Category Archives: airsoft

Summer starts…apparently

Well, we’re into the school summer holidays now, and we’re on countdown to the big “Back to School”. We have uniform and everything (purchase in Tesco when I noticed they’d got it in, because, if you leave it too late into the summer, places sell out of the big teenager sizes!)

El is quite looking forwards to it. I think he’s ready to be back in the hustle and bustle of his peers, and learning. He ended up needing to choose a 4th subject after all so, in addition to music, drama and construction, he’s now also doing catering (all subjects that he’s happy with. Music and drama are made for El, and he’s looking forwards to learning useful skills in the other two, even if he doesn’t pursue them further post-16.
Obviously this is in addition to maths, English and science so hopefully he makes the most of the 2 years in school and makes friend and learns something useful.
When El is back to school, the house is going to be so quiet during the day. It’ll be very strange having a full working day with no teenager appearing requesting food or drinks or just general attention.

Mind you, business has been very patchy lately. Overall, it’s still doing OK, but some  days lately have been soooooo quiet. It’s not just us. Our suppliers have been reporting the same, but, when it’s your full-time income, it’s scary when it’s quiet, because you never know for certain when (or, indeed, IF) it’ll pick up again.
We’ve had a ‘van trip too. We (re-)visited Tattershall Lakes last weekend and had a good few days away. I think it might be one of Eliot’s last trips actually. He’s old enough to leave for weekends with Jake (who stays home anyway) and they’re quite capable of looking after themselves. It does them good and it does us good too.
We have a few short trips planned over the summer (and I use the word “summer” loosely!) including the Lincoln Steam Rally and hopefully a few weekends away, weather permitting. We had a bank holiday break booked at the Haven site at Lakeland, but they kindly cancelled that when I missed paying my final balance by 2 days. I’d completely forgotten and was not aware that they don’t give any sort of reminder. Customer “service” on the phone was unhelpful. I’m sure they love the fact that they don’t send out (I mean, honestly, an automated reminder email wouldn’t take any time of effort. It’s 2017, Haven!!) a payment reminder and then get to keep everybody’s £25 deposits. It’s criminal really, but I now won’t book with them again. Anywhere.

It’s done us a favour in a way (albeit one that’s cost us £25!) as the August bank holiday is notorious for poor weather. Also, El didn’t really want to come AND it coincides with the British MotoGP weekend. So now we’ll play it by ear. If the forecast is good, we’ll late book somewhere for just the Friday and Saturday and come home Sunday to watch the GP and enjoy Monday off.
That’s the plan anyway.

We’ve been spending a bit of time this week researching DIY ‘van canopies. We decided it’d be nice to have a simple canopy for trips when we don’t need a full awning but need a little bit of weather protection when parked up with the sliding door open.
After some interweb searching about, I bought some 6mm beading and sewed it onto a decent quality waterproof tarp from Halfords.
A pack of guy ropes and adjusters (reduced to £3.99 in Mountain Warehouse, for 3 x 8m guy ropes, a pack of sliding adjusters, some dodgy pegs, and a terrible plastic peg hammer) later and a re-using of the rear pad poles from our main awning and we’ve got a usable canopy.

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The sewing machine had a rare outing to fix the beading onto the awning


It didn’t turn out too bad

We have made a few little changes inside the van. A bit of storage modification (some smaller storage boxes to tidy an overhead locker) and we made the important decision to ditch our double sleeping bag.
Now, I LOVE the sleeping bag. It’s cosy warm in winter and you can unzip (it zips along both edges) the side and sling a leg out, if need be, in summer, but Nik hates it, so I sourced a 4ft x 6ft fitted sheet (which I’m hoping will fit our made up bed area. It should!) and we’ve bought a double bed set which we’ll use with the double duvet we already have vacuum-stored in the loft in the hope that it works for us. It should do. El had already moved on from using sleeping bag on his bunk to taking his own duvet each time so, as long as the bottom sheet fits and the double duvet isn’t too big (or too small – we’re used to a king size!) , then we should be set. Time will tell.

What else? What else? The boys are out at airsoft today, which is why I am able to blog. They’re out pretty much alternate weekends (leaving us the other alternate to go away in the van – MotoGP permitting!) and they all still love it. It’s good for them, and it’s GREAT for me! I can potter about, catch up on TV, blog, clean the oven. I have all the fun.

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Eliot, having much more fun than oven-cleaning!

Think that’s us updated for now. Next one might be “Back to School” proper!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catch up posts are becoming a bit of a theme!

Maybe it’s because nothing much newsworthy happens, but it has been far too long since I posted so I figured a catch up post was in order.

Obviously, since I last posted in February, it’s mostly been work and airsoft around here, but we did manage to go on holiday too, as a family of 4 (yes, that’s FOUR!) back to Portugal for 10 days.

Nik visited the MotoGP in Jerez while  we were there, and we all did some touristy things like waterparks (Nik and Eliot), theme parks (Zoomarine, all of us) and mini golf (various combinations!) as well as eating out and general Lagos-y wanderings.

Proof that even Jake enjoyed Zoomarine
Obligatory photo from “The Lighthouse”
The river from the Marina bridge

I won’t bore with more photos. You all get the general idea. Sunshine, holidays, touristy things etc. It was a great trip and probably both Jake’s and my last. Eliot will probably just move back one day and Nik, I am sure, will do many more trips for the Jerez MotoGP race.

It was almost certainly our last family holiday, so it was nice that it went well.

Since then,  (and after the mammoth job of catching up with 10 days away from work!) we’ve been trying to get away in the van for the odd weekends here and there.

We’re experimenting with local-ish smaller sites, just for Friday and Saturday nights, and without either of the boys (but usually with dog).

We’ve been to Wolds View Touring Park near Caistor which was really nice. Adults only, and on a quiet weekend at the end of half term (not that half term makes a difference at an adults only park, but that’s why we chose it) so only alternating pitches were occupied. The facilities were great and the owners were lovely. Cafe on site served a good breakfast and afternoon tea (although we didn’t try that). Bit of a walk into the town, and not really worth the effort unless you need anything from the Co-op. It’s about all that’s there.

We had a fab weekend though and will definitely go back.

It was a weekend we did without the dog too so it was truly a weekend of doing absolutely nothing whatsoever (except streaming MotoGP qualifying!) which was great! Although we did miss the dog!

Pitched up (and having a quick kip) at Wolds View Touring Park

A few weeks later, we had another trip, this time to a place near Harby, Lincoln run by a place that sells campervans and motorhomes (which, oddly, I hadn’t come across previously!)

It was a larger site but it was lovely to only have to drive 15 minutes down the road! We had a grass pitch, which we wouldn’t usually choose because they can be uneven and a bit damp, but it was fine with a lovely view of the fishing lake. We’d probably choose a grass pitch next time, although they are a little further away from the toilets/showers. It had plenty of space to walk the dog too (including a rally field)

We liked the site and its owners a lot and had a great weekend. Another definitely re-visit!

‘Vans across the other side of the fishing lake
I recognise that ‘van!
It was a lovely setting
Looking forwards to going back here!

We’ve also been away for a third time since the beginning of June! This time to somewhere a little further up, in Barton upon Stather. A (former?) award-winning Camping and Caravanning Club certified site at Acorn Wood.

Again, a lovely site. Small, with only 5 hardstanding pitches and perhaps room for 3 or 4 grass pitches, but with fabulous toilet and shower facilities and lovely owners. There wasn’t much of a rural area to walk to dog nearby (there’s a very small fishing pond with a walk around) but we took the short walk into the town (village?) itself and sat in the park for a bit, so we didn’t miss out. Definitely another gem of a site that we’d recommend and revisit.

Ducks on the pond bridge at Acorn Wood
Playing doggie bubbles in the awning

So many places, so little time!

There is another story I could tell about a site who decided they didn’t want me on their site in case I blogged bad things about it (this coming from a 10/10 rated site), but I’m done ranting and brewing on it now! Their loss!

Our next trip is to Tattershall Lakes, which is where we made our first real trip last year. There’s lots to do and Eliot is coming with us this time too. It’ll be fun. We hope!

Apart from being busy with work, Jake is out at work most days and Eliot is getting ready for starting school in September. We’ve had a trip up to school today for a(nother) tour around and to discuss his options. He’s chosen to do Music, Drama and Construction, leaving the 4th option slot open for additional support lessons for maths and English if required. He seems happier about going back now that he’s got some control over what he spends his time doing all day.

Nothing more disheartening that sitting in a class learning about stuff you’ll never need to know again. I remember it well (or, perhaps more pertinently, I don’t!)

I hated school. In fact, I hate schools in general, but these next 2 years will be good for Eliot. Unlike Jake, who was already advanced enough to teach himself, for the most part, to get through his English and Maths GCSEs at home, Eliot needs more help and support than I can give him. Hopefully, he’ll come out with some qualifications and some friends from being at school, and both of those are good things.

Maybe some of his mates will fancy campervan weekends away, or airsoft days out!

Oh, just one more thing. If anybody is into Forza or knows anybody who is into Forza, Jake does Youtube videos and regular(-ish, internet permitting) live streams with gameplay, giveaway and dev builds. His channel is here and support is always welcome!

Changes are a-coming

Firstly, what is this weather doing? One minute its brilliant sunshine, the next it’s snowing like Alaska, and the next it’s just grey and raining all day.

Will winter just make up its mind already?

Where we live, we tend to get a bit short-changed when it comes to the wintry stuff, so Eliot and I both got a little excited the other day when PROPER snow started falling. And then, 2 hours later we had blue skies and sunshine.

Mother Nature is a bloody tease!

This weekend, we were hoping it’d err on the side of “bright” rather than “grey and rainy” as the boys (the 3 of them, plus numerous friends) had planned to go to airsoft in Lincoln.

A photo taken of Jake (foreground) at a recent game.
A photo taken of Jake (foreground) at a recent game.

In fact, despite the weather and the forecast, they went anyway, leaving at 8 this morning with the car (and newly fitted roof box – we owned the box already from our tent camping days, but needed to buy new fittings for the Ampera) all loaded up with guns and kit.

Yesterday, as usual, was prep day.

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And prep day is one thing, clean up day is probably worse!

Will ya just look at those boots?!
Will ya just look at those boots?!

I have that to look forward to when they get back in a couple of hours. Oh joys!

Still, they’ll hopefully have had fun – despite the rain – and will no doubt be super excited to go again in a couple of weeks.

It won’t be long until we’re juggling our weekends though, between airsoft, MotoGP and going away in the van. MotoGP is a set calendar so that will get first dibs on our weekend, then hopefully we’ll get away in the van a few times in amongst airsoft. Hopefully!

We’ve got a couple of van trips away booked already, but nothing until the summer holidays. The rest of our vacation planning is really concentrating on our Portugal trip in May.

We need to get all the term-time holidays in that we can this year, because, all going well, Eliot will be in school from September!

We had much discussion about it, but we had a meeting with the school and we think he’ll be OK to go back, entering year 10 in September.

He’ll take Maths, English and Science as standard, and then be able to choose from a range of non/less-academic courses (such as construction, which he fancies, performing arts, music etc) on top. Hopefully, he’ll cope OK with it, knowing that it’s only 6 terms.

I think it might be a bigger deal when it comes to it, but we’ll see. We’ve got some work to do before then, but it is getting difficult as winter has remained busy for us work-wise.

Busy work is good, of course. We recently invested some money into some clearance stock, and we’ve had good sales on that stock so far. Much better than expected.

Of course, with increased sales, comes increased headaches. It’s a trade-off.

Jake is still hoping to find a job himself. He’s applying for various suitable jobs (warehouse work etc) but no luck yet. One job we applied for said it had had 700 applicants online alone. What hope does a 17 year old have?