I'm packed up and ready for the off. This must be a personal best. It's three weeks until I fly. It has nothing to do with being organised and everything to do with the vagaries of air transport. Flights to Hammerfest, apart from being excruciatingly expensive, are far from direct. I'll be making two changes but suggested routes involved up to five. My incoming and ongoing flights in Oslo are rather critically spaced. I'd have to be moving, and probably squealing, like a greased pig in a pig wrangling festival if I was to disembark from the one, collect my bagage, pass through customs, pass through security and board the other on time.
What to do? Well, my plan is to take only hand luggage. A great motivation for going ultralight you would think and a very astute thought that would be if it wasn't for security. Stoves, fuel bottles, pocket knives and stacks of Ziploc bags containing freeze dried powders would have border control guards pulling on elbow length rubber gloves before you could say "assume the position". No, the only working solution is to ship my gear ahead of time. My packed rucksack, containing everything I will carry apart from the clothes I'll be standing up in, fuel, Randulf’s mystery tent and a few bits of fresh food, has been entrusted to the postal service. Gulp. Seven kilograms of my favourite things in the world are separated from disaster by a sheet of plastic, a few wraps of packing tape and the loving care of TNT.
On that latter point, it turns out that, in the interest of customer service, my village no longer has a post office. Apparently, since the end of May, unnoticed to me, my fellow residents have been buying stamps and posting letters at the supermarket. I tried the new service for the first time today. I spent a very pleasant twenty minutes trying to work out tarrifs and fill in customs documents with a check-out girl. Well, my gear shipment was after all the first large parcel destined for a non-EU country since the end of May. Here's hoping for a speedy delivery and a reassuring mail from Randulf . When the palpitations have stopped I'll post my gear list.