my life

Aquasplash

When I was a kid sometimes my parents would take us to Aquasplash, an indoor water park in Hemel Hempstead. (Britain has very few outdoor water parks for obvious reasons.) Aquasplash was a disgusting unhygienic poorly put together deathtrap of a place, by which I mean it was the best thing EVER.

Here’s one of the few pics of the pool which seem to exist. Imagine it packed full with hundreds of screaming kids, and you’ve about got the flavour of it.

It was all inside this building, the Jarman Park Leisure World. I remember there was a cinema next to it. I have this really clear memory of standing in the queue to get into Aquasplash, and on one side of me there was the window which showed you what was going on in the pool, and on the other side there was the Lord of the Rings Argonath poster all lit up to entice you into the movie. That little scene could sum up the whole of 2001 for me really.

I was OBSESSED with this place. I think I have a whole bunch of journal entries from my childhood where I just talked about how awesome Aquasplash was. It was up there with Disneyworld for me. Braving the Space Bowl (the green water slide you can see up there, it deposited you into a sort of massive bowl) was legit one of the proudest moments of my childhood.

Man, not a single photo of the Space Bowl in its prime was ever taken I guess. You can just about make it out in this picture I found, it’s the big green, well, bowly thing.

See where all those people are sitting? Those are seats from the Burger King which was on the side of the water park! You could climb out of the pool overstimulated and drenched and HAVE A BURGER!

I loved that so much as well, even though my parents wouldn’t allow me back in the pool for half an hour after I’d eaten in case I died.

Here’s what it looked like at the very top, complete with netting that wouldn’t stop a rubber beach ball falling down, let alone a child. “The Abyss” is about right. Also I can’t remember which ride “The Abyss” was, but one of the three rides at the top was literally never open/always broken, maybe it was that one.

LOOK! Look how grimy yet wonderful it all is!

Anyway today I found these old photos on my hard drive. I didn’t take them (didn’t take any of the pics in this post) and even though I saved the link I got them from, it’s a dead link now alas. It’s pics of the place being demolished back in 2014ish.

I was FUCKING DEVASTATED. I still am a little bit, in a way, someone could have bought the pool and (hopefully) sorted it out a bit. Made a new generation of kids deliriously happy and maybe at times actually delirious! But it never happened…

This picture is the worst for me because I used to stand in that exact spot, waiting to get a rubber ring and experience a five-second slide across the pool. It was always freezing cos the emergency exit was right next to it.

This is the end point of the rapids ride, I think. That one was my favourite.

And this I believe is the earthly remains of both the Space Bowl (I think) and another ride I don’t remember the name of, but do remember you were guaranteed a massive wedgie if you rode it.

Fun fact, if you type Aquasplash’s name into Google, in the UK at least, the first result it suggests is ‘Aquasplash child death.” (NO no-one actually died there.) God I miss it.

Potter stuff

It’s funny, but most of the memories I have of Harry Potter are almost nothing to do with the actual books and everything to do with the people I was sharing them with.

Like when I was a kid, still in school, I would read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to my younger siblings. My favourite bit was the Sirius-Pettigrew confrontation at the end. I used to LOVE read-screaming the lines, “THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED! DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS!” It was so dramatic and thrilling. But that was my voice, not JK Rowling’s-

When the last Harry Potter book came out I went to the midnight opening of the Milton Keynes Waterstones with a friend. First we saw Hairspray (which is a really good movie) and then we went next door to the shopping center. There were excited kids running around everywhere, it was like a little party. I got a t-shirt. I think I still have it, but I don’t wear it-

When I was a fully grown adult me and the same friend went to London for the day and we stopped at King’s Cross station. They had a Harry Potter tourist area there, they probably still have it. (I’m not going back.) We got in line and waited for ages and got our photo taken at the magic wall. My friend didn’t even like Harry Potter! But she was still willing to do all that.

So those are the sort of things I think about now.

BECAUSE I’M ONE OF THE IDIOTS WHO LIVES IN IT! part 5

Where were we? Ah yeah, at the point where the food can be harvested and eaten! So we’ve got carrots…

They didn’t look like much at first, but they kept coming…

I’ve eaten some of them, and they’re perfectly fine! As are the potatoes!

Yep, MORE potatoes! These are the ones from the flowerbed! And there’s much more than came from the pot! Good eh?

Here they are all washed. Some of them are a bit mutanty (one of them appears to be two potatoes in one!) but I’m sure they’ll taste nice.

Not sure if I can harvest anything else before the winter, but I have been wondering what to do with this mint plant.

Any ideas?

The discovery of Richard III from someone who was sort of in the vicinity

So there’s going to be a movie about the finding of Richard III, starring Steve Coogan. I’m curious as to how this will go, not least because it was actually a woman called Philippa Langley who lead the project, and her story is fascinating but the biggest name attached to the film is playing… her husband…?

But I thought with that news fresh in everyone’s minds I could share a few photos/details of what it was like to be in Leicester when all that was going on!

*
A couple of days after the news that Richard III’s bones had been found in the car park, I went to check it out! There wasn’t much going on though. I guess because the actual bones had been taken away already?

That was in 2012. Flash forward a year and his reconstructed skull (not the real one) was in the Leicester Guildhall along with a bunch of other Richard III stuff.

It’s all been relocated to the Richard III museum now I think.

Then in 2015 there was the actual reburial ceremony…

I still have that pamphlet. At the uni it was absolutely packed, it’s lucky I was able to see anything at all. Oooh look I took a video as well!

So me/the crowds followed the coffin in the car back to the town center….

…and then I had to leave and go to work. But you get the idea!

In the days after that every business in Leicester was using Richard III to advertise their services. It was great for tourism.

Someone also put flowers on Richard’s statue. (This used to be in the park opposite my halls of residence, I think it was moved to its current spot before the reburial.)

And Richard III’s tomb now chills in Leicester Cathedral. You can drop in and see it anytime!

(Well, maybe not now, but still.)

Earthquake hits towns in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire — BBC News – Home

The British Geological Survey says a 3.3 magnitude quake hits the Leighton Buzzard area.

Earthquake hits towns in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire — BBC News – Home

There was a frickin’ EARTHQUAKE in my home town this morning! (someone I know is actually quoted in that article.) No reports of any damage but my brother said everyone piled out into the street to see what the hell had happened.

As for me, a car alarm started going off at around that time in Leicester, waking me up… connected maybe… or not…

Vintage Disneyworld ’99: Esmeralda

Esmeralda was always my favourite of the Disney women. She wasn’t a princess but I didn’t care. (This was before Disney really started pushing the ‘princess’ thing anyway.) She doesn’t appear in the Disneyland parks anymore ever from what I can tell. Disney just kinda quietly ignores their version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, probably because… well… if you’ve seen it you’ll know.

But then I found this old Disney autograph book in a drawer and in it was-

This was kinda interesting to me even though I could not remember meeting either of them AT ALL. (I was still a pretty young kid after all.) And also there was no date on the autograph book because children don’t think to date things! So those autographs could’ve been either from 1996 (when HOND actually came out) or 1999. But I have SO FEW MEMORIES of going to Disneyworld in 1996! That’s what the photos are for, to remind me, but honestly I kinda look at them and a lot of the time there isn’t any memory attached.

But a week or two ago I found this tiny little keyring photo album thingy, all the way from the late 90s. You could print out tiny little versions of photos (or get your parents to do so) and store them in a photo album so small you could carry it around with you on your bag or keys. Yeah… that’s what we all did before phones.

So I flipped through the teeny keyring album a couple of times. It was all pictures from our trip in 1999, which I do remember a bit better. And after looking more closely suddenly I realised there was one photo hidden behind another. I pulled it out and…

There was an Esmeralda in Disneyworld in 1999! I don’t know if she was the one who gave me the autograph or if that was a different ’96 Esmeralda, but hey she hung on for a few years in the park after Hunchback of Notre Dame came out and before Disney got cold feet about the contents of the film!

Thank you past me for hiding that photo away where I’d probably have never found it, ya dick.

A FULLY ILLUSTRATED story I wrote when I was nine!

I found this in a bunch of stuff and it’s quite something. Wanna see?

All spelling mistakes left intact and also I can’t help interjecting here and there.

Storys
My 1st story

Once upon a time there lived a mother who was always in a very bad mood and a girl who would have been very lovey but her mother didn’t love her at all. So the girl had no clothes and her mother only let her have a small biut of bread every day. She hated her so much that she let her go full-time danceing. She paid for it too.

[…….wait what]

One night the girl came home and flung herself on her mother ‘Mother’ she said ‘I was getting changed out of my danceing shoes and I saw this man. He said I looked lovey in my danceing dress.’ The mother was

very worried. She didn’t want her to love anyone. So she turned the girl out of the house. ‘And never return’ she said. ‘Off you go’ So the girl, whose name was Rose, had to go.

[Rose was one of my Barbies, I’m def writing about my Barbies here. Rose was a ballerina barbie, I remember that. I don’t think she was exactly this one but something very similar, with feet you could position into ballet moves.]

She ran out into the night. By the time she was a mile from home she bumped into something that caught hold of her. ‘Let me go’ cryed Rose. ‘Its me’ said someone. It was the man she had met at danceing. ‘Follow me’ he said and he took her to a big car. He went inside and pressed a button. The car turned into a house. They went into it. It had a four poster bed and some more spare beds. ‘Right’ said the man whose name was Ken. ‘Here is a dress’

[I also had a Ken doll]

‘Oh thank you’ said Rose and she put it on. Rose’s mother had had some more children. One was called Pale face and she was very nasty to people who were kind. The next was called Cupcake and she was a nice girl.

[And this is what Cupcake was! She wasn’t mine though, she was a friend’s.]

The next one was a small baby and no one knew if she was going to grow up to be a nice girl or not. ‘One day’ said Rose’s mum ‘We will get her.’ At Kens home Rose was haveing a great time at Kens house. One day Cupcake told her mum that she was going to run away because she didn’t want to kill Rose. She ran away that very day and soon she reached Kens home. She told them everything. ‘Stay with us’ said Ken.

Cupcake stayed with them. Her mother had never liked her so she didn’t mind. Rose liked her very much and so did Ken. Cupcake went out every week day to the shops. They gave her good food and Ken gave her a dress. One day Roses mother made a attack on her. Not with swords but with their hands. At last they went away and Rose was worried. ‘They might come again’ she said. ‘Don’t worrie’ said Ken. ‘I will lock the door.’ Rose was glad. Later, Ken asked some guards to guard the house. Rose’s mum was very very cross. And then she thought of a good plan

but Cupcake heard about it and she and the others made a plan. They would let the good people like the baby out and then they locked the door from the outside. No one could get out. But the poice told them off and they unlocked the door. So the mother made another plan. That night the mother took a bit of string and tied up Rose. She tied her to the bed and threw the bed in the dungeon. When Rose woke up she found herself in a dreadful dungeon. It was very dark and the door was locked. Suddenly someone came in.

It was her mother. She took her clothes and her bed away. Rose had to wear rags. But one night Ken came and hunted all around the house for the key that would unlock ther dungeon door. He looked in cupboards. He looked in chests of drawers. He looked in the wardrobe. When he looked in a drawer that was hidden behind a microwave Ken went to the dungeon and let Rose out. They first called the poilce.

They took Roses mother to jail and sent pale face to a school were you had to work very hard indeed and you never got even a short break.

[Seems a bit harsh]

The baby was sent to live with Rose and Ken and Cupcake looked after her very well. One night Roses mother looked out of the jail window to see the church all lighted up. Ken and Rose were getting married and they lived happily ever after

The End

[Call me, Disney]

grandad in the ’60s (my first photo colourisation!)

Today is my dad’s birthday so I decided to surprise him with a colourised, hopefully adequately cleaned up version of a photo of his dad, my grandad. It’s not professional quality but, I’m glad I mostly got rid of the scratches!

Grandad looks a lot like Dad in this photo. It was nice to clean it up. I’m gonna try colourising some other old monochrome family photos soon I think!