I was worried (and one of the blog's visitors was also worried) that I might not have room for all the things on my list of 'essentials'. I needn't have worried. Yesterday afternoon (dry for once) I took off the panniers and topcase, gave them a wash - you'll see why in a minute - and dried them off in the sun. Then I brought them inside and put them on the spare bedroom floor. This is the only room in the house that has nice carpet, so I am always very careful not to 'track muck in' as my Mum used to say.
The Honda panniers are exceptionally good. Not only are they 100% waterproof (I have been through epic downpours and not a drop has got inside, ever), but they have a dinky little clip so that you can disconnect the strap that stops them falling wide open when they are on the bike, and lay them completely flat on the floor. So I laid them open like two huge white clamshells, and started to pile stuff in from the bed. Not organised packing, just dumping things in the right place and seeing to what extend they overflowed.
Well, I haven't got everything yet, but all the big space-devouring stuff is there, and the cases were just over half-full. They aren't massive (compared to, say, Givi cases) but they appear to be big enough for my needs. I might even manage an extra pair of shoes - readers of UKBike note, that's additional to the sandals - and get some of the stuff that I was planning to carry on the pillion seat into the cases and out of the way.
Panniers and tank bag. Note: these are not packed - the stuff was emptied into the general area just to estimate the volume. The packing will be a lot more efficient, I hope. Eagle-eyed readers of a certain age may notice the sticker resting on the middle box. This was an unexpected find out of a pile of old Bike magazines that I was given a while ago. It was a freebie with an issue back in the 80s, when the magazine had an endurance racing team that competed in the Bol d'Or and the like. The GB sticker reads "Bike Invasion Force", and the other says "Team Bike", all in perfect condition. I am debating whether to use them as some kind of nostalgia thing or not. I have already put a blue Euro GB sticker on the left pannier, so maybe that would be too much of a good thing. I'm not over-fond of stickers, generally.
This is the stuff that is coming behind me on the seat. In fact, much of this is redundant since I got the inflatable mattress. On the left is the tank bag rain cover, and then there is the green bag with the tent, the black drybag with the sleeping bag and pillow, and on top of them is a black tube thing which contains one of those neat little three-legged stool jobbies, bought for a couple of quid at a Land Rover show a few years ago. Tiny, and very handy for lazy people who like a nice sit down now and again. The Trangia box isn't coming along, but I am going to try to find room for the flags. One is the Welsh Dragon (no, not a picture of Anna) which I always take camping abroad to stick somewhere as a kind of identity marker. I'm not Welsh, but for the purposes of camping abroad with Anna I might as well be. Plus, it gets you a lot of kudos in Brittany, where the Welsh are regarded as more native than the Paris French. Speak a little Welsh, or even just recognise some words in Breton, and you are treated like a long-lost son. The other is one I found on the web last year. It is a lovely pale blue, with the White Rose of Yorkshire. That will remind me of my original home. It would be kinda cool to have them streaming behind the bike as I enter the campsite in Denmark, but maybe not. They don't take up much room, any way.
Rain today (and work later), so I will spend today hunting down documents. The bike is insured, I am certain, but right now I can't find any evidence of the fact. The certificate I carry around in my wallet ran out last year. Ho hum.