Cleaning, fixing, organising and packing, and we are finally... finally...pulling out the drive. We have all the usual holiday-in-the-van stuff plus some additional bits and pieces...the RIB and all the boat gear- radio, GPS, life jackets, first aid box, fuel cans; survey equipment- 30 m tape (salvaged from skip and fixed, in keeping with spirit of the project), bin liners, tape, notebook, form, tools, labels; electronic stuff and chargers for everything; stand up paddle boards, windsurfer, surfboards and swim fins; art and craft stuff, books, food; drysuits, wetsuits and scruffy clothes; knitting, midge hat and a folding stool... Everything is strapped and stowed and double checked. We are behind on our communication and will need to catch up later, but Action Optimist is on the road.
We stop at our friend's place for coffee before heading north. They hand roast coffee and are supporters of SAS Plastic Free Lymington, and they kindly stock up the van with coffee for the trip...our first sponsor! Thank you Coffee Mongers Coffee Roasters of Lymington. Nice to have the enthusiastic support too, especially right now as we recover from peak packing and are wondering if we are mad.
Calum and I chug along up the sun baked country, talking about the places we are hoping to visit in Scotland and about the value of making an effort, regardless of the scale of the impact. The grass is dry and brown, until about Newcastle where we see it looking a little greener, though the fields lack their usual damp mid summer lushness. The miles pass. And finally, we are at Nana Joyce's place, always a jolly and welcoming haven. The surrounding fields that at Christmas stretched to the horizon with Brussel sprouts are now waving in the evening sun with wheat.
It is good to be here.