6th: I have been trying to think through what one would need to make a journey of two months by bike. Obviously the amount of clothing would depend on the season; a change of underwear, a warm sleeping bag, pillow, some form of mat to lay on, and a tent or hammock would be the bare minimum. Although it would be nice to have the funds to stay in comfortable B&Bs and pensions, the reality is that some of the time you would have to sleep “on the road” either at camp sites or “wild”. So some form of cooking equipment might also come in handy. Then there would be the need to stay creative, writing poetry, travel diary, and maybe doing the odd painting. So a small laptop,  mobile phone and notebook(s) would certainly be part of the kit. For personal hygiene: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, roll-on deoderant.  For food and drink, I have been thinking in terms of those telescopic reusable cups that you can get to signal your sustainability credentials, plus knife and fork and spoon, also perhaps a Buddhist monks bowl that could be used for multiple purposes such as drinking wine, morning coffee, eating breakfast or dinner, maybe even as a kind of makeshift saucepan to boil and egg. A Kindle would be useful, plus chargers and charging cables, and portable battery charger. Of course, there would have to be bike kit including levers, pump and a spare inner tube as well as the bike charger which is one of the bigger items, and a sturdy bike lock to prevent theft.

An unresolved issue: how to paint on the road? Emily has offered to buy me some panniers as a belated 61st birthday present, but I want to get something lightweight and nifty. I have seen some people with panniers that ressemble donkey bags! Perhaps it is a fantasy, but I imagine my total luggage space would be something the size of a Fjallravenskanken on either side, and perhaps the same on my back. There might be room for some pencils, pastels and watercolours in such an arrangement, but I very much doubt you could squeeze in all the paraphernalia you need for oil painting, let alone the canvases!

I would welcome any comments from people reading this blog as to what else might be useful to pack. Maybe even what I’ve listed above is impractical. But the limitless nature of human ingenuity usually means there is a solution. Let me know if you have any bright ideas about reducing what one needs to carry.