After my long walk on Tuesday I spent the rest of the week catching up on chores including a huge pile of ironing, pulling yet more weeds, and being creative with needle and thread. First, I made a newspaper pattern from a favourite pair of shorts. These are made of black linen, not a suitable fabric to be stuffed in a rucksack for five weeks. I made up a new pair from some tie-dye denim that was in my store cupboard. I then turned inventive and devised a way I could cut down my neoprene ipad cover to fit my lovely shiny new ipad mini (I am so in love with this new toy) and hang it from my bum bag so that it will be convenient to use as a camera during my travels.
Already my daughters are totally ashamed of me for my occasional use of the bum bag. I bought it for my trip to the Far East last year and it was so useful that it never left my hips. I have since discovered that it is an excellent way to smuggle extra hand luggage onto my frequent flights to the UK, either by concealing it under a coat in the winter or hiding it within a cardigan or scarf in the warmer weather. I used to always transfer the contents to a handbag when I reached my daughter’s house, but now I sometimes don’t get around to this and just carry the bum bag over my shoulder. Rosie hates it as much as Ella did. I am looking forward to Ella’s comments when she sees me wearing it with my ipad hanging from it – it is after all a mothers duty to embarrass her daughters at every opportunity!
I also made a clip fastening to attach my water bottle to the waist strap of my rucksack so that it doesn’t fall to the ground when I undo the strap.
I spent Saturday morning doing the final assembly of everything I am taking with me. Again, I have been quite creative with packing. Weight is the ‘be all and end all’ of backpacking travel, and I have cut everything to a bare minimum. I have decanted moisturiser, serum, face wash and hair oil into the little plastic containers that come in hair dye kits in which the protective gloves are packed (David likes to keep his hair a certain shade of grey, so we have plenty of these containers!!). I have also used these to store a supply of painkillers and glucosamine tablets, and all of these, together with a couple of small tubes (eye serum and the ‘never to be without’ eight hour cream) fit into a cotton bud box.
My only makeup is an eyeliner pencil and some lipstick which I may feel like putting on after a shower at the end of a long walk. My great luxury is my small 10x magnifying mirror with integral light and a pair of tweezers. All my other toiletries fit neatly into a sponge bag.
Walking clothes include
Lightweight waterproof jacket
two pairs of zip off trousers
Home made denim shorts
Merino wool T-shirts, two short sleeve and one long sleeve
Duck down body warmer that can double as a pillow
Fleece sleeves (I decided I didn’t need the complete garment but the sleeves would be useful)
Merino wool underwear x 2
Bras x 2
Smart wool Hiking socks x 2
Merino sock liners x 2
1000 mile socks x 1
Fleece gloves and liners
Home made visor, using peak from baseball cap and a portion of buff
Buff (multipurpose head/neck gear to keep heat in or out)
I also purchased but have not packed some Chaco walking sandals, they are just too heavy
Beautiful silk skirt (which can double as a tent to get changed under!)
Cashmere cardigan (one I bought in a sales years ago and have hardly worn)
Silk scarf (that I bought for Rosie in India, but it goes so perfectly with my skirt that I have temporarily borrowed it)
Underwear x 1
Crocs (pretty ones). Never worn them before, they are so comfy
Extras packed at last minute: vest top, lightweight cargo pants
Treated with bed-bug spray
– Backpack (Osprey Exos 34 ltr)
– Lightweight mummy shape sleeping bag
– Silk sleeping bag liner
– Under sheet (to put over the mattress on arrival at hostels to keep any bugs at bay)
Backpack rain cover
Walking poles (Pacer poles)
Camelback (water bladder that sits in back of pack with tube for drinking – I’m not keen on using this and might send it home if I don’t use it much
Reflective hi-viz vest, cut into quarters, two pieces each to pin front and back when walking on road
Light weight water proof bag – multipurpose for evening use, laundry bag, etc
Small headlight for early morning starts before daybreak (and for finding way to loo after lights out)
Elastic washing line and safety pins to hang washing, piece of rubber for sink stopper
Tiny microfibre towel and strip of towel for hair
Dry bags to pack and compress clothes in backpack
Waterproof money belt
Water bottle holder
Kitchen knife, ice cream tub lid for cutting food on, stainless steel mug, Spork (spoon/fork)
iPhone 3gs & cable
iPad mini & cable
Double USB charger plug
Amusing the iphone and ipad as camera to save weight
Total weight of packed backpack is just under eight kilos, not taking account of water and food
So that’s it, all packed and ready to go.
After my bon voyage party on Saturday we continued with our great friends Malcolm and Christine to eat at Curro’s, where they consistently serve the best fillet steak a available, cooked to perfection. Christine and I crossed over at Malaga airport when I returned from Bristol on 14 March and she was travelling to Bristol to see family and unexpectedly stayed away for five weeks. so it was great to see her at last before I left on my travels.
Sunday was spent pulling yet more weeds from our drive with Liana below us calling out for me to throw all the grass in her direction. David came out to help and suddenly I saw him jump in the air and his shoe flew across the garden. When I looked round I saw a large (10-12 cms) centipede scuttling across the drive. At first I thought it was funny until I realised David had been bitten and it was very painful. Luckily we had some suitable medication in the house, but he suffered for several hours and it was still sore this morning.
Anyway, David dropped me at Malaga airport this morning at 08:30 in plenty of time for my first flight to Paris CdG. Because I cannot take my walking poles on as hand luggage I have put everything in an old suitcase and checked it in, and I shall safely dump the case when I arrive at my destination.
I am now waiting in Paris for my flight to Biarritz where I have to get a taxi to St Jean Pied de Port and meet up with Ella. I am well and truly on my way!