My View, Ben Parkinson: I was always so proud of my broken nose

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It’s been a practice weekend for me.

I’m counting down now and in only four weeks we’ll set off for the Yukon River.

One of the most important things for me is to learn to get in and out of my tent.

This may sound very easy but, for me, with legs that don’t bend at the moment, it’s not that simple.

Most of the team have round igloo tents, but I have one that’s much taller.

As the weather was so good we decided to set up the tent and give it a go. So my back garden became the Yukon Valley. We did the job properly complete with guy ropes which are a fantastic trip hazard for somebody on prosthetic legs and crutches.

We also set up my camp bed. Andy is sharing my tent but being a lesser mortal he is sleeping on the floor like the rest of the team!

My mum was ready with the camera because we were all convinced that I was going to end up flat on my face when I tried to climb over the tent flap for the first time.

But my intensive Army training kicked in and I managed it first time perfectly.

We could not simulate the bear hazard with my two small jackapoos, but Bertie gave it his best shot.

Before anyone asks I will put you out of your misery: we decided to use the indoor facilities and not a bucket behind the greenhouse. Some pleasures we will just leave until we are out there.

It was a lovely, warm night and again the Army training kicked in. I can sleep absolutely anywhere at any time so a camp bed in the garden was no problem at all. Not so easy for Andy I’m afraid.

I have to admit I snore. Once in Iraq, my unit received a radio communication from a nearby patrol telling them to wake up Big Parky because he was giving away our position to the enemy.

I always like to think that it was because as a regimental boxer I had a classic broken nose. I was very proud of that nose. I thought it gave me kudos and made me look like a hardened fighter. When I was injured my nose was broken again but the surgeons managed to straighten it.

When I realised I was gutted. Not only had my most distinguished feature gone but also my excuse for the snoring – I have to admit it’s not changed that one bit.

The only good thing about the snoring is that it doesn’t bother me, but for Andy it was a very long night. There’s not much room to get away in a two-man tent.

In the morning we cooked our porridge on a camp stove, and our one night in a Doncaster back garden went very well. Then one of the guys doing the trip sent me a photo of a huge brown bear pushing into a tiny tent. Perhaps porridge isn’t a good idea – or just call me Goldilocks!

n Ben will join five other ex-soldiers to kayak 465 miles down the Yukon River in Canadian Alaska next month.