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Cars, clangers and flatpacks

It was a fairly busy week last week. Tuesday was the usual games night at the Chivers'. As we were coming up to Halloween, I took along two of Cheapass Games zombie games. We started by playing one of rich_jacko's Lego games, Shave A Sheep. This involved Lego sheep, which were much played with a eventually turned into a variety of mutant sheep.

On Wednesday, Rich and neil_h _h came over to mine to play with my Scalextric set. I have a bunch of secondhand track to add to the original loop and we had to swap around some bits to to get a fully working track, and then some sections remained a bit dodgy. Altogether, we had a big L-shaped circuit, with banking at the top of the L and at the end of the foot. We also had a couple of fascinated, furry spectators. Diesel lay down right next to the track, occasionally making a dab at a passing car, or leaving her tail or paws in the way. Iella watched mostly from behind the banking, giving the appearance of this huge cat head looming over the circuit as the cars went by. She came out now and again, and did indeed gallop around the circuit after the cars. There was never any actual races held, but we had a good time just playing. To quote Rich: "The only thing better than Scalextric, is Scalextric and cats."

The next day I was off to Barnsley with the Chivers, to visit the animation festival and exhibition being held there. It was a rather small festival, which was kind of appropriate, as the exhibition part was about Smallfilms. There were three screening areas for short films. One showed classic British children's TV animations, from Noggin the Nog through to current productions, and the other screens had contemporary animated shorts from around the world.
  The highlight of the exhibition, certainly for the adults, was the display of original Smallfilms drawings and puppets. There were original paintings for Ivor the Engine, complete with cardboard characters to be animated, and cotton wool puffs of steam. There were Noggin the Nog artworks too, and features on all the studio's output. And in display cases, were Clangers ! The largest case had a section of blue moon, complete with lid over one of the holes. There were several clangers on display inside, plus the soup dragon, froglets and music trees. Other cases held the Iron Chicken and chick, and Small Clanger in the music boat. These were all the original models, used to make the programmes some 40 years ago. I've seen new, commercially available clangers, but I was looking at these ones, saying "Look ! Real clangers !"
   The original Basil Brush puppet was there too, as he was made by Peter Firmin, which I hadn't known. He looks a little worse for wear, and has rather wonky eyes which make him look certainly a little worse for something else.  I was mildly surprised to see that his brush was a real, fox's brush. I'd not thought about it before, and probably just assumed it was made from fur, or fake fur. I'd just never thought it might be a tail that was once attached to a live fox.

Friday evening I went over to the Cullen's and had a nice time at a rather quiet party. I had to leave at a sensible time as I had to be up to go out to IKEA in Nottingham with Steve and Helen. We got there before the main rush and had breakfast before setting out into the store itself. They were getting into the Halloween thing, and had lots of their toy rats distributed all over the store, in unexpected places like inside tissue box covers. I got various bits and pieces, including a couple of Xmas presents for friends and family. One of my reasons to visit had been to buy food there. I got a bag of the fish shaped jelly sweets they do, which are really delicious. Also some lovely, truffle-y marzipan and chocolate things, cinnamon rolls and both alcoholic and non-alcoholoc pear jiuce. Mmmmmm. Think I'll go and have another one of those fish...

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