Stage Two

Home made crayfish trap


Posted on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 14:59 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

New Address

It took a little longer than planned to get things up and running with Off-grid but now things are up and running, from now on the blog will be here I believe it will be possible to get RSS updates (whatever they are).


See ya over there.

Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007 at 13:21 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments2 Comments


I think I mentioned previously that this blog will be moving to, well that move is happening tomorrow, I'll post the link here.

Thank you for reading

Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 at 13:57 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference


Inspired by last night's Rugby match I welcomed the dawn today with more focused and determined than ever to succeed in walking across South America coast to coast. Before I continue I should mention that when I say welcomed the dawn I mean to say I got up at eight and had a bowl of Frosties, I did think of opening this blog entry with

"Inspired by last nights Rugby match I got up at eight and had a bowl of Frosties more focused and determined than ever to succeed in walking across South America coast to coast."

It just doesn't have the punch of "welcomed the dawn". I suppose if I had been totally truthful I would have had to mention that I set my alarm for eight and then lay in bed until about nine before getting up and having some Frosties. I suppose all of this might well lead the discerning reader, yes you, to think that I wasn't so much focused and determined as a bit lazy. However in my defence I shall say that; it is Sunday, it doesn't get light here until about eight and I did go straight to work once I had eaten, and had a cup of tea, and a bit of a chat. I did embark on the day's task - leveling off the floor of the cellar with a pick axe and carting barrow loads of stones about the place, with gusto.

I worked out as I lay in bed last night that I can stay working in Spain until the beginning of December, this should give me the opportunity to learn a little of the language, build up a reasonable base level of fitness and start to get me used to undertaking physical activity in a warm environment. All of these things being things being handy for an attempt at walking across South America. In mid December I can go to the Alps to work and take up cross country skiing and do a bit of trekking. Cross country skiing at altitude will be perfect low impact physical training to get myself properly fit for the challenge ahead. Trekking (running up and down bit's of off piste mountain with a back pack on) will not only help with fitness but will teach me some of the skills I will need for crossing the Andes.What I think I will not be able to do though is go skiiing, I am still not fully recovered from the injury I picked up last year and I don't want to set off into the jungle carrying an injury.

Work in the Alps will finish in April so they it would be a matter of coming back to the UK, working on my survival skills (living off the land and the like), route planning, general administration and publicising the Mission so as to maximise the amount of money raised for Rainforest Concern.

Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 11:31 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments2 Comments

Not impressed

I just received an email from my old flat mate, tales of chauffer driven Bentleys, dancing girls and champagne were told. Somehow eating fruit from the tree and swimming in a river for a living seems less idyllic today.

Posted on Friday, October 12, 2007 at 16:01 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments3 Comments

Top tip

So after a morning spent laying foundations and investigating the hitherto unknown hair styling properties of liquid concrete I have a couple of minutes spare in which to write, not that there is a lot to report but I do have a handy hint to share.

Handy hint.

When trying to ascertain the direction the wind is blowing in order to attempt to predict changes in the weather it is sometimes necessary to sprinkle dust into the air to see which way it is blown. This technique can be adapted to work at night when the dust is tricky to see by holding a hand full of dust up to the moon or some such light source before releasing the dust. Should you find yourself blinded by the dust it is fair to assume that the wind is coming on a bearing from the light source to your watering eyes.

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2007 at 14:17 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments3 Comments


They say that you can't eat olives right from the tree on account of the fact that they need to go through some form of process before you can eat them; they are right - olives straight from the tree taste like dog poo. Not that I have tasted dog poo you understand but I do have a reasonable sense of imagination.

Yesterday we went down to the river to try to catch catfish, a piece of chicken the size of my foot was chosen as bait and we sat back to wait. I asked how long the fish would be eating the chicken for before it got to the fish and was rather shocked to discover that it would be taken in one. Catfish can be 150lb and the size of me. We waited some more, then some more, it got dark apparently dusk and dawn are the best times to catch catfish. It got darker as we waited, after a bit more waiting we went and ate some chips with pie rather than fish. Apparently the key to fishing is patience, I expect I'll be good at it - sitting around doing nothing is something that I mastered during my degree.

This afternoon there wasn't much work to do as we were waiting for a delivery of materials that would be with us in "15 minutes" so I went down to the river with my knife and the aim to learn stuff. There was lot's of bamboo so after doing the obvious - making a spear and loosing it - I thought that I should do something a bit more practical so set about making some rope. To do this I took three bamboo leaves, weighed them down under a rock and wove them together, adding fresh leaves to the mix as they ran out. Soon enough I had a length about two feet long, would it be any good? The only way to find out was to subject it to a tension test; grabbing hold of either end of the rope I subjected it to a gentle tug and was pleased to find that I was now the proud owner of two ropes each a foot long. It seems that there was a weak spot in the design as the two lengths then held together just fine. Pleased with my success I thought it would be wise to put the rope to the test.

There was plenty of bamboo that had been cut down littering the bank and a river in front of me, it seemed the perfect opportunity to start developing the skills needed for jungle river crossings, there being quite a few of those in my future. I'm not a strong swimmer and am in fact still a bit scared of water so it was no little hesitation that I gathered up a big bundle of bamboo, made some more rope and tied the bamboo together with it. A quick test of the depth of the river with a length of bamboo revealed that whilst it was not deep the mud was  so soft as to make the depth somewhere over my head. There was also a lot of weeds, weeds that could grab hold of my leg and hold me under just like I was taught at school. It wasn't a happy bunny who flung the bamboo floatation device into the river and lowered himself in but it was a happy bunny who didn't sink into the mud and found the water to only come up to chest height, at this point I remembered that my foot was the same as the piece of chicken we used as bait yesterday. I opted to board the floatation device immediately so as to lift my feet from the floor as quickly as possible.  I wasn't that impressed with the floatation device; it sank. So I contented myself to swimming around in the shallows for a bit before dragging the bamboo.

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at 19:18 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments4 Comments



I'm in Spain and I have to say, and I hope that I'm not gloating, that it is very lovely over here. The weather is currently like that of an English summer. That doesn't mean that it is raining but that it is nice and hot but not too hot, there is not a cloud in the sky. I'm here for two months and as well as learning to fish and picking up a bit of Spanish I'm helping to renovate a 350 year old house and massive garden. I'm living in a caravan in the garden which is kept from getting too hot by both being placed in the shade of an orange tree and by the cunning use of a desert camouflage net held aloft on a large gazebo frame. I can pick oranges from my front door in the morning, or I will be able to when they are ripe, currently they are still green but they smell oh so good when the skin is bruised with a thumb nail. For the time being I am having to make do with pomegranates which I have learnt are best to pick when they become so ripe that the skins burst open.

Also to be found in the garden are a large number of peach trees, sadly the season for them has past, a couple of olive trees and two large fig trees.The neighbours bring over tomatoes, cauliflowers and whatever is in season and they have an excess of. It all seems to be a rather idyllic lifestyle. My caravan is partly powered by solar and I hope to have it running completely off the sun by the time I leave.

Bit tired, hard work in the sun will do that to a person I believe, now a cold beer in the shade of a tree beckons.

First fishing lesson tonight.

Posted on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 14:21 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Once more into the breach

I have to go to Scotland with work tomorrow, this is indeed a terrifying prospect. Scottish Mike comes from Scotland and he manages to cause enough chaos all by himself, I can't imagine how I will survive for three days surrounded by an entire country full of his sort. Mike came to visit a while back and I am glad to say that behaviour was restrained and that at no point did we get involved with a gorilla theatre group, annex an empty drama studio having gained entrance to the university by the simple expedient of saying hello to the security guards, assist with their rehearsals by reading lines or going on regular beer runs. What we did do though was happen upon a cafe we had visited once when he came to visit the first time I lived in London. I suppose it is a bit rich to say that we happened upon the cafe, I live right next door to it and I said something along the lines of


"Let’s go to that cafe where we came up with THE plan". There was a fair amount of intention in the going to cafe and not a lot of happening across. In fact in the end we didn't even go to the cafe as it seemed a bit silly to pay for a cup of tea when I could just make some for free using all this running water and electricity that I have nowadays. We did lean out of the window as far as possible so that we could gain a glimpse of the cafe past the crepe stall. The cafe you see, has great significance for that is the cafe where we came up with the plan to travel all the way around the world without any money and it was there that Mike bought a bike from an Italian, for the purpose of travelling around the world on, and then we somehow ended up sharing an apartment in what turned out to be a brothel with a chap who turned out to be a drug smuggler. When we escaped that situation Mike ended up surprising the Italian by leaving the bike chained to a railing in the main square of the Italians home town and then phoning him to tell him to come and fetch it. If one measures success in terms of achieving targets then that trip wasn't hugely successful, we failed to travel around the world for free, we did manage to get to Greece and spend a lot of money. After that the idea of living in the woods for a year seemed positively sensible and indeed it was around that time that the idea of spending time living in a jungle came up, originally it was going to be in the north of Thailand, then it was going to be Costa Rica because the surfing is good there and now somehow the plan has morphed into it's current incarnation; walk across South America. I think I preferred the Costa Rica plan; that involved living on the beach and surfing. Not, I hasten to add that living on the beach is all that comfortable, I tried that in the Caribbean once and it didn't all go entirely to plan.


So through these various misadventures and excitements I have ended up sitting here in a comfortable flat in a fashionable are of London plotting the next trip and questioning the wisdom of moving out of said nice flat in order to pursue a hair brained scheme to try to help save the rainforest. I had come up with a genius plan to raise money for the trip but, there is always a but, having had a bit of experience of using ebay now, ebay was central to the plan, I have decided against that plan as ebay have managed to instill in me not one jot of confidence in their abilities. So I have now moved from plan A (find a backer to pay for the expedition), through plan B (make a fortune on ebay) and end up with plan C which as I mentioned the other day is to earn loads of money and fund the trip myself. Possibly the idea of putting in an honest days toil in order to gain financial remuneration is not the most original idea I have ever come up with but it is an idea that seems to work. I have found a reasonably well paying job that should allow me to save the required amount of cash in a few months time, the only problem is that the work is relatively seasonal so it won't start until the spring; this of course means that there will be yet more delays to the off date. However it does give me the winter months with which to do something productive.


For the next two months I will be living in Spain, learning to fish and hopefully learning some Spanish that kind of sounds productive to me.



Posted on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 18:44 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments2 Comments

Chip Chip

What Ho readers

I have of late been taking full advantage of my current domestic arrangements by watching Jeeves and Wooster on youtube, it has rather permeated into my speach pattern. Why only yesterday I had to explain to the chap in the newsagents that What Ho is not a magazine title but a greeting and then I had to really underline the point that I was not looking for any specialist titles just a pint of milk. When I do extract myself from the happy world of P.G. Woodehouse I find myself in a world that is rather mundane, but occasionally beautiful.

The day after I moved in, for example, the boiler gave up boiling and despite a few phone calls to the landlord and a plumber nothing happened until eventually the landlord came out on Friday and tinkered with the thing for half an hour before concluding that it didn't work. He announced that it is not possible to get a plumber over the weekend (translates to I'm not going to pay extra to get a plumber out at the weekend) so we would have to wait until Monday. On Tuesday afternoon I arrived back from the newsagents with a pint of milk and the promise of "I'll get a copy of What Ho in for you sir, just in case" ringing in my ears to find two gentleman standing in the kitchen muttering at the boiler. I took them to be plumbers and was mightily confused when they turned down my offer of tea, I was concerned for a moment that they were not tradesman at all but soon enough the boiler was fixed. Having bid the fellows farewell I was soon enjoying a hot shower in my own flat, the first time this has occurred for a very long time, to celebrate the occasion I spent a considerable time in the shower, gone are the days of washing in a bowl of hot water; at least for the time being. Life has indeed become pretty mundane when the only thing of note to happen is the boiler getting fixed. I suppose I could regale you with the excitement of the queue in the post office / bank / building society and the ensuing conversation with zombie eyed individuals who find it difficult to muster enough enthusiasm to spout the soul destroying company policy that ultimately results in the realisation that the afternoon has been wasted because sir does not have form 35C with him.

Today I am about to embark on a world tour of places beginning with S. I have to go to Southampton tonight, Scotland on Sunday, Stanstead next Sunday and then Spain, I might also find myself in Switzerland at some point.  I will be in Thruxton and Hammersmith as well over the next couple of weeks, why all this travelling? Well sadly I find myself in a position of financial inadequacy so I'm having once more to dip my toe into the painful world of gainful employment. It struck me a while back that had I spent all the time and effort that I spent on looking for backers for the project on actually working I would have raised the money long ago. So there it is, off to work I go.





I don't have any new photogrphs of woodland activities but I do have one of myself  (cunningly and rather convincingly disguised as a Mexican) with a Wood Elf. Tom assured me that he was a wood elf and who am I to disagree?






Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 12:57 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments6 Comments
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