking about Baden-Powell's boy scouts because he did not send his scouts ahead into battles to find out military information for the army commanders. That sort of scout would be killed on a regular basis, unlike the boy scouts, hopefully. Actually Baden-Powell was a scout in the Boer war as well as being chief scout of the world and he survived until he was 90.
-fire and rescue operations. Apart from Hollywood film stars or mad delinquents, if you ask for volunteers to go into places which a
re on fire or falling down, not many hands will go up. The bee plane would go in, no problem.
-transport for really tiny insects; air ambulance for injured or elderly insects, luxury aircraft for rich insects or just plain transport for lazy insects.
Beeline - let the plane take the strain.

It makes me ponder, that maybe stick insects could be adapted to make excellent spies. Not only can they climb like James Bond but they would be invisible; attach a motor to them and they would be perfect. Hmmm...