Tag 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.

20368991_10154603231956126_3473125471688884776_o
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.

IMG_6784
Eliot, having much more fun than oven-cleaning!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

16729512_10154147922661126_6273147900861385161_n

16603067_10154147922636126_2903182645243945339_n

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?

 

Eeek, how long? A very overdue update!

I wonder how many of my blog posts, over the last 8 years of blogging, have the same title or similar? Actually, I don’t think I’ll go count them.
It’s a poor reflection of how shocking I am at updating blogs, I suppose, so let’s gloss over that one!
It’s been so long since I blogged now that I can barely recall what has even happened over the past 3/4 months.
<heads over to Facebook to remind self of notable events>
<comes back realising life is relatively mundane, uneventful and dull really>
That’s unfair actually. We’ve done several trips away in the van since then.
We’ve been to the end-of-season Motorhome show, and went away in October to Mablethorpe to take Zac on his first trip to the beach.
(Note to self: pick a warmer month than October next time!)
The Motorhome show was a bit of a treat because we went both child- AND dog-free! Much as we love our dog (and our children, of course!), it was relaxing not to have to think about letting him out and walking him, especially as he sleeps pretty poorly in the van (much preferring, I think, the warmth of our bed/sleeping bag to the floor!)
14457503_10153764613106126_2308684196926201346_n
It was a nice to have a wander in and out of vans without having to leave one of us outside with the dog too. Having said that, we did miss him, of course.
The other trip we did (and it was the last time we were away in the van) was Mablethorpe for a long weekend.
Exotic? No.
Fun? Actually, yes! (but cold!)
14720436_10153815031951126_8654657995108370048_n
Not exactly a busy beach. There’s a dog (Zac!) over there on the right somewhere!
He loved having all that space to run around in and, although he was initially reluctant, he was soon bounding about in the shallow waters.
14720382_10153815031976126_3964201178713489921_n
The boys (Nik and Eliot; Jake stayed home being a teenager) had some fun too. There was a large arcade on site as well as some novice activities such as target shooting and archery.
14724444_10153817800791126_1922495424148657214_n
Being fairly experienced at Archery and shooting, they both only really partially enjoyed them due to the basic nature and inaccuracy of the equipment, but it was something to do.
Eliot also had a go at the climbing wall (although soon got bored, as he does!).
14705613_10153818612231126_4094300661911062911_n
In all honesty, I think everyone (well, the men) in this house has decided that the only real pastime any of them enjoys (other than sleep (teenagers) and Xbox (all of them)) is airsoft.
Oh lordy, the airsoft.
It’s something Nik tried out as a way of keeping fit and, unfortunately, took the boys with him on his first trip.
Now, my house looks like this most Saturdays…
15032763_10153908025671126_7315870625543396477_n
15940765_10154059376406126_3670681756609449996_n
And the pay-off is that, on Sundays, my house is empty (just me an’ the dog) and my boys look like this…
15027550_10153908025926126_1887937297444060001_n
They’re all loving it, and they’ve found several different places to play now, each with different game formats and site layouts. Barton on Humber seems to be a favourite although Lincoln, being closer, is visited equally often.
Now they’ve got all the kit, it’s cheaper for them to go as they don’t need to hire guns and vests etc, but they’re still having to pace themselves a bit as it’s a dear do to go every week when there’s 3 of you.
Ragtag crew of airsoft!
“Hang on a minute, ” I hear you say. “There are 4 in that photo!”
Well spotted. Nik is the one taking the photo and alongside Jake (left) and Eliot (right) are 2 other friends who have also become addicted thanks to my lot. There are even more of them now too. I think the Gainsborough tally is now up to 7!
They’ll have their own club at this rate.
A christmas tree is supposed to have PRESENTS under it!!
A christmas tree is supposed to have PRESENTS under it!!
So anyway, apart from airsoft and a few van trips, what else has been going on?
Well, big news (although, for us, old new now) is that Jake decided he wasn’t coping with college. Under normal circumstances, I think he’d have excelled academically, but unfortunately, he had difficulties handling both the travel and the environment and, in an effort to avoid the problems we had in school, we decided it would be better for him to leave college for the time being. He’s only 16, and it’s something he can most definitely re-visit in the future if health allows.
College uniform all packed away for now
College uniform all packed away for now
Additionally, he was laid off at work due to the winter period being quiet, so he’s been helping us at home/work until he finds himself another job.
Fortunately, we’ve been fairly busy so he’s helpful occasionally!
Unfortunately, by the time he’d found out he was losing his job, we were too late to apply to any Christmas posts (we ask about a LOT, everything was filled already) so he’s been applying for any suitable jobs he can find. Him and a thousand other people.
So far, no luck. One warehouse job he applied for had had 700 other applications already, and that was just online applications!
What hope does a 17 year old have?
Ah yes, Jake turned 17!
Not only is that terrifying because he’s getting older (I, of course, am not!), but also it is expensive as we insured him on our car as well as upgrading his motorbike now that he can ride a 125cc.
And how he loves that bike!
Even in mid December (when his birthday is) he went out on it. And several times since, including Christmas Day!
My boy togged up for proper biking
My boy togged up for proper biking
The machine (a Yamaha YZF R125, if anyone is interested)
The machine (a Yamaha YZF R125, if anyone is interested)

It’s unfortunate that his birthday is in the winter really, because riding opportunities are few, but he goes when he can. I’m sure he’ll go more for leisure when it’s warmer and drier, but it gives him a form of transport if and when he needs it for work.

And, as he keeps reminding us, it’s MUCH cooler than a scooter!

So, we’re about updated I think.

We had a good (busy) Christmas and New Year. I’d (crazily) decided to host for my side of the family for Christmas dinner (something I usually actively avoid doing!) for once and we had the more extended side of my family (I don’t see them often as they don’t live in town) up for an afternoon between Christmas and New Year so I’ve done my hosting duties for the next decade, I reckon.

Actually, it wasn’t so bad.

But, no, I’m not doing it again this year.

Maybe…

15541330_10153984096846126_5400969716791816681_n

Before I go, a cheer-you-up piccie of our groomed prettyboy!