Date 4th May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Grey

 Health Good

Fitness Poor (resting heart rate around 60 BPM)

Advertising revenue Yesterday - £0.34

  • Total  £4.16

Readership Steady - seems to be increasing.

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Good

Today's "genius" idea Restructure website


Shopping around is a good thing, today I have found software that allows connection to the internet via a phone / satellite phone work up to ten times faster, this suggests to me that I would be able to work quicker and so pay less in phone bills. I also think I have found suitable insurance for £321 rather than for the £1000 I had imagined it would cost.

So, I'm thinking out loud here.

Best case scenario.

Insurance     - £321

Travel           - £0.   (work passage).

Vaccinations  - £500

Equipment    - £500  (beg borrow steal the rest)

Website       -£0     (thanks to Squarespace)

Phonebill      - £0    Self financing via website (I have a cunning plan)

Training     - £1000

Emergency - £1000   


That's just (if we ignore the fact that there is a bit of wishfull thinking in the list) £3,321 and there is already £103 in the kitty already! Huzzah. So just £3,218 to go and if I wait until the autumn to work my passage on a yacht I should be able to save a fair chunk of that.

It's amazing what a bit of positive thinking and ignoring reality (difficulty of borrowing equipment etc) can do.

The plan now is to work as a chef for the summer at a very good place and learn a lot, save some money, use what I have learnt to get me a job in a yacht sailing to the Caribbean in the autumn (fall). Use the money earnt on the passage (if any) to fly from the Caribbean to Guyana and once there learn how to live in the jungle.

At this point I suspect I will discover that the jungle isn't a nice place and will then spend the next 12 months wishing I was somewhere else.


Posted on Friday, May 4, 2007 at 10:01 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Mission Improbable The Movie?

Might happen, might not, fingers crossed - the more exposure the better I reckon.


In the mean time I have set myself the challenge of turning the Ditch Monkey blog into a book by next week, paperback, available on line only (no "good book shop near you" would touch it).


Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2007 at 21:14 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Down with gravity

Date 3rd May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Lovely sunny day.

 Health Good

Fitness Poor (resting heart rate around 60 BPM)

Advertising revenue Today - £0.24

  • Total  £4.12

Readership Steady - seems to be increasing.

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Good.

Today's "genius" idea Hassle journalists to cover story

Spent all day writing emails and doing all kinds of admin work, it is too early to see if anything has been achieved by this, possibly, probably, hopefully.

Mike has challenged me to a ten mile race in the first week of June, if I win he will donate £50 to the jungle fund. This should be the spur I need to get fit. I used to run ten miles two or three times a week, now I get out of breath walking up the hill home. Seeing as I need to be in tip top physical shape to take on the jungle I really should start training again - starting is the hardest bit but today I made a bit of a start. I measured my heart rate as I ate breakfast, generally it was around 60 BPM but I did get it down to 53 by concentrating very hard on being relaxed. After that I had a go on one of those things that build up the muscles around your lungs and so increase the amount of air that you  can get in at any one time. Got a bit dizzy due to lack of oxygen.

Seeing as the most important thing in life is a nice cup of tea I have extended the range of mugs in the shop, here is a selection.


Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2007 at 17:04 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

All new tech log

For those of you interested in the technological side of things I have started a new Technical Log  It can be reached by clicking on the Technical Log link under Mission Improbable on the search bar.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 18:26 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

A late night visitor

Date 2nd May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Lovely sunny day.

 Health Good

Fitness Poor (resting heart rate around 60 BPM)

Advertising revenue Today - £0.00.5

  • Total  £3.68.5

Readership Steady

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Good - winners never quit and quitters never win, or so they say.

Today's "genius" idea Writing reviews for cash money


What would you do if you where woken in the middle of the night by someone walking through your bedroom? It happened to me last night, well I was already awake and whoever it was didn't walk through my room so much as fall over something not so very far from where I was trying to sleep in the middle of the night. I was not impressed. My first thought as always when I hear people in the woods at night was that they must obviously be a bad sort and up to no good. It is a fairly reasonable assumption, to my mind at least, that anyone who is walking about in the woods at that time of night (my good self accepted of course) must be at the least poaching and at best a homicidal maniac out searching for me. Whoever they are and whatever they are up to the last thing I want is to be caught of guard, lying encased in a sleeping bag is pretty much off guard. I decided that the best thing to do would be to quickly get up, put some trousers on and go hide in some shadows, taking my biggest knife with me just in case, until I figured out who what why was abroad. My reasoning being that my shelter, rucksack, sleeping bag and tesco's bag glowing white in the moonlight were bound to attract attention so if I were elsewhere it would give me the opportunity to assess the stanger before deciding whether to engage the chap in small talk. His stumblings where getting closer and I blindly felt around for my jeans, to no avail. This cast a new light on things, the idea of engaging in a knife fight with a homicidal maniac in the middle of the night is one thing, doing so without trousers is quite another. My fight or flight options chose flight, but where? My legs haven't seen sunlight in oh - so long, they would reflect the moon's light and give away my position as surely as if I had lit a torch. Closer still came the stumblings "perhaps it's Mike come back from Scotland" I thought to my self and resolved to stab him anyway if it was just for putting the wind up me. I almost shinned naked up the tree I was sleeping under but at the last moment remembered all those films I have seen, I have learnt from television you see; it doesn't matter who you are or who you are running from if you decide to run away by climbing up something eventually you run out of up and have to confront your pursuer. In the end I decided to do the sensible thing, I pulled the sleeping bag over my head and willed whoever it was not to find me, they didn't. They passed by about ten meters from me, all was still, no owls hooted, no creatures rustled in the undergrowth, just the sound of someone walking noisily through the woods.

Now my curiosity was risen. Who was it? A poacher? A ne-er do well. A drunk? A bank robber looking to hide bags full of loot somewhere where if only I went to watch I could retrieve it, or some lost walker scared and alone? I'm afraid it was the idea of potential wealth rather than the idea that I could help a fellow human being find their way back to civilisation that inspired me to get up and follow the sound of the slowly diminishing footsteps, pausing only to grab my knife I set quietly off, my bare feet making hardly a noise. Then I stopped myself, whoever they were, hero, villain, innocent, they were very unlikely to take kindly to being followed through the woods in the middle of the night by a naked man with a knife.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 12:56 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment


I have just discovered that Thuraya make satellite phones that can be used to send emails. Technically then I could get one of those and then email my posts straight to this website where they would automatically get posted. This would save me having to lug around a lap top, a trickle feed battery and a massive solar panel and a satellite phone. I could get away with a satellite phone and a small charger. I do like the idea of not having to carry to much weight. Hopefully as the trafic to the site increases so will the amount of money the site will earn through click through advertising, selling merchandise etc and if that can generate enough money to pay the satellite phone bills then this whole thing begins to look feasible. Just need sun to charge the phone and sufficient skills to be able to live in the jungle.

What would remain

1) Get to South America.

2) Pay for vaccinations etc.

3) First aid course.

4) Jungle survival course.

5) Insurance

5) the 1001 other things that slip my mind right now


1 - getting to South America. Three options here -

  1. Work passage as a chef on a yacht to Caribbean, this would mean waiting until the autumn when the yachts head that way, getting work is hard but it can pay reasonably well and I should have sufficient experience. Would still need to fly from Caribbean to South America. Possible and could end up getting there with more money than when I started
  2. Talk one of the airlines into donating flights in return for positive advertising - unlikely
  3. Buy tickets. 12 month return is likely to cost around £1000

2 - Paying for vaccinations etc. Cost as yet unknown, likely to be significant as I will need 12 months worth of anti-malarials.

3 - First aid course, needs to be expedition first aid. Wayn at Forest Knights has offered to teach me at cost price.

4 - Jungle survival course - Will then be able to feed and look after myself, then all I need is the sun to charge the sat phone and we're away.     £1000 

5 - Insurance, about £1000.

6 - The 1001 things I can't think of right now. Jungle boots, emergency money, deet, buying the satellite phone etc etc. Got to allow at least another £2000

In conclusion then, it is possible but I need about £6,000. Only £5,900 to go. I'm actually in very buoyant mood, for the first time I can actually see this thing happening.

false alarm


Having looked into things a little more closely it appears that emails sent from the phone can only be 120 characters long, not sufficient. Back to needing a trickle feed battery and a big solar pannel then. Drat, those things are heavy. This is how it goes, a few steps forward followed by a few back.

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 18:25 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments4 Comments

May Day Oxford (auspicious)

Date 1st May

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Lovely sunny day (beginning to like this global warming thing)

Health Good

Fitness Poor (resting heart rate around 60 BPM)

Advertising revenue roughly £2.88.

Readership 3728 unique visitors in April

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Fair

Today's "genius" idea Try to find cheap equipment on ebay

It's May Day today, a day for jumping off bridges, drinking all night, pubs opening at 5am, parties all day and all manner of Christians and pagans running about the place engaging in strange ceremonies. But why? What's it all about? Well I'm not sure but the centre of the celebrations is Magdalen bridge at dawn, as the sun comes up a choir on the roof of Magdalen college break into song whilst down bellow the throngs strain to hear / stand up / get past the police and jump into the river. I have a theory as to what it might all be about but I'm not sure about it. Magdalen bridge is fed at one end by two main roads, Cowley road and Iffley road. These two roads are named after ley lines The Coy Ley and the Iff Ley that the run along to their meeting point at the river, I rather suspect that the history of all the cavorting that goes on goes back to some kind of Pagan hoopla, May Poles and all that malarky.

Right that's the educashun over.

I didn't partake of the festivities this year, I have an interview today so I thought it probably best to get some sleep and not turn up covered in river so I went home early and walked through the woods in the light of the full moon. All around creatures scuttled off as I approached, not the door mice once I got home though. No, they are totally used to me and seem to spend their time jumping up and down in the leaves trying to wake me up, if they were not so rare I would be tempted to get out my Roman cook book and see how tasty they are. Despite the noise I got to sleep easily enough and slept right through until about 5am when I was woken by a sudden bright orange light. Looking out through the canopy of trees across the valley the sun was just breaking over the horizon in a magnificent explosion of warm orange light that seemed to envelope everything. I closed my eyes for a second to shake the sleep from my head so that I could take a better look but in the time it took to do so the sun had climbed above the hill, the orange was gone and the sun was shining brightly in the clear blues sky. I was tempted to get up and go for a walk but contented myself instead with rolling over and going back to sleep. All in all a good start to the summer.



Will it never end? Now available - the Be The Jam clock.

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 11:53 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments4 Comments

As it is

Date 30th April

Stage Planning Expedition

Location Oxford

Weather Lovely sunny day (beginning to like this global warming thing)

Health Good (missing one finger nail, knee still weak from skiing injury)

Fitness Poor (resting heart rate around 60 BPM)

Advertising revenue roughly £2.88 - beginning to think this might not be the best way of generating revenue.

Readership 3659 unique visitors  in April, up from 3063 in March

Prospect of Mission Improbable happening Fair

Todays "genius" idea re-opened the Be The Jam shop 


Having just read David Hempleman - Adams book, Walking On Thin Ice, I thought I might copy his technique of starting each entry with a situation report. Sadly at the moment there isn't anything exciting to report. unlike Hempleman - Adams I'm not battling against the elements at -55 degrees, falling into the sea, or running the risk of starvation / becoming lunch for a polar bear. The only struggle in my life right now is fundraising. To that end there is nothing to report at the moment save to say that the carrot of significant financial backing is once again being dangled tantalisingly close.

I am becoming increasingly tempted by the idea of working my passage across to the Caribbean on a yacht and then flying across to South America from there. That way I might even earn some money on the journey over rather than just spending it so I am doing a bit of online research about the feasibility of this at the moment. It seems that the best time to do this is the autumn when yachts are being moved from the Med to the Caribbean for the winter and my best chance at getting a paid position would be to work as a chef. With this in mind I'm now going to call about a job in a very nice reastaurant not so far from Oxford.


In a blatant attempt to get at your hard earned I have gone a bit commercial and re-opened the be the jam shop. It is not much to look at at the moment but you can get your world exclusive Be The Jam mugs, woo hoo hold the front page and all that. To visit the shop simply click on the picture of the T shirt over on the navigation bar to the left. Why am I using a skiing t shirt you might well ask. Well, I pressed lots of buttons, furrowed my brow, asked it to use the picture of the mug and in the end the great got of the interweb would only allow me to use the picture of the T shirt. I have no idea why not. Next time I find myself with a priest of the new religion, probably my mate Jamie who is a crash bang wallop wizard with computers, I'll try to fix this. In the mean time why don't you go and have a nice cup of tea, I expect it would taste nicer from a loverly new mug.

Ha! Now you can click on the mug and get to the shop. I think I have figured out how to beat the system. Mwa ha ha, soon the internet will be at my feet and then I shall be unstopable. Smithers, release the flying monkeys.  

Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 at 14:56 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

Show me the money

Well goodness gracious me am I glad I came back to Oxford to check my emails rather than stay at home and sit around in the sun drinking tea? Why yes I am for it seems that all money worries are over for it seems that I have won a large sum of money on the Euro Lottery. Now leaving aside the minor detail that I have never entered the euro lottery for one moment I think it is time for a celebration. Not since Mr Nguymbe (Barrister at Law, Nigeria) wrote to me with the offer of £5,000,000 in return for helping him get assets out of the country have I had such a stroke of luck. I will be writing an email to  inviting him to "show me the money" right this minute.



Posted on Saturday, April 28, 2007 at 16:05 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment


Currently I am spending most of my time trying to figure out how to get to the jungle, live in it, earn a living and not render myself unemployable while I'm at it. There are no easy answers.

I think a couple of days in the country running up and down hills, sitting by the fire and contemplating the miriad of options and consequences thereof is how I shall spend this weekend.



Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at 19:22 by Registered CommenterJam | Comments2 Comments