Alexander Gordon Smith

Archive for the Category Days Out


Is it a bird… Is it a plane…

No, hang on a minute, it’s the SUN!!!! It’s been so long I barely recognised it. What an amazing few days, though, it felt like summer! I forced myself to put work to one side in order to make the most of this bizarre phenomenon. On Thursday Lynsey, Lucy and I went to Thrigby Hall, which was so cool. It’s basically a small zoo, but there is an impressive range of beastly beasties on display. Tigers, alligators, panthers, monkeys, you name it! My favourite had to be the otters, though. They were rolling around in the sunshine and they just looked so cute! Well worth a trip if you’ve never been before.

Lynsey and I also managed to escape to the beach on Saturday, which was lovely. We drove up to Sheringham and it really did feel like the middle of the summer holidays. I was even tempted to go for a swim… But decided to settle for a beer and an ice cream instead. We finished off the weekend with the first family barbeque of the year. It’s always so nice to have the family over for burgers and beer, and even though it was getting a little chilly by the end of the day it was still great fun!

Alas, it’s a little cloudy today so I took that as a sign to get back to work. Furnace 4 to edit and Furnace 5 to write, all before the end of May. I’ll have to lock myself away in the gloomy confines of my office if I stand any chance of meeting that deadline. Still, at least I caught a glimpse of the sun before I close the door behind me…

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

I just have to tell you all about the amazing sandcastle that we built on Wells beach on Saturday! Jamie and I popped out to meet Lyns and Lucy, and Lucy’s great aunt and uncle, for the Wells carnival. Mum came too, which was lovely. After watching the floats and eating several buckets worth of ice cream we wandered up the coastal path to the beach and set about creating a masterful kingdom of sand.

I love building sandcastles – it’s the same Imperial part of me that loves to build my own country in Civilisation and my own city in Sim City – it’s just so much fun. And I have to say that the sand at Wells is absolutely perfect for it – it’s very damp and oily, which means it holds together extremely well. We bought a giant bucket and a spade and got started on a moat, adding several turrets and a gradually ascending walkway to get to the main keep. And below is the finished result (viewed from the back, that giant mound holds the main keep, the vertiginous walls too steep for any invading army, and that wooden walkway is raisable)!

This is the view from the front (with Lucy to give a sense of scale):

Here you get a better idea of the various defences. You have to enter over a narrow bridge, guarded by a ‘W’ formation of towers. Invaders would have to pass into an open courtyard, leaving them exposed to attack, and would need to make their way towards the middle point of the ‘W’. The only way onto the path is by passing through this tower, and anyone who does has to make their way up a steep, winding path to get to yet another tower (the upper right point of the ‘W’), then through that and up another open, narrow path to reach the keep (the uppermost tower). By this point they’d have all been picked off! So all in all a pretty damn awesome construction – Peter jackson and the Lord of the Rings crew eat your heart out! The towers each represented one of the elements, with special flags, and there was a magical tree in the centre of the courtyard thanks to mum. The sand was even so wet that the moat held water for a few minutes, how cool is that!!

Here’s one last picture of the architects:

Anyway, I should probably do some work now…

Har Har Me Mateys!

Everyone seems to have been working really hard the last few weeks, so on Saturday we decided to give ourselves a break and head out to Yarmouth for the day. Once there, windswept and sunburned on the beautiful beach, we played hide and seek on the dunes. Well, they’re not really dunes, more lumpy bits in the beach, but there were enough contours and sea grass tufts to hide us (even my belly remained hidden from view, which is really saying something). Jamie, being a grumpy thirteen-year-old, didn’t want to come at first, and we practically had to drag him away from his dank pit of a bedroom. But once he was there, running about and diving into the sand like some kind of hyperactive beach monkey, he absolutely loved it.

An hour or so later, and with enough sand in our ears and underpants to supply a glass factory for a year, we headed up the seafront and grabbed burgers / hot dogs / bacon butties, plus eight donuts. God I love beach food! We were going to have traditional fish and chips, but being optimistic I suggested we had burgers for lunch then fish and chips for tea! Next we popped into the pirate crazy golf course for a quick game before the rain came down. Lyns had never played before (which explains a lot), but then neither had Lucy and she was ace. I, of course, scored a hole in one on the third hole. Go me! Here are the hang being all piratey and golfy:

I had to leave early to run and get the car before it was clamped, and we all got a bit damp in a sudden summer storm. But it really was a lovely day, and so nice to do something that didn’t involve sitting in front of a computer for twenty hours a day! In the end we didn’t stop for fish and chips, but I made up for it later by sneaking out and having a pie and chips at the chippy round the corner! Sunday was a DIY day – sanding the hall floor (which is the worst job in history) and trimming the hedge (which wasn’t too bad). Unfortunately it’s back to my desk now, at least until Kung Fu this evening!