Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Shouting Handbag

It is a true fact that, The Parents are meandering their weary way into the 21st century. I have actual proof of this. I will explain. Because of my baby brother George, I am now used to being shouted at. I was shouted at over the fantastic numbers of stick insects being born in George's bedroom. I was shouted at because I blunted the bread knife when I used it for whittling and I was shouted at completely by accident when Dad tripped over me doing jumping training on the stairs. Times are tense in this house. So, you can see I am quite used to being shouted at when The Handbag happened.

I am in the kitchen making some interesting biscuits. I have an Apollo 11 biscuit cutter, some left over vegetables for healthiness, some stuff from the fridge and half a bag of flour. I whizz them all up in the new machine bought for squishing up George's food into something that looks like sick (he likes it). It is when I am giving some of the interesting mixture to Serena the cat for testing that I hear the shouting. It is tiny shouting, like a pixie trapped in a hole or what a stick insect might sound like if it got angry. I look around. Mum's hemp and bamboo handbag is wedged inside the bread bin. At least it is not in the fridge like last week. Anyway, I can hear a voice shouting from the inside of the handbag. I listen.
"Hello! Hello!" the voice is saying. For a mad moment I wonder if Mum has shrunk to an incredibly small size and got stuck inside her own handbag. Or more likely she has captured someone very, very little and maybe even now is demanding a ransom for them. Grim. I decide to help.
'Who are you?' I shout at the handbag. 'Tell me what you want.'
'Answer me!' squeaks the tiny person inside the handbag.
'I'm going to free you,' I say, 'just keep quiet!'
I take the handbag and keeping an eye out for snapping traps, I rootle around its mysterious innards. And there it is.
I pick it up. Mum has got a mobile phone. I never thought of that. I am open-mouthed as I listen to it weebling at me in a familiar sort of way. I put it to my ear.
'Is that you, Grandpa Jack?' I ask.
'Who else would it be!' yells Grandpa Jack. 'Tell your mother to keep her phone under control will you now? She keeps phoning me every two seconds and then giving me the silent treatment!'
'I think she just forgot to lock the phone, Grandpa,' I explain.
'Lock the phone! Lock the phone! Give me the strength of ten men! Does she not trust you, my lad? That is typical...'
And he is off on a rant about the evils of locking telephones and all related topics. I hold the phone away from my ear and boggle at its meaning.

Here is Mum's pre-George idea of a mobile phone

Here is Mum's actual mobile phone.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Should Be An Astronaut Before Too Long

It turns out that the European Space Agency need more astronauts. I think I will have a go because frankly, George is starting to get on my nerves. You do not need any actual space experience (phew) but you do need:
  • to be ready for anything (goes without saying)
  • you must like surprises (absolutely anytime)
  • be healthy (no chance of anything else with Mum)
  • you must like science (I'm in, except for, 'the body' because that is quite boring)
The bad thing is you also have to be ancient so I think I will use my Dad's name and see how it goes.

There is one good thing about having George around. To make me feel better about having to put up an annoying baby in the house, The Parents have been round to my friend, Miranda. Her Dad is a show-off wild insect explorer and she has got masses of stick insects which are my favourite pet. Miranda gave The Parents some of the tiny baby ones (about 12 - it is tricky to count them). I say, any number of stick insects are alot less bother than one baby brother but I might just be wrong on this because it turns out they can be quite a lot of bother in actual fact.

Sometime back, my best friend Dexter was trying to help me sort out stick insect poo from stick insect eggs and this is very interesting but quite tricky. We did this delicate work in the spare room but then it went a bit wrong and Dexter had to vacuum up everything - poo and eggs. That was about 6 months ago. The next thing is this:

Mum and George are upstairs in his bedroom (the old spare room), de-smelling him (again). I am minding my own business whittling an arrow out of some old wood, when I hear George start yelling (again) and Mum scream. I drop the breadknife and Dad throws down his copy of 'Smile! You're a Dentist!'
He runs up the stairs, shouting
, 'For goodness' sake - what now!?' Like he is the one always being disturbed.
Then Dad starts screaming.
Then they both stop screaming to bellow, 'WILFRED!'
It is then that the awful feeling comes upon me. A feeling that whatever is happening in the ex-spare bedroom might, not altogether not be my fault. Crazy but true. My brain whirrs at superhuman speed. I put the spare room, Dexter's sloppy vacuuming and a six month incubation period for stick insect eggs all together in a fantastic micro milli-second. Based on the available evidence, I come to a conclusion and it is not pretty. On the plus side, I have dealt with the surprise of The Parents finding hoardes of ravenous stick insects in the baby's bedroom in a scientific way and therefore I should be an astronaut before too long.
Just as well. I go to face my doom.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Playing Tag with a Nearby Book

Anita has tagged me. I have to find a nearby book. The book I have found is in the downstairs loo. It is one of Dad's favourites. He is a big fan of talking about the weather and so takes any opportunity to read about it so that he can pretend to have a vast knowledge. The book is, The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and it is an entire book about clouds. Dad has even joined the sad cloudspotter's society and this week was blah-blahing about Stratocumulus in a vastly knowledgeable sort of way. Turns out he is half way through Chapter 4 which is all about those particular clouds. Hmm. Anita has asked me to pick three sentences from page 123. I do not know why.

"Perhaps they'll see, 'a centaur, or a leopard, or a wolf, or a bull', like the Socrates character in Aristophanes play, Clouds. Perhaps they'll divine, 'giants' countenances...great mountains and rocks...after them some monster pulling and dragging other clouds', like Lucretius, the Roman poet, in his philosophical epic De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). The Greeks and the Romans appear to have been keen enthusiasts of this pastime."
The picture shows some Greeks or Romans probably - "Do not bother me now - I am having a think" is most likely what they are saying to one another and actually this is exactly what Dad says when you knock on the loo door.

I have no idea what all that is about but just copying it out has made my brain ache. I quite like being in the weather and I am a big fan of Barometer World, where we went on holiday but I do not like books where I have to have a dictionary and an encyclopaedia in the same room.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

He Is Called George

My baby brother is now five months and one week old which is old enough as far as I am concerned. The quite bad thing is that I am jealous of his name. He is called George. This is clearly a terrible name to lumber anyone with but it is three times better than Alan and three million times better than Wilfred.
One of George's problems (apart from being called George) is that he looks like a potato. You could feel sorry for his lumpy head with its piggy eyes but then you look closer and realise that he is a Sontaran and in actual fact one of Dr Who's greatest enemies and very very evil. All you have to do is stick a baby-gro on a Sontaran and you have George, the baby Sontaran.

George likes to sleep for a few minutes before waking up and shouting. George likes to have clean nappies for a few minutes before making them smell very bad. George likes to sit quietly on your lap for a few minutes before throwing up on your best party trousers. Mum and Dad tell me that I was like him once, all shouty and smelly and nauseating.
But I know this is a lie - they must be thinking of Grandpa Jack.