November (reality arrives in the mail)

Despite the injury (which has healed to the point my leg is usable but not particularly bendable), I have managed, rather amazingly, to maintain my original almost two-kilo weight loss. Even though I have also managed to develop an addiction to lolly snakes (99% fat free but unfortunately with a truck-load of sugar). So now, if I'm not chewing one of my nicotine chewing gums, I'm eating a snake. Or three.
And it was while I was busily separating the yellow snakes (they taste best) from the slither, that I had my latest inspired idea. Which was to start this blog and detail our whole Kokoda experience, including the battle (because that's how it feels at the moment!) to get fit. I decide, somewhat airily, that the fact that my entire blog-like experience amounts to a singular paragraph that I submitted for a book promotion last year just adds to the challenge. After all, that's what it's all supposed to be about anyway.
That same day I receive a DVD via post from a Kokoda Trek company that Leanne has contacted. The DVD features a group of South Australians who undertook the trek a couple of years ago. With some reservations (isn't ignorance a form of bliss? I quite like bliss), I put it on and settle down to watch with a cup of coffee and a packet of Tim Tams (they are the pink-packaged type that donate money to breast cancer so I'm being supportive here).
At the beginning the trekkers all look refreshingly normal but pretty soon there's an awful lot of walking, and jungle, and the odd vertical cliff-face. Also a lot of rain and mud. Suspiciously the film does not show anything that even remotely resembles a toilet in the Thomas Crapper sense (which also happens to be the sense I prefer). Although the food looks decidedly less than gourmet so perhaps the trick is to moderate what goes in, so that - well, you see my point. I learn that Day Two is known as 'Leech Day', which I do not find particularly encouraging. Do we also have a 'Malaria Day', or a 'Dysentery Day'? Maybe even a 'Falling Off the Side of one of those Ridiculous Cliff Days'? Just as I think this, one of the guys on the DVD does exactly that, coming to a rest by some river rocks with his head in his hand and blood seeping through his fingers.
My youngest daughter comes home from school as I am somewhat numbly watching the second half of the film. She plops herself down next to me, throwing her blazer across the floor with the nonchalant abandon of one who does not have to pay for dry-cleaning. For a few moments she just stares at the line of weary trekkers forging their way through the jungle and then the following conversation ensues:
  • Her: Is this that alien versus predator film?
  • Me: (with feeling): I certainly hope not. Actually it's about the Kokoda Track. You know, that thing I'm doing next year. And pick up your blazer please.
  • Her (looking from the film to me and then back again): Oh. Hmm.
  • Me: You could be a little more supportive.
  • Her (staring at the television): I am. Really. Um, why is that woman crying?
  • Me (injecting my voice with hearty conviction): Those are joyful tears. Loaded with endorphins and adrenalin and all that sort of good stuff. Because she's challenging herself, and accomplishing things which she never -
  • Her: Yeah, right. Hey, did you eat all those Tim Tams?

After I have finished watching the film, I'm rather surprised to find that I do not feel as daunted as expected, in fact I feel oddly reassured. All that camaraderie and personal growth. Even when the bloke falls down the cliff, everyone scrambles to help him. And it's not like he sustained fatal injuries. Besides, even apart from the fact they are all from South Australia (I had a marriage break down in SA once, for which I have always held the state somewhat responsible), one of the men is about seventy, another is seriously overweight, and one of the women is legally blind. And I figure that if they can do it, then surely so can I. This gives me hope. So I limp to the kitchen to celebrate.