This week has been hectic with catching up on jobs that have to be done before I set off, never mind the packing and organising of gear to take with me. Isnít it amazing how when people get to know that you are going to be away for a few weeks, they try to hassle you into extra work! I have fitted three floors in the past seven days that were not really on my timetable, but I mustnít complain as the money has been most helpful.

Talking of helpful, I must at this point thank a couple of people who have come to my assistance with this trip (quite apart from Malcolm Crosse, who organised it all from Tasmania, and Phil Tompson who provided the flights). Firstly, there is Richard Banbury at Orvis. Richard has kindly agreed to loan out one of the Orvis "Trident" four-piece travel rods for me to use in Australia. Better than that however, is the fact that when I told him that I needed to purchase a new fly-fishing waistcoat, he kindly sent me one as a gift! I am now in the process of working out what to put into the multitude of pockets that the "Super Tac-L-Pak" has! I will let you know how the Trident rod makes out on the fish "down under", but thanks again to Richard.

Secondly, I approached a couple of companies with the hope that I might be able to buy some small items of equipment to put into "goodie-bags" for the anglers attending my courses in Tasmania. Up popped my good friend Gareth Jones, and next thing I knew was a parcel turning up with a whole lot of items really suitable for the said bags! Even better was the fact that Gareth didnít want a penny for the items, so I have made a mental note that I must mention Airflo when I report in from my Tasmanian base over the next few weeks. Cheers Gareth.

I am almost packed now, and by the time that you read this I will probably be in the air on my way to the first stop: just a refuelling one in Singapore. I was encouraged enormously by the rugby game at Twickenham, and am now considering wearing my England rugby shirt for the journey!

I have one last trip over to Chew Valley this side of Christmas to pick up a few bits and pieces for the journey. I will probably pop in to see Bob Handford, wish him a happy one, and then I will start to concentrate hard on the trip ahead.

Next week I will give my first report from ĎTassieí and let you know how things are looking there fishing-wise right now. The Tasmanian Tourism outfit here have been in touch with me; they are very keen to make the state more accessible to the British angling fraternity. I will do what I can do to assist this exciting development scheme.

Tight lines,
Martin Cottis.