On the way back to Banbury over the hills, the pack weight was hard going. I could really feel that I was lifting the weight up the elevation. I had decided to carry our tent and everything that I might carry on the full tour. Every hill I slowly fell further and further behind and Mel had to wait for me at the top. My right shoulder hurt with a sharp pain that gradually got worse.
It was clear that the pack I had borrowed would not do, and that I needed to carry a lot less weight. Mentally I ran through everything I had in the pack and began to resent them all. I’d been told that you should aim to not carry more than ten percent of your body weight on long distance walks. That would have been about 6kg, but the pack was somewhere around 12kg, all pulling on my shoulders.
The sun was bright so I had on big black sunglasses, a big black felt hat tied on under the chin with black ribbon when the wind picked up. Feeling both cool and ridiculous at the same time. About normal.
After my repeated complaining about my pack and shoulder Mel offered to swap packs with me and see if was any better. As we parted we swapped our possessions.
Back at home I took everything out of the pack and stared at my enemies. The binoculars, they would go, the book on plants, go, the survival tin, go, the stove, go. I lifted the pack again. Still heavy, but better. We’d see.
Someone had said to me “You should do a documentary.” So I said OK, but I don’t have a camera. Ask Insight Share they said.
A few days later I was meeting Marleen at Insight Share’s office and she was lending us a video camera and explaining Participatory Video.
“Most of our work has been abroad. We go to marginalised communities and help them to tell their story. The way we do it is straight away to hand over the camera and they tell their own story through activities and games. So they’re learning straight away. Once they have the basic skills we help them with storyboarding.” A storyboard consists of pictures representing video scenes, to help plan and visualize the shooting of the footage.
I left with a book about participatory video, filming tips and a bundle of equipment.
For the second practice walk it was to be me, Miranda, Sama and her friend Tom. We weren’t able to get any funding grants (by this point I was rejoicing that we were a ‘we’) but the Lush shop in Oxford did offer to throw us a ‘Charity Pot Party’. I had visions of us crouched inside a big pot like a stripogram with people partying around us and throwing money in at us.
It turned out to be a weekend where the store donated the profits from sales of it’s ‘Charity Pot’ moisturiser to us and we had a stall to tell people about the tour.
Proud (and simultaneously embarrassed) of our official-looking Buzz Tour canvas bags and business cards, Miranda and I laid out our stall with leaflets and draped ourselves in orange and black fake fur. To top it all off we wore wobbly black and yellow striped sequin antenna.