Keeping the show on the road
I wanted to write this about my old Peugeot 306. I bought it for £200 last November. I figured that keeping it going – managing without the heater (this had to be disconnected due to a matrix leak) and improvising repairs was somehow all good practice for the GGR. The throttle cable broke a few months back. I had a look at it and figured that I could use a bicycle cable instead. So with a bit of filing and jigery-pokery I had the car back up and running in 20 minutes just using what I had to hand. That’s what will happen in the GGR – things will break that I don’t have replacements for and I will have to simply make do. Although it was uncomfortable and cold the old car and I had made a pact – if you keep me on the road until the start of the GGR it could then have a rest. It would confirm this arrangement with every mile it ate up – pictured here passing 200,000.
Last weekend I was driving outside Bristol. While slowing down at a slip road a Landrover Discovery drove into the back of us at full speed. We were OK but the car was a mess. It was unceremoniously towed away. So I’m now without wheels – which is a bugger because I have a mountain of work to do on Black Sheep and I can’t afford a replacement car – or even a hire car for that matter – to get me and my tools down to Chichester. This has meant refit progress has ground to a halt.
I don’t know whether it’s this, my dog Nina dying, or the slow response to the Labour Exchange but the last few weeks have been properly tough. Certainly not being able to get around has bought home to me just how impoverished I am due to this campaign. Prioritising the last cash you have for stamps so that you can send out letters asking for companies to buy bottles of your sweat does make you think what the hell are you doing! Especially when so far only 3 out of 250 have responded (negatively) to my carefully handwritten missives.
In the last month I’ve sold 5 bottles – raising £4,000 net. That’s at least something. I spent almost a year looking for conventional sponsorship and got nowhere. All I need is to sell 44 more and we’d have the £35k that we need to be back in the water by February and ready for the OSTAR race next year, with that all important momentum on our side.
I had another look at the overall budget today. Do we really need to make this alteration? Can we make do with that? I saved a lot and got it down to £150k. My rent and feeding myself is not included – or a replacement car come to think of it! Nevertheless it’s more feasible.
I have always believed that if you fully commit to something, and showed complete determination and integrity, you will somehow achieve it. What is heartbreaking is the realisation that I still haven’t done that – I haven’t given it everything yet because I’m still so far from where I need to be. I have to now contemplate the possibility that the Labour Exchange isn’t going to be the vehicle that funds my race. Perhaps it is just too harder a sell. The thought of this is pretty devastating.
There comes a point where you feel like such a fool for continuing. I passed that months ago and carried on anyway. Sure this is excellent training for the GGR, but I can now see another point looming in the future where, unless I raise some money somehow, time will run out and the wheels are going to come off completely.
Until then I better pump up the tyres on my old bicycle and replace that brake cable I scavenged a few months ago. Perhaps I can fashion some sort of trailer for my tools. It’s only 50 miles to Chichester – if I could only collect the sweat!
***UPDATE 12.11.16: The insurance called a couple of days after I posted this and after some wrangling they paid me £500 for the old car. This weekend I went out and got a replacement – an old Mercedes diesel estate – it has 315,000 miles on the clock but I reckon it’ll do just fine. I was so stuck without wheels. Thank you to everyone who offered to help with lifts and contributions in response to this – you’re all brilliant***