Friday, 14 October 2016

Friends travelling with us

We have named our storage boxes after friends. This deserves some explanation.

When we bought our car, Nellie, for our African trip 13 years ago, she came with eight green army boxes.

Lovely plastic box, mmm
They are made of over-engineered hard plastic, they fit perfectly in the back and clip solidly on top of each other,and we're using them again on this trip

Along the way we have accumulated several other boxes, as you do. We like boxes, especially tough ones.

When you have this many, you need some kind of naming system to find them and to know what's inside. The back of the car is packed solid and you don't want to unload the whole thing to unearth a scrubbing brush.

In Africa, young and confused
In Africa we randomly decided to name our boxes after islands close to our hearts. These were Hebridean islands (including Berneray, Pabbay, Boreray) and Gilbertese islands (Tarawa, Nonouti, Bikeman).

As an identification system this worked well. We scrawled the names on the tops and sides so we could find the boxes we were looking for.

But as a guiding taxonomy it was rubbish. We could never fully remember what was where, even after a year.

This time we decided to use meaningful names. Now call us crazy bohemians but we couldn't bring ourselves to use life-sapping, literal words like, "Cooking", "Camping", "Electronics". So we plumped for our friends. We liked the idea of bringing them with us, and whenever we would open a box, we'd be reminded of them.

So at the risk of alienating our friends below for misrepresenting them for cheap laughs, and for missing everyone else out*, here is our list of main boxes in alphabetical order (mostly using surnames; we know too many Pauls):

  • BUTTLE: Hiking/wild camping equipment | Keswick-based Paul is the modern-day Alfred Wainwright and has written books.
  • CALLUM: Charging and recharging plugs and cables | Mr McLeod has more energy than anyone we know.
  • HYLTON: Cooking equipment - in our biggest box, the long black one | Peter has a big capacity for food and life. Yes Peter is tall and black. Coincidence, Pete ;)
  • KENNEDY: Electronics, First Aid Kit, Angus's donated meds | Angus is our most digital chum, widely published, and knows more than most GPs about medicine.
  • LONGDEN: Spares for Nellie | The amazing Paul and Marilyn are currently driving through South America in their converted Mercedes Benz van. Enough said.
  • MARCOS: Shoes | We don't have any friends with a shoe fetish, we think, so Imelda had to stand in.
  • MORRISON: The big tent - in the grey box on the back which keeps slipping off the bike rack | A big camping family; Paul can be a bit awkward (Jo wrote that).
  • NORTH: Spices, herbs, core foods, alcohol | Holly is a great cook and a drinks connoisseur.
  • REYNOLDS: Array of different foods, the more exotic the better | Sarah is a gifted cook/baker.
  • STURGE: Legal etc documentation | Gavin is a natural organiser and a very safe pair of hands.
  • WIGFORD: Games, cards, catapault (yes), bangers (yes), cycle stuff | This family (Dave's sister's) knows how to have fun!

The rear of the car without the sleeping platform and the usual dozen soft bags
For the record we have rucksacks and other bags, mostly containing clothes, but they're not boxes so they don't get names.

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*If you're not on this list it doesn't mean you are not a great friend. Clearly you have such a complex and engaging set of attributes that we couldn't put you in a box.

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