Saturday, 30 July 2011

Join me for a drink?

If anyone feels like buying me a drink and wishing me luck, I'll be at The George from 6pm on August 13th.

Below are some pics in some of my outerwear, as promised.

Obviously the flip-flops will just be for in the teahouse. ;-)

Extreme Tech Update

Just as I finished posting my doorbell rang and the goggles were delivered. Astonishing really as the shipping was free and I just ordered the things yesterday. So I've tried them on and spent a few minutes pretending I'm a fighter pilot. Cats are now in hiding. ;-) And please excuse the pyjamas.

More Extreme Tech

So my insurance is finally stumping up and thus yesterday I went out with my Jessops vouchers to replace my camera. Although they sell the same exact camera that was stolen, I've decided to switch horses, so to speak, and instead got a Fujifilm XP. While it unfortunately only has a digital zoom and all that, it's a hardened camera recommended for extremes and is waterproof to 5m, shockproof, freezeproof to -10C and dustproof. Oh, and it has GPS. I also got a 16GB Extreme SD card to go with it. And I still have most of the vouchers left over to buy a "proper" camera when I get back.

I've also been shopping for a cheap watch with an altimeter. Cheap because, let's face it, costs have been escalating. I waltzed around central London yesterday checking all the shops but the cheapest I found was £175 and they went up drastically from there. No way. So this morning I did what I should have done in the first place and checked online and have now ordered a Casio. It seems to have all of the functions that I'll want but would it really kill them to make a ladies version? This is going to look utterly ridiculous on me. I haven't worn something so horribly ungainly since 1980.

And finally, I have ordered some OTG goggles. OTG means Over The Glasses and these will allow me to protect my eyes from glare, UVA/UVB/UVC, and wind while still wearing my prescription glasses. I'm gonna look a right nutter in them but at least I won't go snowblind.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Going Off-Grid

Solast week I got a discounted solar off-grid backpack from Voltaic and had a great opportunity to test it over the weekend as my BF and I went up to the Peak District for the wedding of a fellow ACCU friend.. This gave me the chance to both have a long walk AND to see what the charger could do.

I confess that at first I was not terribly impressed but I think that this is because I've never used a solar charger before AND because (I confess!) I hadn't read the instructions. OK, ok - mea culpa. Fortunately I did my usual "up with the sparrow's fart" routine and set the pack in the window to charge at dawn and so, a few hours later after an ample English Cooked Breakfast (BTW, props to the staff at The Waltzing Weasel for the hearty meal!) I returned to a fully charged battery pack which swiftly charged my iPhone.

It should be noted that the batter pack was then depleted and needed to be charged again. Therefore I donned my wellies and hit the Sett Valley Trail for a 2 hour walk. This was slightly less successful and i suspect that this was because the early morning sun had clouded over AND the charger was not facing the sunlight at all times.

Lesson Learned: Look, the damned thing works BUT you must keep in mind the following: 1. Direct proper sunlight will give you the best result, and 2. You shouldn't wait until you're down to the last bar of whatever device you wish to charge or you may get caught out. Be sensible - it's not called a trickle charge for nothing so manage your expectations!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Good News/Bad News

So the good news is that I've lined up my next project AND even found a small piece of work for 5 days next week to "in-fill" before the the new project kicks off. This is very good news indeed because it means that the money keeps flowing and, frankly, the cost of this shindig PLUS not working for 2.5 weeks while away is making some serious inroads into my finances.

But the bad news is that I'll be working ever day between now and take-off so there's no time for the trip to Mt. Snowdon, shaking down the equipment, getting my UK passport replaced, etc. I project manager language, there is no slack in the critical path. :-(

This also means that there's no time for the last minute publicity blitz I was hoping to organise.

So here it is folks: there's less than a month to go until I leave so if you were thinking about donating please do it now! And please spread the word! The link to donate is and you can also donate by text in the UK by following the instructions below.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Blagging Advice

Those who know me know how terrible I am at asking for help which is, no doubt, why I've been so crap at fundraising. Nonetheless, I was asking the lovely Kate Russell from BBC Click for her advice with regard to mobile media rechargers the other day and she recommended that I try the Voltaic backpack AND encouraged me to try to get it for free.

And so, with much trepidation, I contacted Voltaic and to my immense surprise they offered me a 40% discount! Well, needless to say, I've now ordered said backpack with solar charger and will be reporting back on it as soon as I get to test it.

At least now I'll be guaranteed a power supply on the trek. Connectivity, however, may be another matter. ;-)

I wonder if Apple would sponsor a Macbook Air...

More bloody shopping

I love my other half but I have to say that he's not the best at discouraging me from spending money. I've now taken his advice and bought the North Face insulated trousers as well as a down jacket. Mind you, pointing at the weather forecast for Base Camp (-23C and 50cm snow) makes for a rather compelling argument in favour of having more extreme weather gear with me. ::sigh:: So that's another £250 but at least I got them in the sales or it would have been twice as painful.

Anyway, I know I don't even have this first trek under my belt yet but I've got all the equipment now so I have to confess that I've been looking speculatively at other mountains & treks. For example, I'll be in NYC for 10 days in September and I've suggested to my father that we hike to the top of Mt. Washington - home to the world's worst weather. I just hope that his health and fitness are up to it. And I really ought to encourage him to get some proper hiking boots and start breaking them in now!

Back to the here and now - fundraising seems to have ground to a halt. I really don't know what else I can do! Suggestions will be gratefully accepted. My BF says I was too hasty and that I should have scheduled this whole thing for next  summer but I never dreamed it would be so hard to raise this money particularly to save something as important as Hut 6. Ah well, chin up. Mustn't fuss. I guess I just have to channel that Dunkirk spirit and carry on.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

One month to go!

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I didn't want to step on the toes of the wonderful news that the Queen has visited Bletchley.

And of course I've been finishing up on my project. I think it was a fairly successful wrap-up and handover with a key document getting signed off and the remainder seem to be just about ready for sign-off. (yay!). BTW, I want to give a shout out to my wonderful team - I couldn't ask for better colleagues and I hope we work together again. They gave me a royal send-off with a lovely lunch, a VERY boozy night, and the presentation of a hip flask to take with me to Base Camp. They know me well. :-)

So the good news is that I am now about to launch into my intense prep period for the trek but as it happens I -will- be starting a new project next week. Anyway, on the preparation front I have joined the British Mountaineering Council and bought my emergency evacuation insurance which were £30 and £65 respectively and money well spent I say!

I'm also actively planning the practice trek up Mt. Snowdon and am planning to do it by signing on to a guided walk since I haven't talked anyone I actually know into doing it with me. But it's not too late to join me!

In other news, checking the weather at EBC reveals that it's running about -25C and there's 50 cm of snow. I have ordered some overalls. I'll pick them up today and see if I think they'll be sufficient. If not I'll return them and buy the North Face ones.

Next on my prep list is to get a checkup with a doctor (you'd think I would have done this ages ago but work has been a priority) and order my medications. I'll be sure to fill you all in  in excruciating detail I'm sure.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

What am I like?

As I was dressing this morning, in my hiking gear of course as it MUST be broken in in time, it suddenly dawned on me that I've bought a wardrobe of Lara Croft outfits. ::sigh:: This is ridiculous. I was so focussed on not looking too butch (ah vanity)...

Mind you, it could be entirely in my mind AND I'm not saying my figure is hers anymore (after all, I'm 40), but still... clinging back top and utility trekking trousers and big boots with little backpack and sensible braided hair. And glasses that turn dark in the sunlight.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Crime in the Himalaya

An unfortunate side-effect of my bag getting stolen the other week is that I started thinking about how vulnerable to crime I'll be in the Himalaya. After all, I'll be a woman, all alone, many thousands of miles from home in a fairly isolated area. And, although I'll have a porter and a guide provided by the trekking company, I've been reading some disturbing stories about thefts and violence on the trail. And it's not just money and such that gets stolen but life-critical equipment. I've read some really horrific tales. :-(

Am I less or more likely to be targeted because I'm travelling in the off season? Is there anything I can do to mitigate my risk?

The only things I can think to do are the following:

1. Get a lock for my rucksack and to use on the door of my room at the teahouses
2. Keep my travel wallet with me at all times
3. Leave all of my jewellery at home

I really don't know what else I can do. Suggestions are more than welcome.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Fundraising Update

How awful. I had a whole post prepared and then Blogger ate it!

Anyway, I'm hugely disappointed with the fundraising as of late. You know, if every person who works in IT in the United Kingdom donated £1, the problem of saving Bletchley Park would probably be solved.

Nonetheless, even with dealing with my stolen bag and packing up the Brussels flat, I am still climbing bloody buggering stair (so boring!).

Anyway, I hope to announce some corporate sponsorship later this week. In the meantime I'm still reading scary books about Everest. The current one is High Crimes.