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