It was the boys’ birthday at the end of January and we bought them a day out at Wildwoodz in the Black Isle, just outside Inverness. Whatever they may tell you (including stories about driving quads over mountains and how they’re going to get knives/guns/tattoos for their tenth birthday) they’re not old enough to play paintball so laser tag is the less painful alternative and this are what we booked them. They were dead keen!

We arrived on site and it was freezing. I flapped about and tried to get them to put on more clothes and everything like a proper step mother, spitting on a tissue to better rub in the smuts on their faces. Each was given a camouflage overalls thing and shown how to use the gun; each gun has a trigger, a reload button and a name which appears on the screen – my heart went out to the boys as they were shown the name on the screen as they’ve never got the hang of the whole reading/writing thing and they just looked at us with blank eyes when Mr Paintball man held the gun up to their noses.

It was cold and misty and they were put in a group with big boys – teenagers! They looked so little and camouflage-y…

And then we were told we could leave…. Leave them behind! With laser guns! The wee boys! So leave we did, silently trudging up the drive to the car, hoping they were going to have fun and worrying that we’d just paid £20 for them to get cold and miserable and dejected. Is this what being a mother really means?

At 2pm on the dot, we were back in the carpark, crossing fingers that it was all ok – they hadn’t called us, there were no ambulances. We heard the laser guns being fired, shouting and whistles. ‘You can just head straight in’ said Mr Overall so in we went. Obviously. they had an amazing time, the only bad thing being that we forgot to leave their lunch (how could I?) and that Innes got mad cos Logan kept shooting him.

Logan killing Innes... again

Logan in action!

Innes' pops up looking for revenge

Innes dies dramatically

Innes, having finally killed Logan

Hurrah for Lasertag! I want to have a go….

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