Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Waiting Game

I continue to spend money in alarmingly large quantities, which is a very satisfying thing to do. The fact that it is all 'within budget' takes away some of the guilt normally associated with such frivolity, but it still makes me feel a bit dangerous.

Recent purchases include a multi-fuel stove, assorted camping accessories (including a very cool bit of kit that transforms my Thermarest into a surprisingly comfortable chair)and a sleeping bag.

That's not true - I haven't bought the sleeping bag yet - I decided on the one I want, after lengthy interrogation from the man at Snow and Rock, but they didn't have it in stock. I am going for a down sleeping bag (much lighter, less bulky and more expensive than synthetic) despite my apparent allergy to feathers. I have been assured by 'the man' that sleeping bags are made from entirely different quality feathers than those found in conventional duvets/pillows, which normally cause an allergic reaction. Seems like a bit of a gamble to me, but seeing as it only weighs 650g I'm prepared to take it.

The sleeping bag buying experience faced me with another 'I could talk all about my trip and try and get free stuff and more interest' situation that I ducked out of, partly due to my aforementioned shyness with such things, and partly, it has to be said, due to the state I was in from the night before. It also reminded me of just how diverse a trip this promises to be. I shall demonstrate:

The Man - "Can I help?"
Me - "Yeah. I'm looking for a new sleeping bag. Needs to be light and pack down small."
The Man - "Ok. What temperature does it need to go down to?"
Me - "Errr. I dunno."
The Man - "Where are you going?"
Me - "Well, Europe. I'll be in Greece in the winter - is it still hot then?"
The Man - "Dunno. Never been to Greece in the Winter."
Me - "I've heard they get snow in Athens."
The Man - "Right. How about we look at bags that go down to minus 2 degrees."
Me - "Ok. If you think so. I'll also be going to Norway - to the Arctic Circle."
The Man - "Right."
Me - "So I need a sleeping bag that can cope with Spain in the Autumn, Greece in the Winter and the Arctic Circle."
The Man - "Get out."

He didn't actually say that - he was very helpful, and I have, if you are at all interested, gone for a bag with a comfort rating down to minus five.

I also looked at GPS systems and have pretty much decided that I'm not going to get one. After another lengthy discussion with 'the man' it was fairly clear that they don't do anything. Well, they obviously do something, but nothing of any real use to me, I don't think. You can set points and plot a map so you can find your way back to wherever it is you want to go back to (the car, for example. Or a pub.), and it can give you a latitude and longitude of wherever you are in the World. Fair enough, but in reality not something which is going to be of any consequence to me. I think I will just stick with a map or two.

Finally, a bike update. Completion date was guessed at 'early May' when I ordered it and I have heard nothing since. I can only assume they are still waiting for the frame to be built. Either that or they've pocketed my deposit and are sitting on a beach in the Bahamas living the life of very well off criminals. It was only £250, though, so I doubt it.


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