I’ll be at Nine Worlds on Friday!


He’s a very good speaker is Mr Mark Stay.

Originally posted on unusually tall stories:

If you’re there too, come and say “Hi”. I’m hoping to convince our VFX genius, Mr Paddy Eason to come along, too, and together we’ll reveal all the secret behind-the-scenes stuff about ROBOT OVERLORDS with a super-whizzy multimedia presentation.  We’ll also sign things, including books and posters and naked flesh… okay, maybe not naked flesh…

Here are the where and when details…

Friday 7th August, Nine Worlds and Geekfest:


Friday 7th August, 4-5pm, Room 16: Robot Overlords From Script to Screen. A behind-the-scenes look at how this independent British Sci-Fi movie went from script to screen.

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Friday 31st July 2015 – Boxhill fun.

Today Robert (aged 10), the little boy from next door, is very sweet and always wants to come round to play with George. They’re both very similar, in the fact that the both have an endless amount of energy and love to fling themselves about when they play. This afternoon he was able to come round and play so at 2pm there was a knock on the door. “Yes can I help you?” I asked. “I’ve come to play,” was the smiley reply. “Oh I don’t know about that?” I said. Of course I let him in, and after he’d played on George’s drum kit for a while (his rhythm needs more practice), and then said “Hello!” to the chickens, stroked and held several of them and then collected some eggs, we headed off to Boxhill. It’s not far away, and only takes about 20 minutes or so to drive there. We arrived about 2.45pm and first went in the “Nature Trail” where George, being the monkey he is, climbed everything. Robert was a little apprehensive to start with but soon joined in. George has been climbing trees since he was about 18 months old, so it’s second nature to him. He tends to freak out most other kids (and parents) with his climbing abilities, but I’m used to it, so am not worried. With a little encouragement Robert was climbing but wanted the security of holding my hand when he got too high. This is perfectly understandable, as most kids would do the same (apart form George that is). “How do I get off?” Robert asked. “Jump!” was my reply. So he slid off holding my hand and George flung himself off higher up. We then went to the massive hill and the only thing you have to do (if you’re a kid) is to roll down it. It has to be done, there is no other way to do it.

And off they go!!

And off they go!! George is on the left and Robert is on the right.

Off they went and I could hear them giggling and laughing as they went. I walked sedately towards them, and once at the bottom they decided to run back to the top and then roll down again. Fine by me!! I stayed at the bottom and waited for them to come back to me. However the walk back to the top of the hill was a little too much for some.

The walk back up the hill was too much for Robert, but with coaxing from George he managed it.

The walk back up the hill was too much for Robert, but with coaxing from George he managed it.

Once all the rolling down the hill was done it was time to go over a sty, into another field and into the woods. This was great fun because of the amount of sticks that the boys found (Emily was out with friends all day, so missed all the fun) this meant they could then play Star Wars with each other and use the force. I’m not sure who they decided to be. I think Robert was Yoda, George was Anakin, and I opted for Princess Leia (but NOT in the bikini!!) Lots of sticks got broken in the process, but replacement sticks were found very quickly. Then it was time to slide!! There are certain sections on Boxhill where the trees are thick and the ground is very dry, and it’s perfect for sliding down on either your bottom or feet. It’s a bit like skiing, but there’s no snow. George has got this down to a fine art, with many years of practice. I think that this was Robert’s first time at this particular sport, so George very kindly showed him the most sensible way to slide and that was on your bottom (their trousers will never be the same again). Getting up to the top was sometimes a little tricky, and I had to assist Robert sometimes. He suddenly slipped back down and pushed me down in the process, which was rather amusing and funny. But he did get the hang of it, and both he and George were sledging down the slopes quite happily for about an hour. There are some wonderful holes underneath some dead trees that were a magnet for intrigued little boys to venture into.

There's nothing that makes a boy happier than investigating a hole.

There’s nothing that makes a boy happier than investigating a hole.

We stopped often for a drink, but having fun was much more enjoyable. We finally came back to where we started and got to the refreshment shop just before it closed. We all had an ice cream of one sort or another, some of us getting messier than other (Robert I’m talking about you with ice cream all round your mouth). We left just after 5pm and I dropped him off home around 5.30pm or there abouts. Now I don’t know about the boys, but I’ll definitely sleep well tonight. I hope they do with all the excitement and play they had today.

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Thursday 30th July 2015 – A morning of harvesting and planting out.

I was hoping to have a couple of hours on the allotment this morning working. Well I had a couple of hours, but only worked for just over and hour. I ended up spending the rest of the time chatting with a fellow plot holder about various things, but nothing to do with plants and gardening which was rather odd. Anyway, it was great to chat with him. I did however manage to harvest all of my Kohl Rabi. In fact there were 21 of them! I’ve already harvested some, and they’ve done really well this year, I’m very pleased with them. Now all I need to do is to peel them and then cut them into chunks and freeze them. When we have a casserole then I’ll put some in.

There are 21 Kohl Rabi here. All a very, very good size.

There are 21 Kohl Rabi here. All a very, very good size.

Once this bed was emptied, I then removed the few weeds that were about and then planted out my Celeriac. This was sown a little on the late side, but has caught up well in the greenhouse and in their individual 3 inch pots. Some were still on the small side, but some aren’t doing too badly. I don’t think they’ll be huge as celeriac goes, but as long as the bulb swells up fairly well I won’t mind. They won’t need harvesting until the end of autumn so they’ve still got time.

Celeriac behind where I would expect them to be, but hopefully they'll soon catch up.

Celeriac behind where I would expect them to be, but hopefully they’ll soon catch up.

Then just before I left (I had promised the kids I’d be home for lunch), I harvested some more Potatoes and a few more French Beans. Some of the Potatoes are ready to come up, but others aren’t quite there. Which is fine by me, as then I can harvest as and when we need them. The French Beans are just starting to fruit. I’ve got loads of flowers, so give it a couple more weeks and then I’ll have more than I know what to do with.

Potatoes from just a couple of plants. That's enough for several dinners for us lot.

Potatoes from just a couple of plants. That’s enough for several dinners for us lot.

Well that’s it for today. George is swimming this afternoon and Emily and I are making cakes and stuff. See you tomorrow hopefully.

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Wednesday 29th July 2015 – Hatchlands Park.

Today the kids and I went to another National Trust place, well when you’re a member you don’t want to waste your membership do you, that’s just silly. We ticked another place off our list today and visited Hatchlands Park in West Horsley. A very pleasant drive and not that far away from where we live. We left home at just after 10.30am and arrived around 11.15am. There are 3 different walks that you can take round the estate, red which is 1.4km, blue which is 2km or the yellow which is 4km. We opted for the yellow and so off we went. First of all we came into a field that had lots of black and brown cows in. Now cows are rather stupid, and when I was young I helped get some in for milking and they panic at the slightest thing. Even though people are walking through their field all day long, they don’t like you getting too close and back away if you do. We left them to eat their grass and moo to themselves. We then came to a large pond called “Sheepwash Pond”. Not sure if it would really be a good idea to wash sheep in it, but the ducks seemed to be having fun. There were some wonderful willow trees around the edges of the pond, and the kids enjoyed climbing on them. I’m pleased to say that none of us fell in the water….even George which is a miracle!! We then continued on the yellow trail when Emily found a very unfortunate beetle. How long he’d been in this predicament we have no idea, but he wasn’t moving and was long gone. I know it sounds horrible, but we looked at it for ages in amazement.

Poor little bugger. Managed to fly straight into some barbed wire and impale himself right in his neck.

Poor little bugger. Managed to fly straight into some barbed wire and impale himself right in his neck.

It was at this point that we got lost. We had a map, but instead of continuing straight ahead, we turned right, and didn’t know where we were. But we soon found out and realised that we’d missed the entire top section off. Never mind. Next we came across the “Great Wix Wood” and inside the wood was the “Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren”. You try saying that several times fast, George tried and it went very wrong. Inside the warren it was very dark and spooky. Emily (know loves horror movies) kept telling us that people got murdered in places like this!! What a charming daughter I have. Fortunately we all made it out alive, but the kids had fun playing in the various hidey holes and structures.

You're never too old to play in a make shift shelter.

You’re never too old to play in a make shift shelter.

After this it was time for lunch, and we found a lovely little picnic area. We’d bought our own lunch of sandwiches, crisps, cake, fruit, little cheeses and drink. After all our walking we were all very hungry. Once we’d eaten we then rejoined the yellow trail and walked through the Little Wix Wood, where we saw lots of fairy doors. We then continued on our walk, following the yellow trail and found the “Sylvanian Families Nature Trail”, where there were lots of little questions about nature (we managed to get them all right) and several carvings of Sylvanian Family members made from tree stumps.

There were 3 carvings of various characters. I don't think we missed any.

There were 3 carvings of various characters. I don’t think we missed any.

Then it was the final part of the yellow route towards the house. We saw the “Ice House” and then it was onto “The Temple”. Then we all got to have a play on some space hoppers. George didn’t need any encouragement to have a go. Oh my goodness that boy can bounce high on one!! He must have bounced about 18 inches!! Out of all the children bouncing on them my 2 were the eldest, but who cares, they were put there to be bounced on my anyone of any age.

If you look carefully you can see the shadow of his space hopper. A great action shot!!

If you look carefully you can see the shadow of his space hopper!!

Emily needed a little more encouragement, but soon got the hang of it. Even though she didn’t bounce as high as George did, she still had loads of fun.

You can see the little girl in her still trying to get out.

You can see the little girl in her still trying to get out.

Then it was my turn. I’ve not been on a space hopper for….well I have no idea. As I was about to get on I looked around to make sure no one was watching and saw an elderly lady in a wheel chair was smiling at me. I had a bounce, but that picture has already been blogged so I won’t embarrass myself again by putting it up once more. Then it was time to look round the house. They have over 40 pianos on the ground floor alone! You can only play one at a time. All were beautiful and belonged to various composers and important people. After looking in the house we went to the courtyard and looked in the Old Stable, and there was a little secret garden that I found. So had a few other people, so I didn’t stay long and left them in peace. Finally it was a trip to the cafe for an ice cream for the kids and a tea for me. Lovely so see that they give you a decent sized cup (more a mug size really) which was brilliant.

A well deserved ice cream.

A well deserved ice cream.

We then drove home and returned around 3pm. A lovely day, thank you Hatchlands Park, we’ll come again.

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Friday 24th July 2015 – Another load of s**t!!

It takes 2 trailer loads of manure to cover all the beds on my allotment, and the first load that my friend Clair had delivered I’d used up, so needed another load from her. Today was the day, and it was pouring with rain ALL day!! I got down the allotment just before 10am, because I wasn’t sure when in the morning she was going to arrive. It was drizzling, but was gradually getting heavier and heavier. If I wasn’t waiting for some manure then I would have gone home, but armed with my wellingtons and a waterproof, I soldiered on weeding the final bed, which I managed to get about one third of it done. I’m not complaining about the rain, we do need it desperately, but I wish it would rain all night, and not all day. Still I suppose we can’t have everything. Clair arrived about 10.45am and we both started to unload all the manure from the trailer into a massive pile on one of my beds. The rain kept getting harder and harder, and we were the only ones on site (sensible people were in the dry). It took us both about 45 minutes to unload all the manure, and then Clair left, and I then decided that the sensible thing to do would be to go home myself as well. When I got home I had to change ALL my clothes, except my socks they were dry!

Oh manure!! One of my favourite things in the world.

Oh manure!! One of my favourite things in the world.

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Thursday 23rd July 2015 – Chartwell.

Today I took the kids to another National Trust place but this time we went to Chartwell. It’s the family home of Winston Churchill. After walking miles and miles on Tuesday, I promised the kids that we wouldn’t be walking anywhere near as far today. Oops! The estate is very big, so there was a lot of walking to do. Still it didn’t seem that far, because we had lots to look at, and there were benches at frequent intervals to sit down on if your little legs were a bit tired. We arrived just before lunch time, and when we’d wandered round to find the right place to sit and have our lunch it was lunch time. A very friendly Robin kept coming to say hello. It was very brave and kept resting only a couple of feet from where we were sitting.

A very friendly Robin.

A very friendly Robin and no Christmas card in sight.

After lunch we wandered around the grounds, looked in the various lakes (George didn’t fall in!!) We saw the Croquet Lawn, but didn’t play. As we walked past it George said “Cricket”, I said, “No it’s croquet”. We bounced back and forth with this for a while, but he meant that he could hear a cricket insect, not the sport! Once we’d sorted this little bit of confusion out we went looking in the house. We’ve been in here before, and I saw an old Radio Times from 1938 priced at 2 pence. It’s gone up a bit since then and is now £2. You weren’t allowed to take any photos in the house, and I was holding my phone because it’s quite a tight fit in my jeans pocket. Twice I was asked to turn my phone off and put it away. I wasn’t using it!! I tried to explain that this was the case, but being as the volunteers were rather on the elderly side, they didn’t understand that I couldn’t turn my phone off in it’s case, and it goes off automatically. After this I hid it under the map they gave us as we walked round.

Lady Churchill's veranda. What a beautiful view.

Lady Churchill’s terrace. What a beautiful view.

Once we left the house we found an old bomb crater where a bomb dropped during the Blitz. Must have made a massive explosion because the  crater was huge!! Then it was on to the Sweet Chestnut Coppice and then onto the vegetable garden where there were so many wonderful fruit, flowers and vegetables were growing. On a sunflowers I saw a bumble bee collecting pollen and a lady bird minding it’s own business.

Now play nice there is enough for everyone.

Now play nice there is enough for everyone.

George got to have a go on the many tree swings that they have, and then it was time for an ice cream before we started our journey home. It was a very pleasant day, and only about 25 miles away. That’s another one ticked off the list of places I want to visit this year. We’ll all sleep well tonight.


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Wednesday 22nd July 2015 – I’ve got a blister on the palm of my hand.

I popped to the allotment for a couple of hours today to continue with my weeding. I’ve only got one more bed that is full of weeds, and then plot 1 is practically sorted. Hopefully I can make a dent in that bed by the end of the week. I’m planning on taking the kids out again tomorrow and then have manure arriving on Friday (hopefully), so how much of it I’ll actually get done I don’t know. I also watered and fed various plants, and had a quick chat with some other plot holders (it’s not all work and no play you know). This year I sowed a packet of mixed Squashes and Pumpkins. They’re all doing really well, but until they start to produce fruits you have no idea what they’re going to be. I think one is a “Patty Pan”, but  as they grow bigger I’ll know for sure.

Lots of little ones are growing.

Lots of little ones are growing.

Then as I was weeding a bed where I am growing Carrots and Garlic, I decided that some of the garlic needed to be harvested. I’ve still got more to harvest, but what I’ve dug up so far this year, I’m very impressed with. They’re good sized bulbs (mostly), so I’ll dry them thoroughly and then they’ll keep until I need to use them.

Some of my garlic to keep away the vampires.

Some of my garlic to keep away the vampires.

With all this weeding, I’ve now got a blister on the palm of my right hand. I hope it goes down by this evening, because I’ve got bell ringing practice and ringing with a blister is not fun. Well that’s all for today, I’ve got some tidying to do in the garden at home, and some watering, but lunch is needed first of all. TTFN!!

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