Sitting in the back of the vehicle at 03:and-a-bit with allsorted bits of cycling and kayaking kit and paraphernalia leaves me with somewhat restricted leg room, visibility and general body movement. I shall need a month at the chiropractor after this trip. As it happens, I have already been seeing an alternative therapist recently. Without knowing quite how, I have managed to pick up something called a rotator cuff injury to the shoulder. It hurts like a bastard, especially at night time, and is downright inconvenient. Obviously, it has put my place as Expedition 1st Reserve in jeopardy, but the boys seem fit and healthy so reluctantly I may have to accept that it won’t be my turn this time. The rest of the team felt much the same way when Colonel John Hunt picked Hilary and Tensing for the Everest summit attempt in ‘53. Back to my alternative therapy; acupuncture. Have you ever tried it? I don’t know if it is actually fixing the problem or not but it certainly makes the hurty thing go away, for a while anyway. Being a complete wilting flower when it comes to pain I’m very at ease with being a test case for acupuncture with what has flatteringly been described to me as ‘a common sports injury.’ Oh how they laughed. I’m certainly looking forward to my next appointment with the lovely Cara with more enthusiasm than I am the cortisone injection from the Doc next week. I shall try not to squeal like a little girl with her fingers jammed in a car door but I can offer no guarantees.
As I write this we are hurtling toward Holyhead ferry terminal. I feel some nostalgia for the old ‘ferry dash,’ as many old BAOR hands will. Back in the day we would finish work at half past four on Friday afternoon, quickly change and then charge down the E3 en route to Calais, (stopping at the petrol station at Venlo for fuel - last place to use petrol coupons). The aim was to catch the 9pm ferry, along with the rest of 4 Armoured Div, and make it back to town in time for last orders with the girlfriend. While this ferry trip doesn’t have a pretty girl waiting at the other end, it is helping take my mind off the Doc with his bloody big needle next week which, is a comfort and a blessing I’ll take.
The problem with sitting in the rear is of course I have absolutely no control or say in the music play list the boys are subjecting me too. It really is too much at five o’clock in the morning. The sacrifices we have to make on expeditions, even mini ones like this one, aren’t restricted to shining up hills in the cold and wet. Oh no, listening, (forcibly), to a shower of unwashed hippies on crystal meth screeching as if they’ve just been told to take a shower is more than is reasonable but then, rubbing along with quiet fortitude is what exped life is all about..... apparently. Only an hour to go... I can hack it.