Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Having emailed Pocketmail to reactivate my account on 22 March, I'm a little concerned that they don't appear to have done so yet. I need them to do this so that I can post to this blog each day. It's annoying to say the least. I think they're a small firm in the USA. They have a customer service department. I can email them and I get an automated response saying a representative will deal with my request in 2-3 days. I'd really like to speak to a real person who can probably deal with my request by simply pressing a button. Oh well, maybe it will get sorted in the next day or so.

I had a little play with a friend's Blackberry at the weekend. A lovely piece of kit. I'd love one and I did a test posting to this blog (which I removed immediately) and it worked a treat. I'm not sure I could do long postings using its tiny keyboard and I'd still be dependent on a mobile signal but it would be fun to have one. The cost and tie-in to a 24 month contract makes it a non-starter.

Pocketmail, get your act together!

Friday, 27 March 2009

My other blog

Not much time to post at the moment, what with work and getting ready for the trek. Here's a link to a blogette of a walk I did from Siena to Rome in 2004 http://litehiker-italianjourney.blogspot.com/. I wrote a daily account and it seems a shame not to post it for the world to see.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

How not to be eaten alive

Having said that I'll not be using a tent but a tarp (or what I call a "less than a tent"), I've been asked about what happens when I get to Scotland and encounter the infamous Scottish midges, the sort that can see and smell you from miles away and swoop in to feast. Well, I'd thought about that and below is a photo of the bug nest that attaches to the tarp which will hopefully keep me intact.

I'll have it sent on to me as I approach Scotland.
Donations to my charity, MS Research and Relief Fund are coming in well. People are so generous. I'm now over half way to my target. Thank you to everyone who's supported me so far.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

LEJOG kit list update

A few changes have been made. First, I'm not taking the tent. Instead, I'll take my tarp with a bivi bag.

I was seduced by the net weight saving of 1.75lb. I've resealed the seams, as I was being dripped on during a recent rainy trip so now it's good as new. I've bought a pair of Pacerpoles, having been persuaded by good reports of them by others. I've had a pair of Leki poles for a while but one has seized up so that it's only any good as a tarp support.
The main tasks now before I go are:
1. Final check of the route. In particular, I want to make sure that I pass a food shop not less than every three days where possible. This will be mainly to buy food for lunches.
2. Identify places for resupply parcels to be posted to. This will be food (breakfasts and evening meals) and map sheets. No more than a week between these, sometimes less.
3. Assemble resupply parcels.
4. Print out maps.
5. Activate the Pocketmail for mobile blogging.
For anyone new to these pages, a Pocketmail is rather old technology and is a portable email device. It can send and receive text only messages. I shall post to this blog with it. It's supposed to work with any 'phone but I've never been able to get it to work with a mobile 'phone. Therefore, I have to find either a payphone or a landline. This isn't a problem. I'll activate it for the minimum period of three months. It's a bit clunky, weighing over eight ounces but the obvious alternative is a mobile 'phone that sends emails but I don't want to incur the cost of this (outright purchase or contract) and I find that getting a signal with a mobile 'phone is very hit or miss. I shall have a 'phone with me but it's only a very basic one.
The Pocketmail doesn't need regular charging either. It uses two AA batteries and a coin cell backup battery. All batteries last for ages. I bought the device on Ebay just before my Coast to Coast walk in September 2008 and used it daily for two weeks. The same batteries are in it now. I shall take spares. The coin cell battery is an unusual one and quite hard to find.

The food is now all ready to be parcelled up. Here is a rather bad photograph of some of it.