I am back. Not that I ever really leave the virtual world. A week off work, the first in quite a while. It was nice and the fun did beguile. Not much to say really. I see no need to talk about it beyond that I enjoyed myself and got a tan. I like flying and heat makes a refreshing change too. Really the reason for this little entry was just to thank all those who wished me well on my time off knowing I don’t get a lot of it. Thanks chaps and ladies. It was Club Tropicana and the drinks were free…my dancing was not videoed…just as well really.
Things are back off to a flying start though. What I am up to? Well click on these links to see.
The Ion Age
I had a great day on Saturday from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed late on after watching the taped new episode of Dr Who. Among the highlights I can share with the public the brightest was my trip to Collectormania 2014 in Glasgow. Its not often I get enough time together to do something like this but the trip had been planned for two weeks and I was raring to go. Why you ask..well for the chance to meet two childhood heroes of mine and the chance to get some new t-shirts too.
I got the shirts and as you can see above it was a smaller sized event, nothing like Salute at Excel in London, but that was good for me. It meant that there was virtually no que to wait in for an autograph and it meant that you could actually spent a bit of time talking to the person too. Sylvester McCoy is a really nice person and it was great to be able to speak to him. I did not mention the seventh Doctor once rather it was more a meeting of two men from the former region of Strathcylde. However for my good lady the star of the show was Dirk Benedict who took a real shine to her! After that he was quite happy to talk about the A-Team and his time as Starbuck too.
We got our autographs which my eldest son who came with us found quite funny. For you see I put no stock in religion or celebrity or anything else that is beyond my normal grasp as a Man. I take each on its own merits but actually conversing with these two put a grin on my face that he found amusing! I might well go back next year. I missed Sophie Aldred as she was only there today and not Saturday. Shame but there is always next time.
So I will finish on a last picture of my good lady with The Face Man as he was and still is known. Hands off mate…she’s mine!
Today was the start of a new school year here in Girvan for my three sons. The Thinker, The Poet and The Warrior donned their new uniforms and took up their new jackets (it is Scotland so it was cold in August!) and bags and headed for the class rooms. This is an occasion for celebration every year but this year there was an extra event as my eldest was now attending secondary school going from a big fish in a little pond to a minnow in a lake. So he headed off to Girvan Academy while the smaller two went back a year up to Girvan Primary. As you can see in the image here they looked very smart indeed which is due entirely to my loving wife and not I who has now not shaved in near a week!
As is the duty of all good fathers I asked each how their first day went. The replies were as follows starting with the youngest The Warrior. He said that school was cool, that music is now his favourite subject and that having a class smaller than last year made him happy. So a happy lad. The middle lad, The Poet, was more reflective and while musing over a new book of tales published in conjunction with the school (in which he had a full entry) said that he hoped it would be pacer quicker than last year as he liked a challenge. Now the eldest The Thinker looked all grown up in his shirt and tie and what did he think of his first day at a new school? With a weight of years he said it was a big change with many more subjects and a lot of new faces to get to know. He was most taken with the idea of responsibility in that he is now allowed out for lunch into the town as well as the canteen.
A big day then and it was a pleasure to see once more what fine lads they are and how they will make their parents justly proud in years to come.
I reached the needed one thousand asks and finally signed up for Facebook this week. I actually have been trying to avoid it due to the extra work involved. Those who know me know that I just have to answer every comment and email and message sent to me and sometimes it takes me literally hours each day. I do wonder sometimes if the old adage ‘if someone takes the time to write to you then you write back’ is meant to apply to the information age but in any event its what I do.
You can find me by searching Facebook for me as: Gavin B Syme.
As result of this taking up of Facebook I am making efforts to join up with communities on that platform and making friends too. By extension the weekly news, blog posts and product releases that I make from work are also going to feature on Facebook too. It will not take long for me to get as noticed as I am on Google Plus.
Aside from this the current heat wave that is going on in Scotland is making life sticky for me and its been a ruddy long day too. That being said that fact that we are so busy is a great thing and as I look towards the first birthday of my baby (that is The Ion Age not one of my actual children!) I am so proud of how well it is going. It seems that honesty, quality, service and pricing never go out of fashion. My good lady cheered me up by send me a picture this afternoon of the Poet and the Warrior having fun in the park in Girvan with the free kite display. These huge kites are easily 50 to 150 feet long and it really makes the sky line pretty in the 25c to 30c heat.
I waited until the day after, the morning after, my eldest son’s birthday to make this small blog post. The Thinker is now twelve and the time has passed so quickly it hardly seems real to me. He had a great day yesterday electing to travel to a local leisure pool and enjoy the flumes and fun with his family and close friends (it was also the first time that I have been down a flume in more than a decade!).
It was an important birthday for him in my eyes as it marks the start of his journey to adulthood and I will tell you why. The Thinker now has his own bedroom and has moved out of the shared room with his two brothers for the first time. That room has a brand new desk and book rack in it for his soon to start school work for secondary school after the summer holidays. He now has his first mobile phone which is an entry level model on a pre-pay contract meaning he can begin to interact with the digital world and learn those lessons too. As always I am humbled by the adoration that people have for my son who is a wonderful boy, always helpful and always polite. Cards, gifts and mementos came to him across the day. Even a great new cover for his new bed!
It will not be long before I am speaking about him becoming a teenager….
Happy Birthday my Son. From the very start and your first smile until each passing moment and your smiles of today you are the centre of my life.
I was invited to Glasgow University on the Wednesday of this week to be a part of my sister in law’s graduation from the university. I was honoured to be selected as tickets are rare and it meant I would once more be able to walk the halls of my old haunt and enter the illustrious Bute Hall for the ceremony. By an odd coincidence it was twelve years to the day after my own graduation from the university in exactly the same ceremony but this time I was able to see it from the outside without the gown and the mortar board.
The programme of events. We were lucky with a mild and dry day and it was really fantastic to see all the smiling faces full of accomplishment. I will admit it was a lot of deja vu on my part but I will avoid going into details. I had not been back to the university since 2002 but I keep in touch with letters and email. Its a place that holds and radiates its five hundred years of scholarship and its formed the minds of thousands who have shaped the modern world. I have done a lot since I graduation not least the public work I am known for but I have gotten married, bought two homes, had three children, travelled, wrote, thought and fought the good fight.
A view of the side of Bute Hall to give an idea of the scale of the stone work. My sister in law Kirsten Loy was the star of the day and trust me it only seems like yesterday when she applied to go to university. While some might argue the benefit of further education I can tell you from my perspective that you go in one person and come out another better one more suited to the rapidity of the world now and better to deal with it. So congratulations and I am so proud of you. I wait to see where you go now!
I will end with the above photo of Kirsten on the left and my good lady on the right. I am so lucky to be part of a world of such beautiful and talented women.
The school term has ended and the summer holidays begun here in South Ayrshire. Huzzah you might think but no. It means seven weeks or so of entertaining children and educating them yourself rather than the teachers. Teacher work so hard, they do. Really…I am not joking. In fact while I am working they are, when they are off for the whole summer…well I am still working. Anyway let me not suggest that education needs an overhaul bringing it into the modern world the rest of us live in let me instead brag a little about my three. The Thinker, the Poet and the Warrior did well this year and I reward them for that.
Society now seems in a fair bit of imbalance towards children but not in my home. Rewards and treats are earned. You get what you need and then your good behaviour and excellent performance combined with contributing ideas and thought in conversation gets your rewards. End of term means an accounting of those prizes earned in term time and I reward well. As the image above shows it was a good payout as a small pile of award stars, certificates and so on were presented to me. Well done you three!
While work prevented me attending the Queens Baton Relay today as it went through Girvan on its way up the coast and through South Ayrshire (well local big wigs get paid for standing in the sun and I don’t hey ho) my good lady got me some pictures and a little booklet. You can see the cover of the booklet above and a picture of the baton carrier who had done some good work for local children at Girvan Hospital below. It has been a lovely week of sunny weather and it shows in the pictures. Such a blue sky and the heat made for fine baton walking conditions.
My eldest son as a part of his class attended the event (one of the last things he had to do before his primary / elementary schooling ends for good in a week or so) and was given the distinction of carrying the flag for his class’s chosen commonwealth nation South Africa. He had a smashing time and a well deserved way to end his last little school year. Top of the class and a thoroughly nice child who is turning into a young man that I am rightly proud of to my core. Have a look below and check out that springing step and grin!
As for the Baton Relay itself I really don’t care about it but it was nice to see some crowds and smiling faces in the town. Interestingly enough when you read the baton booklet a sizeable piece of the text is given over to ‘Business Branding’. While it urges that everyone have fun and benefit from the relay it makes it clear that again and as always know your place. Don’t be naughty and try to make a few quid off the back of the games (just like the Olympics in 2012) as copyrights and brands are jealously guarded. While I agree and understand this after all big companies have paid big to advertise and we want to keep it clean it does make me grin falsely when I consider that a local person baking little cakes for 50p with the word’s ‘Queen and Baton’ on them to sell for an hour in their little town will be coshed all the same. Heck if I was to say the name of my employer and put it in this posting I would be breaking the law….gotta love sport eh.
Well got to get on….
Look for our 18 foot tall banner!
There is a week to go. It might be more than a week in actual time but with the drive down to London to take into account from here in Scotland the Salute 2014 wargame show will begin for me in one week’s time. Three days away from home and family and my one actual convention in person this year. Its been a year for re-structuring for the company and that includes our scale of commitment to Salute. We will be having a smaller stand and no demonstration game this year. Also since its the first time that my own baby The Ion Age has been in existence at this time of year the whole of the trade stand is being occupied by our fantastic 15mm science fiction range. That being said we are well under way for new websites, new resin production plant and some of the most kick ass products on the market.
The ramp up to Salute is one of the most busy times of my year and this year is no different. In fact it looks like its a record year for pre-orders for collection on the day (many of these are from Flintloque players and also fans of Alien Squad Leader) and if it keeps going we might have to leave some of the stock behind here to make room for packages! I am not overly surprised at the Alternative Armies pre-orders as this is the first time in my involvement in wargaming that a show I attend has no Flintloque at it. I got permission to make an excellent offer to fans including the expected discount but also a free brand new character miniature.
I have something a little different in mind too and the company will be making several new product releases at Salute 2014 on the day. These will be new codes which will be previewed just before the show on the relevant blogs and then released during the week following the show. Meaning those there on the day will get the first look and chance to buy. In fact the theme for the day is ‘Malig Madness…15mm Space Goblins’ so that is more than a clue plus for 15mm.co.uk I will have the entire brand new Loud Ninja Games range and two new packs purpose designed for the Human Colonial Army template in Alien Squad Leader 2.0.
I would be the first to admit that I am tired. I work hard, I work all the time but this event stokes it to the maximum. That being said I am super keen on going as I just love to shake hands and see all the people who make an effort to come along and see us or me personally. The day itself is also excellent with all of the traders and games put on with a lot to see. There is no bring and buy this year and I will be interested to see if the attendance is also down on last year. Over the last two weeks I have seen many more comments online than before about wargamers choosing not to attend.
In any event this will be my last posting here for a while and I will have no time for musing before the big day. If you are going along pop by the Alternative Armies stand and say hello…I will be the guy with the big smile and the Ion Age t-shirt on.
The Warrior takes on a dangerous foe!
Its ramping up towards Salute 2014 and that means, as every year, I have little free time. Only part of today in fact this week. So a quick run up to Ayr in the car to get some things. So there we were after all having hair cuts and buying many pairs of new shoes for school when walking up the high street we ended up in the middle of a sci-fi battle! As you can see in the picture the Warrior, my youngest son, had brought his water pistol with him (he must have an axe or something at all times as heads might needed hue’d from shoulders) and he needed it. There on the pavement was the galaxy’s greatest hunter looking for victims…well it found more than its four jaws could chew on with the Warrior!
Actually the Predator was collecting money for charity but it made the little guy’s day and he posed for the picture (they told me they wanted to use it on their website so I said fine). Enjoy the picture and avoid the phrase for the handsome looking chap to the rear left sporting a Snake Plissken t-shirt ‘you are one ugly mother funker’….I am not!
My original posting for today was going to be something either on the first successful prosecutions in the UK for female genital mutilation (about time..isn’t tolerating cultures despite what they do awesome) or about the endless coverage of the missing plane (so much coverage I don’t even have to tell you which one) or Kate Bush touring again for the first time since 1979 (no tickets left damn!). Perhaps even about my continuing obsession with Snake Plissken (I know have the movies, the book, the t-shirt and the action figure mint in box) or my new copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to replace the battered one that just fell apart on the twentieth reading. But this was way more fun.