Could someone please tell me where the last 6 months have gone? I know I've put them down here somewhere! Hmmm, perhaps they're in the little cupboard under the stairs (aka "Narnia", only with utility bills and dust). Or maybe it's been dumped under my eternally expanding ironing pile (which at this rate of growth will soon be launching blimps!) They could possibly be in the glove compartment of my car, buried underneath all the "Free 30 minute" parking tickets for Sainsburys! But no, I've searched everywhere and can only conclude that they've definitely gone!
Yes "loyal reader", it was March since the waffle-wagon last fired up its well-oiled, high-mileage engine. You've had a whole season of Tim-free-spiel, so count yourself lucky! More reason than ever that I should now have your full and undivided attention into "The world according to Me", cunningly disguised as some sort of charity fundraising/mountain trekking blog! So, pay attention, you owe me that at least!
The last time I wrote to you the prospect of climbing the world's largest free-standing mountain seemed like a distant dream, a kind of half-reality. Something that I'd signed up for "provisionally"in HB pencil, (but still with the real intention of completing of course). Now that the Lakeland snow has all melted, the beautiful Bluebells on Haystack's westerly slopes have come and gone, and the News of the World has wrapped it's last Cod & Chips, the commitment feels imminently real now. The signature is now more permanently etched in Granite outcrops, the dreams are now very vivid with the gut-churning side-effects of butterflies. And the bank account definitely shows the signs that the epic trek is now looming large. Gulp!
Just 12 days to go. This is the deep-end! This is time to pick up the stupid black brick from the bottom of the council pool wearing your best paisley pyjamas! Crikey, Kiliman-ronan-keating-jaro is just around the corner and I can almost smell the African soil. Thank God for the gift of Adrenaline, because I say "Bring it on" Tanzania! Cumbria's pluckiest are ready to battle with your biggest lump of rock!
The kit-kist is almost complete now and the detailed inventory kindly sent to us by our chosen charity http://www.childrentoday.org.uk/ is about 95% ticked off now. The rucksack, which is so large that it could probably be used to host a medium-sized wedding, stands upright, waiting patiently in my spare room, along with the trekking poles, gaiters, balaclava, exotic first-aid supplies and other assorted expensive tit-bits not normally required for your average stroll around the peaks of Langdale. I knew when I initially signed up that the shopping list would be big, but sheesh, at this rate I'll be on Lard-butties and Lentils come the end of the month. As for the injections, just don't go there! I had mine the other week, and I now have the immense pleasure of hosting some of the world's most horrific diseases running through my veins, which initially caused me to feel numb and nauseous for several days, and all for the same price as your average week-long 3 star all-inclusive holiday to Albefuira! Worth it? Of course it is, because in less than 2 weeks time I'll be toasting the single greatest achievement of my life, and that, as the advert says, is Priceless!
But what about the REAL reason I'm doing this? The superb charity to which we've dedicated ourselves to and frozen our bones on Skiddaw and Co for over the last 9 months. Fundraising has been a long and often frustrating affair. You name, we've tried it, from Car Washing to quizzes, business lunches to plain 'ol begging. We're still a little short of our target, but we're confident we'll get there.....eventually! On the same note though, I have to say a big Thank You to our excellent local radio station http://www.thebay.co.uk who have produced a superb on-air advert for us, without any cost to ourselves, and are playing it every day until we go. The audio for the below vid is courtesy of "The Bay", the cheesy pics are my doing I'm afraid!
Children Today, and in particular our local co-ordinator Liz Oakes, have been awesome! They've been supportive, provided us with every possible tool and tip to help us towards our fund-raising targets, and they are well-deserving of every penny they receive. I recommend you have a read of their latest newsletter here http://www.childrentoday.org.uk/sites/files/Final%20Visual.pdf
So, here we go then with the last few days before the "Big Off". Planning a couple more big walks, broken up with a few 5k runs. There's still one or two odds and sods to pick up on the shopping list, and of course still need a few more quid to reach my fund-raising target. So, if you've got a couple of quid to spare, you can donate safely online at www.just-giving.com/Tim-Bell
Wish us luck, and remember you can (hopefully) follow our progress on the climb via Twitter at @Spudda73 and there's always our well-followed facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=10150118264585221
Thanks again for reading and I'll be back one more time before we go
Tim & The Kili-crew