Monday, 28 June 2010

The bit where you get your wallets out

Just a week to go until my adventure begins. Hopefully it will be your adventure too as you read of tales of derring-do, of wrestling with bears and border officials, while marvelling at pictures from exotic places around the world such as ... erm ... the North Sea, for starters.

In return for all this excitement and enlightenment, I'm asking you to help me raise money for Oxfam through my JustGiving page. It's a really easy online payment, your money goes straight to Oxfam and here's a link below:

You could make a single donation or sponsor me for each new country or new continent that I cross. Perhaps my former colleagues could donate the money raised from the next fundraising event or dress-down day. Family and friends who normally shower me with expensive gifts at birthdays and Christmas might want to donate that money instead while I'm away. Whichever you decide to do, please give generously. Thank you.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The apprentice

Last week I had the chance to swell the kitty for the big bike ride by working as an apprentice for a couple of days - not for Sir Alan but for my friend, Graham, who needed a builder's mate to help him with a renovation job. I now know my swept Ts from my bends and my compression reducers from my bib tap adaptors; I even got to drill some holes.

However I was a bit disappointed that neither IrnBru nor a pie made any appearance at lunchtime. Glasgow readers should note that had a pie been served, it would not have been as "pie in a roll", the west coast speciality. As this is an Edinburgh builder, it would have been served naked or with a soupcon of tomato coulis.

At the end of the day, I think my efforts were more "DIY SOS" than "Grand Designs", so I think Sir Alan would definitely be saying "you're fired".

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Life's lessons

I'm hoping that my round-the-world bicycle adventure will allow me to experience amazing landscapes, meet wonderful people and teach me many lessons about myself and the world.
Something has happened before I even begin my trip which has brought into focus one of life's lessons - that your loved ones are the most important thing in life. So I'm delaying the start of my trip just a little to spend some time with mine before I go.
I'm also hoping that the adventure will be a springboard to a new career on my return. In fact, I have a chance to try out a new career before I go . . . something very different to my PA job . . . more boiler suit than sharp suit . . . where I'll be popping out for an IrnBru rather than a skinny latte . . .

Thursday, 3 June 2010

A bike called . . .

"They're that sort, you know, if they were at the Last Supper they'd order chips."

That's one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite films, Shirley Valentine, and I was reminded of it recently.

You see, I have a confession to make, an embarrassing secret to reveal. I give my bicycles names! That may seem to you like a quaint little thing to do (or something that needs psychiatric analysis) but the lone, long-distance cyclist needs a companion of sorts. Give your bicycle a name and it becomes a companion of sorts! Imagine being on the most desolate road in Wester Ross as darkness descends; you're trying to fix a punture in rivers of rain while being molested by midges; not only have you eaten your last bit of coconut ice but you've just realised that you've missed the one hour this century when the Spar in Achiltibuie is open. Well, you can take it all out on your bike, Mr Boo!

I've taken to naming my bikes after characters from favourite films so I've decided to call my new Thorn Sherpa that will take me around the world, Shirley, after Shirley Valentine. In the film she sets out to change her life and achieve her dream of travelling. It's a film that is at times funny and at times poignant, with a brilliant script and wonderful characters. If you've never seen it or not watched it recently, why not dig out a copy.

Oh, and Mr Boo? He's the toe-curling comedian in Little Voice . . . "I went out with a blow-up woman once . . . I had to let her down gently."