Amongst the logistical things I'm working through before my departure -- the acquiring of necessary equipment, booking of ferry tickets, organising of insurance -- the saga-steads pilgrimage is providing me with the opportunity to pick up various skills that I've long wanted to have a working knowledge of.
Car maintenance, for one. I don't want to break down miles from anywhere in a howling gale without a clue as to what to look for upon opening the ambulance bonnet (hood, for those who are reading in the United States...). So I'll be spending a couple of days next week shadowing the guys at Nene Overland, in Peterborough. I'm deep in Hillier's Fundamentals of Motor Vehicle Technology at the moment (in between editing verses for the Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages Project). It's like learning an entirely new language -- always exciting -- but I'm hoping too that when it comes to the crunch, cable ties will solve practically all of the mechanical problems I might encounter.
I've had promises of a fishing lesson from friends in College -- the Emmanuel College swimming pool is to be the venue for this learning experience. And this weekend, I'm off on a two-day St John's Ambulance activity first aid course which will cover how to deal with "conditions caused by the extremes of temperature, low blood sugar and casualty management". I hope that's of some comfort to those who have slight concerns about my solo survival!
Ex-ASNC alumnus and professional photographer Jimmy Appleton is giving me some landscape photography and camera tips tomorrow. And the University Press and Communications Office are preparing an official press release that will come out soon. If learning how to communicate my research interests to the press isn't an important life skill at a time when the arts and humanities are under such a serious threat, then I don't know what is.