Christmas, I salute you

I spent my childhood in a forces family, my dad being in the Royal Air Force.  He loved a bargain which meant our christmas presents when my brother and I were old / big enough were RAF-issue boots, hats and jumpers. All low cost to him (or possibly free, as at the end of their use for the cadets of that year).

We weren’t that thrilled to be honest. I wanted the latest album from Woolworths or a cassette player, I got chunky jumpers and high ankle,  solid marching boots. It did mean though that we were geared up nicely for the long sunday walks up in the Chiltern hills or along the grand union canal so I can thank him for the enjoyment of a good hike that stayed with me! It also meant our pocket-money (and allocated ‘rank’ – oh yes) was on a sliding scale depending on how well polished our boots were or how clean we kept our kit, but that’s another story 😉

Dad has just moved from a house up on a hill in yorkshire , which I walked over to a couple of times,  to one in the flatter surroundings of Nottinghamshire. His long route march days are past but it does mean he’ll maybe be more inclined to get out for long walks like he did at one stage.

So I had been thinking of ‘turning the tables’ on him and get him some military boots or a big chunky jumper / sweatshirt to encourage him and for some added nostalgia.

This week (as I’m slowly getting into christmas shopping mode) I got a serendipitous email from the marketing team at the Polimil online shop, who stock all kinds of kit, mostly of a military angle but also covering outdoors gear (naturally).

Like most active bloggers I get quite a few approaches but I say no to more offers to review or feature kit than I say yes to. That’s because this is a hobbyist / personal blog about something I love, not a commercial venture (I have a disclaimer notice on the site about that).  But the timing was spot on, it was a friendly and professional approach (not all are, surprisingly) and the Polimil site looks well stocked and user-friendly.

I spotted some trainers actually that would be better suited  for the old man than chunkier boots:

AND (being totally transparent)  I said I’d mention the site (having seen that it’s a good resource for all kinds of kit) if they donated to a great charity for rough sleeper / homeless people which I support – Simon On The Streets.

In other words, I’m personally not getting any financial gain or product from this, I’m passing the donation direct to SOTS.  And with (to my understanding) a correlation between some ex forces personnel and homelessness for a range of reasons, it also felt like the ‘right thing’ to do.

I’ve been thinking of walking across to my dad’s new house (in the spirit of walking to his last) .. but at 60 + miles I may have to plan it properly first!

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