1st May 2009... The first day of our non-working lives, in the traditional sense at least! Whilst this particular new dawn greets us with substantial hangovers, reflective of the generosity of our now ex-colleagues, we soon comprehend the sheer number of tasks that need completing in the six weeks prior to our departure.
The month begins frantically. First up, a long weekend in Nottingham utilising Nina's dad's workshop, where we kit out the inside of the car - removing the rear seats and fitting our 'fully integrated sleeping & storage solution' into the space left behind - our woodwork skills haven't been so tested since school.
Numerous trips to B&Q later (why is it never possible to buy everything you need in one go?!) and we have the finished article - a spacious and remarkably stable sleeping area in the back, with our storage inbuilt beneath. Looks pretty neat, hope it's comfortable...
We knew May would never be a cheap month. As our hours of research into the endless microcosms of the camping and survival world evolve into purchases, we are shocked at just how rapidly our final hard-earned funds seep away.
As fast as we empty our flat of our old life in preparation for our tenant, our new life arrives daily in a myriad of special delivery parcels and packages. Sleeping bags, GPS system, awning tent, tow ropes, roof box & rack, undercarriage bash plates etc etc... each exciting new arrival delivers a further sucker punch to the bank balance.
A first aid weekend with the St John's Ambulance in Guildford brings a sombre reminder of the dangers we may face en-route. Indeed our chirpy and diminutive ex-military instructor cheerfully recounts anecdotes that leave us wondering how the hell we've made it this far in life without succumbing to a gory and premature demise. Yet, worst case scenarios grimacingly dealt with, we leave better prepared to cope with whatever our adventure may assail us with.
As our last full month in Blighty beckons, the pace of our preparation intensifies - no panic, but every night brings a fresh A4 page of tasks to be completed the following day. Logistical skills, solid beforehand, are improving daily!