Press Day

Hi, with the EU referendum just days away and the US election looming, I would like to borrow a moment of your time to talk about something that has absolutely no relevance to current events. For those of you who didn’t see my blog last lear, hello, my name is Benji and over the next four months, I will be embarking on a voyage to become the youngest person to have sailed around the North Pole. Joining me in the saloon today is my father, who is busy, and will not be saying anything. For those of you who have read my first blog – Welcome back! To an entrancing tale of omelettes being thrown at doors, and buying comedically dressed rubber ducks(you know the drill).

It is half ten at night on Thursday the 16th, and with three days until we leave everyone except me is running around checking things. After last years trip we gave up Northabout into the competent hands of the Sharpness dockyard engineers, and the logistical genius that is Mr Colin Walker. As it turned out, there has not been a single bit of vital engineering on Northabout that hasn’t been replaced. Colin and Sharpness have altered the interior almost beyond recognition. We have a new fuel tank, a new generator, a new bulkhead in the bow and all the electronics have been replaced.

For those of you who are thinking that I’m getting to miss school, you’re right, my last day was yesterday and I don’t get back until October. For those of who think I’m missing school WORK, you are very much mistaken. Next year is the first of my GCSE’s and thanks to my wonderful caring parents and beloved teachers, I have no shortage of long divisions to do. This is actually very lucky I think. I’ll have 16 hours of downtime a day and I’ll be asleep for eight of them. in the other eight one of the biggest problems will be boredom, endless sea is only exciting for a brief period, and as such, having work to do will occupy me for a decent amount of time.

On my last day at school, my head of year gave me a small silver keychain with an engraving of saint Christopher on it. I’ve attached it to my trawler suit. However, according to the well of knowledge that is QI, Saint Christopher was removed of his saintleyship in the late 1900s.

Today has been quite an experience. This year I’m raising money for Addenbrooks hospital in Cambridge, the money will go into research into Inflammatory Bowel Disease in children, I suffer from a mild form of IBD and I see this trip partly as proving that so long as you’re pig-headed enough, there’s very little that can stop you. I’m also a youth ambassador, whatever that means, for a charity called Wicked Weather Watch. I know, it sounds like a CBBC program. Wicked Weather Watch is an educational charity, it teaches children about climate change and why we should care about it. At the moment they’re putting together key stage 3 and 4 syllabuses’ for schools. I await with great interest. As such, I am doing more publicity and today, it was organised, would be the day all the reporters came and posted my and David’s ugly mugs all over the media. We had someone from ITV come over, I had an interview with the BBC that’ll be aired tomorrow and so did David, a couple of local newspaper journalists and the publicity teams from Addenbrooks and Wicked Weather Watch. I now have T-shirts from both charity’s and I was changing between them every time I had to talk to anyone. While after that I can’t see why people go into television, it was really tiring. I don’t know how they do It.

Actually, thinking about it. The name of the Addenbrooks Charity is the Addenbrooks Charitable Trust, or ACT. For some reason people forget this really easily, so I’m going to repeat it a few times Ok? ACT. ACT, ACT ACT ACT ACT ACT ACT. ACT. Got it? Good.

For first leg of the trip (Bristol to Murmansk (Russia (y’know. The big country that’s always in spy films))) David isn’t here and Magnus isn’t on the trip at all. Instead, our skipper is a man named Dave Cushing, my dad’s on board until Tromsø too. The rest of the crew for that leg are: me, Annie, John, Clive, Colin and Hazel. All the usual suspects join us later, Nikolai, Barbara, David and so on. We leave on Sunday and it’s half 11, we’ve a four thirty start tomorrow so I should probably go to bed, I’ll write again tomorrow, and whoever is posting this, last year, mum cut off the last paragraph before posting them, please don’t do that. Anyway, bye

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