It started with my wife saying ‘What a great idea..’.
As my eyes caught the TV screen I saw a page of teletext and realised this was the source of the conversation. ‘Yeah, looks great’ I agreed while edging closer to the screen for my ageing eyes to adjust. ‘You’d be good at that’ my wife volunteered, and as the words began to clear from a jumbled mess to the English language I took in the message. Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge were looking for volunteers to join them on a fund-raising sponsored dog sled ride in the arctic circle. I stared at the screen. She couldn’t be serious? Didn’t she realise 2006 was my 50th year?
Hanging onto a small wooden sled that was being pulled by a team of large deranged huskies at full pelt, while trying to see obstacles ahead in the blinding snow, and in temperatures that would do severe damage to brass monkeys? Oh yeah, sounds like a breeze! The conversation ended right there. Unfortunately the idea didn’t, and it seemed that every conversation after that involved my wife saying ‘well what do you think..?’. She has encouraged me to do madcap activities in the past and I’ve flown a Tiger Moth, raced a Ferrari, and other daft stunts but this was different. This was extreme!
It seemed there would be a team of a dozen hardy souls risking life and limb to raise awareness of the charity’s work. The charity send research scientists to the coldest and most inhospitable places on the planet to try and find out how we can reverse some of the ravages man has made of this delicate planet. It sounded like a great cause and well worth supporting, especially as my wife and I have sponsored a little girl (Shagori Rani) through World Vision in Bangladesh for the last 10 years, and any impact of sea level rises would be felt most acutely there..
I contacted the Scott Polar Research Institute to ask what was needed to be considered as a member of the expedition. They sent me back a comprehensive brochure which I read cover to cover for days. I bounced the idea off friends, relatives, and work colleagues most said the same thing. ‘You’re mad’. My wife was the only exception and she seems to think I could actually do this despite what the rest of the world seems to think – a true ‘Musher supporter’.
OK then, clearly a ringing endorsement that I was on the right track! So on that positive note I sent off my registration form – if selected there would be no turning back now.
Still with me? Want to hear more? Read on….