What do you usually do on a Sunday afternoon? I bet I can guess for some of you. Mum - you might go with Linda for a coffee and a bun or a bacon sandwich at John Lewis, or if it's a nice day we might go to Lavender Farm to see the bunnies and ducks. Fi and Woodie - after a huge breakfast, I think maybe a bike ride or some general relaxing on the decking. Depends what the weather is like. Most Sundays, I would "potter about". On reflection, I really used to spend a lot of time "pottering". For those who don't use this word, it's basically a euphemism for "faffing around and wasting time".
What are you up to?
Not much, just pottering. Might go to the gym later.*
If I've ever said this, it means I'm maybe mucking about with my hair, tidying my room, doing some ironing, looking up useless things on Wikipedia which can't be trusted anyway because anyone can edit it, letting OCD get the better of me and re-alphabetising my shoes, cleaning my sink (ever since Gloss Paintgate of '99 it will never be truly clean, sorry Mum) or an activity that could easily be rescheduled should something better come along.
However, a few weekends ago in Canada I did something different. I held an actual gun, loaded it, and fired. And it was awesome. I didn't (and still don't) know much about guns; again I'd only ever used ones in computer games (Sidenote: It's getting slightly worrying how much of my life was played out on a computer. And I'm not even into World of Warcraft or anything like that. If I hire an Italian plumber soon or start throwing banana skins everywhere, please call for help).
We drove out to some woods and I first had a go at shooting what I am reliably informed is a 12 gauge shotgun. It weighed a ton and when you pull the trigger it pushes back on to your shoulder so hard it's actually a little bit painful. And it's really, really loud. But it's very, very enjoyable. I tried to shoot one of those clay discs, but that was impossible. Oh and I forgot to mention the smell. When you fire, a little bit of smoke wafts your way, and it is an oddly nice smell. It's like bonfire smoke mixed with dry metal.
Then I had a go with a smaller one - I think it was a .22 rifle (is that the right word?). This takes tiny bullets which are a bit fiddly to load but make a very satisfying plink when they hit something, such as the white plastic container I was aiming for. The only annoying thing is learning how to line up the little V-shaped groove at the top with what you want to aim for. I found it really difficult, but as you may or may not know I really like being the best at things (NOT THAT I'M COMPETITIVE IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER) so I sat there for a good half an hour trying to get better at it.
Lastly, I tried a type of rifle that sits on the floor. I think it was called a .223 and you have to lie down on your front to aim and shoot, JUST LIKE JACK BAUER DOES (Or Tony Almeida, who was always my favourite in 24, until he turned into a total shit**). Turns out that just like when I've played Halo, I'm better with this type of gun. It's really, really fun to line up the target (a metal plate) and hear the bullet whoosh towards it. Then if you hit it, you hear an awesome metal "clang".
So that's it. Earlier in the day we'd been to a driving range for the first time, which wasn't nearly as fun, because I was rubbish at it and kept worrying I'd hit the marmots that were lazing on the grass. (I didn't, because I could barely hit the ball, let alone get it further than about ten metres away).
* That part would usually be a lie
** Sorry if that's spoiled 24 for anyone, but the show's ancient so if you haven't watched it by now then... well I guess I just ruined it a bit for you. Or maybe I haven't. Maybe Tony doesn't turn bad. Maybe his facial hair WAS just a cunning ruse.