Walkabouts and wonders

"A life not examined is a life not lived" – Socrates

Tag Archives: survival


My small but loyal following will be aware that I am shortly planning to leave the shores of wet, wet, wet England for the balmy climes of India. Which is why they might have been surprised to see me in my local Cotswolds shop buying rain-resistant trousers, mountain gloves, wooly socks , base-layers (long-underwear to us older folks) and a smarter than average fleece top. Not the sort of thing you would expect to wear on the high street in Calcutta, or even, frankly, in damp-but-rarely-worse Hertfordshire.

St John's old town

St John’s old town, apparently.

Well, I am now off to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, lands of ice and snow at this time of year, where it blows so hard, they literally have to tie the houses down (see “The Shipping Report” if you don’t believe me) and moose in snow represent a serious driving threat. All because of my brother.

John, I should explain, is the real adventurer. Over the last twenty years he has spent an awful lot of time sailing in the arctic, taking wonderful pictures and gathering amazing stories of local peoples and wild-life. His latest e-published book is a fascinating journal of a world rarely seen by most people which you can find on his website. But the thing about John – he is also one of the most careful guys I know. His boat typically has at least two levels of back-up to the main systems (navigation, propulsion and emergency) and he and Phyllis, his lovely wife, are well studied in outdoor survival, wilderness first aid, and all the rest. Which is what I was thankful for, despite the huge shock I got, when I received an email from Phyllis about him winding up in hospital with a severely broken leg, after a four hour stretcher journey out of the wilderness of Newfoundland. That was about ten weeks ago and although he has made a pretty good start on the road to recovery (though only just able to walk without a frame) he and Phyllis have been stuck all this time in a rented apartment in St John’s, about 500 miles away from home.

And that is why I am going – John and Phyllis not only need to get home, but they need to take their car with them. John can’t drive, so I will be the support driver and substitute muscle – besides providing scintillating conversation, humour and brotherly love…… Ok.

So, my next postings and photos will probably be filled with snow, mountains and mists rather than temples, tea plantations and rhododendrons. What’s not to like!

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