So – here I go folks, off to the Sahara Desert where at least the sun is shining!

So here it is, the days have finally passed, I have done my last shift on the ward at work and to be honest I feel like I am heading to the desert for a rest!  No, seriously, in a few hours 200 odd Brits will be cautiously making their way to Gatwick Airport – we will be easy to spot, the ones with the backpacks that get stopped going through customs because of all the powdery drinks we are carrying.

I had my final physio session with the quite simply awesome Brett Davison of the RFU.  I am declared to be in ship shape form and fighting fit. I have repacked my kit for the umpteenth time and managed to shave off a few more grams here and there, and add a couple more again!  So here is what I am taking:

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I know it doesn’t look like it, but in amongst all of that is enough food to get me through 6 arduous stages of the desert… around 2500 calories per day, all carefully measured and weighed to the smallest grain.  I will be sampling the delights of sweet energy drinks and gels, a porridgy dried fruit mixture in the mornings, and delicious and varied forms of freeze dried hot meals in the evenings such as Shepherd’s Pie, or Beef and Potato Hot Pot – for those of you who have never sampled the delights of the freeze dried meals, well they are more like sheperd’s mashed up and Beef mush! But they do the job.

Here is what it looks like all packed up and ready to go…Image

It’s actually not too heavy, well around the 10kg mark which is lighter than 5 years ago, and it will get lighter each day as I eat my way through it.

The down side of being a nurse as opposed to a secretary from 5 years ago is that I am far more aware of the risks of bad personal hygiene.  Not that I was unclean in my approach 5 years ago, but I think I am compensating for too much knowledge and seem to be packing rather a lot of cleaning products!

Anyways, folks, as the evening draws to a close, I must head for some shut eye and savour my last night in my bed and with my moggy who has been surveying my packing abilities with a rather wry expression.

My brother Nick will be posting my daily reports on my blog for me so keep following…

Love to you all, and thank you for your wonderful words of support, I will listen out for the voices across the African skies from Malawi and am sure I will hear them in my heart – thank you all, and good night

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