Two days

Two days I spent in the woods, no battery in my radio, no torch, just me, my thoughts and the rain. It was the kind of experience that could very easily have tipped me into a spat of depression, what with it being so boring and wet. Fortunately though I knew to keep my self busy. So the first thing I did was solve the mystery of the missing slugs, they were in my bed - that was nice. The next morning I discovered that I only had two tea bags to last the two days, I rationed myself to one bag a day and made two cups out of each bag. I guess I'm going to have to get used to rationing things as it appears that Tesco's metro have yet to make inroads into the rainforest, it'll come.

Now of course one can't have tea without water so not having any was a bit of an issue, fortunately though it was raining so I lay out a piece of tarpaulin and waited for it to fill, and soon there was a big pool of brown water. I tipped this out figuring that the dirty water was a result of the rain washing the grime from the tarpaulin and that the second filling would be cleaner. So I swooshed the water about for a bit to get rid of any left on grime and emptied the water down my boot, resisting the urge to swear I gently laid the tarpaulin out again and waited for the water to gather. It stopped raining. This gave me the opportunity to do a number of things including, gather fire wood and place it by the fire to start to dry, pace up and down a bit and get a headache. Fortunately it started to rain again and it mostly didn't stop again for the next 18 hours so before I knew it I had enough water for tea, a wash, shave and to make bread and a stew.

For a little while I sat huddled in the shelter I had hastily made when I got back from Italy but before long it was all getting too cramped so I pulled it down and made a better one. All in all it was a rather soggy affair so I went for a walk, well I tried to go for a walk but something caught my eye. A snail (snail A) had climbed up a tree to a branch that was at about my head height, it was upside-down and heading towards the end of a twig, there would be no turning round! What would happen, maybe I would be the first person to witness a snail take wing and fly. It was exciting stuff, I waited with baited breath, that is to say I went and had my second cup of tea and returned just as the snail reached the end of the twig. It stopped, waved it's tentacles for a bit and then engaged in attempting an audacious U turn that would not have looked out of place on any self respecting minister's C.V. After a couple of minutes of this it became clear that it wasn't going to have much success and a closer inspection revealed a hitherto unsuspected lack of aerodynamic qualities and so I moved the creature to a nearby leaf. At this point it withdrew into it's shell and refused to come out again even when tempted with a bourbon cream.

I was about to set off once again when another thing caught my eye, another snail (snail B) on the same tree was climbing downwards! So that was a mystery solved, snails don't fly - as shown by snail A above - they climb back down the tree. This is proper science this is. More interestingly I noticed another snail (snail C) also making a descent and I couldn't help but notice that what with the effects of gravity and all that both snails where moving at quite a pace. What we had here was a gambling opportunity par excellence, I bet snail A the last bourbon that snail B would be the first to make it to the ground. A hush came over the woods as all attention was focused on the race, snail B (who admittedly started off in the lead and was bigger) was making headway and snail C's heart just didn't seem to be in it. Before you knew it Snail B was five lengths ahead with one meter left to go when suddenly out of nowhere it got dark and I went to bed. I never did find out who won but I can tell you this, you can keep your television and your so called DVDs, when you compare them to life in the woods they just don't cut the mustard.

Travel story of the day is by Tom Bullough and is here  Tom has a new book out, details here.

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 16:53 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Exclusively to

Be The Jam


The Da Vinci Snail


A true story by Notional Sherlock.

You'll be amazed!

"I was amazed" Mrs Miggins, 13 High St, London.

"A cracking read" The Pope, No 1 The Vatican. 

"This will shake the very fabric of reality" Steven Hawkins.

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 11:36 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

An uneasy peace

I returned home last night having spent the weekend Saturday night in London to discover that it had been windy whilst I was away. I was aware of this because the wind had blown the rain into my shelter thus soaking my sleeping bag. It hadn't been all that windy though, if it had been the rain would have come in horizontally and my sleeping bag would just have been wet, as it was in order to achieve it's objective of soaking my bedding the wind had to bounce the rain off the ground so kicking up dirt, leaves etc and ensuring that my bed was not just cold and wet but filthy. Happy days.

This morning I was awoken by an uneasy silence, something was wrong, I looked around and could see nothing and for a moment I didn't realise the significance of this for what it was I wasn't seeing was slugs. There were none of them! Had they drowned? Been blown away or where they plotting a surprise attack? When I did eventually worm my way out of the sleeping bag that had by now dried from my body heat and into the cold rainy world in order to stagger around bleary eyed and question the practicality of my living arrangements I encountered no slugs. There were snails though, high up on the trees as usual. Perhaps the slugs have drowned and the snails have learnt to avoid such a fate by taking to the skies.

Apparently cutting down the rainforest is a bad thing! Look see it says so in The Independent

Thanks to Sameold for the link




Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 at 15:03 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Slugs II This time it's personal.

I thought I had out smarted the slugs and their horrific tendency to ooze between my toes as I walk about the place with the simple expedient of wearing shoes but as always they were one step ahead of me, a suicide slug lay in ambush in the bottom of one of my shoes this morning, I wasn't wearing shoes. Once again one was absailing from the ceiling. 


Today I are be mostly unimpressed.  

Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 17:14 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments1 Comment

Good news

Yesterday as well as sitting in the rain listening to people going on and on about Tony Blair I also managed to amuse myself by questioning exactly what I was doing with my life. For instance one could take the fact that I have spent the last week and a half working pretty solidly on the expedition and got no further forward than having raised about £6 as not being a huge success, had I been working I might perhaps have been able to earn more than that. Thoughts such as that cheered me up no end. However, today upon opening my email I was greeted with good news indeed. Brunton, have given the Expedition a significant discount on any kit that is needed, seeing as they have some excellent pieces of kit in their catalogue I am very happy about this, best of all they make the solar panel that is needed to power the travel guide. This has buoyed my spirits no end. Hooray for Brunton.

According to the stats on the Solar Panel it is possible to charge a lap top (without the need  for a 12v battery) in 4 - 8 hours. Under the sun at the equator I would imagine 4 hours would do it, unless of course one was under a thick canopy of leaves.





Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 at 17:40 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments1 Comment

Champion the Wonder Slug

Raining, that's what it's been doing, raining raining raining. Did you notice? Did you spend all day outside with not much in the way of shelter to protect you from the rain? You would have been wise not to I can tell you. At least I had a radio to listen to, hours and hours of analysis of Tony Blair's legacy and resignation speech, and rain. Lots of rain. Some might think such a situation might be a little, well, depressing, some would be wrong. Why there is nothing I enjoy more than getting wet, breathing smoke and listening to politics. When it got too dark to see I was positively besides myself with joy. I may, perhaps be over egging things a little for as much as sitting about in the rain might not be fun in and of itself there are certain advantages to this rain business. Well one advantage, other that that rain sucks. The good thing about all the rain is that the woods are now staring to look full of life rather than limp and tired, I could almost see the plants growing, the foliage getting thicker and the leaves getting greener by the minute. I went for a walk in between down pours, that is I made it about 100 meters before it started raining again but when I did I was greeted by a site that I have often seen, often been confused by but never written about. It seems that whenever it rains snails take it upon them selves to climb up trees. Always up, often in great numbers I have never ever seen a snail climbing down a tree. I like to think of myself as being fairly liberal and not minded to judge so I shall not question the wisdom of the snail in climbing into the domain of it's arch foe the bird, perhaps they have had enough and have decided that attack is the best form of defence. Perhaps they think that in the tree tops is the last place a hungry blackbird would look for a snail in the early morning. I know not, like I say I will not judge. What I will do though is pose a question, what do they do when they get to the top of the tree? Take flight? Is this evolution in the happening, much as the fish slowely took to the land so too the snail shall take to the air. I hope so. In Millennia from now perhaps our ancestors will lie beneath a tree and dream of soaring free as a snail.

This morning though I had to face the deadly cousin of the snail, from out of nowhere, although I rather suspect that they did in fact come from somewhere, appeared an army of slugs, unlike their lofty airborne kin slugs goes about their business quite unclad with shell; it is positively indecent.  Brought out by the rain came the hoard slithering in the most unappealing manner over the ground, my rucksack, and even over my bottle of milk. I don't like slugs at the best of times, I find the way they insist on sludging between my toes in the dark a most unattractive habbit and one that has not succeeded in endearing them to me either as individuals or as a race. Waking up to find a particularly large one specimen just inches from my eyes did not in anyway increase my love for the slidey little varmints. Even the young, which appear to be starting out in the big wide world as of this morning are quite foul. This is quite a feat for the young of virtually all species tend to have something appealing about them, think kittens, puppies or a foal uncertain on its legs and you will see what I mean. Not slugs though, oh no, young slugs are just as slimy and evil looking as their ugly parents but with one frightening ability that to my knowledge has never been witnessed before. For young slugs oh gentle reader have developed the most fearsome ability of all, the ability to abseil! Had I not rolled over on to my back just when I did I might never have seen that silent assassin behind me dangling as it was from my ceiling on a thin transparent thread. I lay for a minute frozen somewhere between mortal fear and fascination at a very small slug seemingly floating in mid-air. At first I thought it had become caught in a spider's web and then realised that in fact it was dangling from it's own mucus trail, a trail I realised that was getting longer by the moment, well minute - it was travelling slowly as one might expect. Fortunately I gathered my senses and quick as a flash had caught the ninja slug on a handy leaf and put him far away. A lesser man might well have been done for but fortunately my finely honed woodland skills and lightening reactions saved me, this time....

Beware, for the things of the forest floor that rustle, slide and ooze are taking to the skies my friends, all about us they are.



New T shirts in the shop.




Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 at 14:08 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment


Date 9th May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Poor

Health Good

Fitness Poor but working on it.

Advertising revenue Yesterday - £0.01

  • Total  £5.55

Readership Increasing steadily

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Reasonable

Today's "genius" idea None, not nothing nadda. Pretty much brain dead is what I am.


Last night was really quite nice, I lay under the cover of a small piece of tarpaulin and listened to the rain gently caress the ground all about and the wind wash through the trees. I was just drifting off to sleep when I realised that this website is not configured properly and this was causing all kinds of problems, problems that  I decided  the only possible way to deal with was to stay awake worrying about rather than work on it today. So today I have been getting absolutely nowhere in fixing the problem although I do know what needs to be done.

I have managed, I think, to find a couple of writers to contribute to travel guide. In the mean time here is today's favourite piece, yes I know it's one of mine but I quite like it. Punting 

Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 21:15 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments2 Comments

Earth Oven pork and associated misadventures.

Date 8th May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Variable

Health Good but need to work on fixing my knee

Fitness Poor but working on it.

Advertising revenue Yesterday - £0.03

  • Total  £5.54

Readership Increasing steadily

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Reasonable

Today's "genius" idea None

Today's travel offer Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic only at

Well the earth oven pork was, er, interesting, but I ate it anyway once it was done on account of there bring nothing else to eat.

Recently you see I have only been in the woods to sleep, the rest of my time being spent working or messing about on the internet trying to organise Mission Improbable, so when I got home at about mid-day on Sunday I was pleased to find that as a result of the prolonged dry spell lighting a fire was easy as anything. All the wood that I gathered from around and about was dry as a bone and soon there was a roaring blaze going, i settled back, listened to the radio and busied myself with eating all the food I had brought for the next couple of days. Well not quite all, the 1.5kg pork loin joint was mostly froze so I couldn't eat that, although I did manage to cut a few slices off and grill them over the hot coals.

The rest of the day passed pleasantly enough with little more to do than contemplate how nice it is that it is not raining as much as it did last year, feeding the mouse and listening to my neighbour, the Tawny Owl feeding it's young. Before too long it was dark and I headed to bed under the temporary shelter I constructed back in March. I'm not sure what time it was when the roar of rain hitting the earth, trees and my roof woke me but I do know that it was many hours before it stopped. it was not without a little smug satisfaction that I drifted back to sleep, safe from the rain under my roof. For once I did stay dry. The same can not be said of my shoes that I had left outside, or the wood. Having entertained myself whilst I lay in bed until 10am waiting for the rain to stop by feeling alternatively hungry and generally sorry for myself I was most eager to get up, light a fire make some tea and cook a few slices of pork. Putting on my wet shoes I congratulated myself on having the foresite to leave them out in the rain and so get myself used to the jungle routine of putting on wet clothes each morning. The fire took two attempts to light as the wood was soaked through and it took a lot of coaxing before it was hot enough to boil water and dry of the logs that I put beside it so that they would burn easily once added. I congratulated myself on setting the challenge of fire lighting with wet wood on both occasions that I tripped over and knocked the pot of water over the fire and looked forward to having to fetch extra water later in the day.

Soon enough though things started to get better, the sun came out and I remembered that I had bought some flour and yeast the day before so although there was no butter or salt i could make bread and have it with Marmite, that should overcome the lack of salt. Fortunately I hadn't forgotten how to make bread over a fire and soon I was feasting on hot fluffy bread and Marmite, there is nothing to lift the spirits like fresh bread. By the afternoon I was ready to dig out, literally, the earth oven and roast the pork. Whilst rummaging around in the hollow tree that acts as my kitchen cupboard I discovered a jar of Nathan's strawberry chilli sauce and came up with the "genius" idea of rubbing it into the pork so as to add an interesting extra flavour. At this point I should point out to those of you who are thinking, accurately, that strawberries don't go with pork that I was very hungry, a bit bored of eating bread and marmite and prepared to give anything a go. Besides when I took the pork out of the oven it was so burnt that you could hardly taste the strawberries and when you could it made an interesting counterpoint to the extreme dryness of the meat. The problem was that I was so worried about the meat not being cooked enough and not being hugely desirous of catching whatever it one catches from pork that I opted to ignore my instincts and give it an extra 40 minutes cooking time. The nettles that I had with it were, er, well the less said about that the better I think.

All in all it was an eventful couple of days, the highlight for me was falling out of a tree that I hadn't even climbed and landed on my shelter half flattening it in the process and administering a number of grazes to myself on the way.

I think I need to work on my Bushcraft.

be the jam story of the day here


New T shirts in the be the jam shop.

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 15:19 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Holiday time

Date 6th May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location London

Weather OK

 Health Good

Fitness Poor

Advertising revenue Yesterday - £0.98

  • Total  £5.98

Readership Increasing steadily

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Very good

Today's "genius" idea Work on travel guide

Tomorrow I shall be celebrating the bank holiday but roasting a massive joint of pork in an earth oven, it will only be the fourth time that I have used the oven as it is quite labour intensive. Using an earth oven isn't an exact science, for a start there is no temperature gauge, it will either be hot, very hot, or white hot. Experience tells me that white hot isn't the best way of cooking a joint of meat, however it is quick. The other tricky thing is that it is not possible to just take a quick peak and see how the meat is doing on account of the fact that dinner will be wedged between two very hot dum-bell weights, buried underground and, just to make life interesting, there will be a fire on top just to make sure the oven stays warm. I shall be reliant on guess work. Half cooked pork, buried in the woods - a recipe for health living me thinks. I shall invite some friends of mine form Oxford, I rather suspect that they will be "busy".

Good News

The original plan was to run an online travel guide called Be The Jam  from the jungle, this idea had been falling by the way side lately as it began to seem as though the travel guide would not work as a business and if I couldn't make it work from the UK it seemed very unlikely that it would work from the jungle. Things move pretty fast and I'm pleased to announce that has become affiliated with Thomas Cook. Basically if you log onto the Thomas Cook site through one of the links on this website and go on to book a holiday, flight, car hire etc then a percentage comes to Be The Jam, pretty cool huh? So if you do book a holiday through Thomas Cook you can do so safe in the knowledge that you are helping to get Mission Improbable off the ground and so helping the battle to save the Rainforest.

If this partnership with Thomas Cook  works out then I might even be able to invest some money in paying for stories thereby increasing the content and thus traffic to the site and generating more income. If that happens then the original plan of running a solar powered business from the jungle becomes a reality.

It's not just Thomas Cook though, I'm also working with:-

  •  Sim4travel who provide a sim card for your mobile that will stop you from being charged for calls you receive whilst abroad and  reduce the cost of making calls.
  • Outdoor Megastore - The original and biggest camping equipment retailer in the UK.
  • Chateau Online - Europe's leading wine specialist ChateauOnline
  • TEFL - Earn up $17,00 a month teaching English as a foreign language Online TEFL course - free trial



Posted on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 13:26 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Yes Yes I know

So the blog has been a bit dull lately, sorry about that my mind has been full with trying to figure out how on earth to get the expedition off the ground and I've been spending all day on the internet trying to make it happen.


I'm fairly confident that things are falling into place so I feel that I had best turn my attention to the slightly more interesting task of preparing for the coming adventure.

That means time out doors learning new skills and putting them into practice.

It also means a rather severe fitness regime, I think that there may be pain ahead.

In the mean time I'll forge ahead with the campaign to make the site pay money by sticking up ads all over the place.

"When relaxing at home in the woods I like nothing better than to put my feet up and watch my brand new Sony plasma screen TV, you too can live the dream with only 500 easy monthly payments". That kind of thing.

Today's favourite story from Be The Jam is Agent Hippy reporting in. I have been a bit slack when it comes to working on the travel guide, nevertheless if you have a story please send it in.

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2007 at 19:20 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment