Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bug eyed monster

With the imminent outbreak of the mad pig death virus that will destroy civilisation as we know it (I've been reading the tabloids), it seems sensible to take certain precautions in case, as the acronym goes, TSHTF*.

For this reason, I am going to prepare a bug out box.

Oh yes.

One of my little peccadilloes is the occasional (albeit rare these days) bit of wild camping, where I sneak off into the woods and hide in a bivi, whilst definitely not camping on private land, lighting fires or burying my poo because that would be in direct contravention of various bylaws which I fully respect and adhere to. Thanks to this hobby, I happen to have a small amount of what could be termed survival kit, currently ensconced in the garage. This kit will also be present in the bug out box, in case we need to evacuate the area and live in a camouflaged yurt under the M5.

Now I know this smacks of paranoid survivalism, but I'm not talking about making my own heavily armed fort and proclaiming myself King of the New World, because that would be silly. I haven't even got a crown.

Just a few supplies to see me and my family through any loss of services, or reduction in victuals that we might need. Things like tins, candles, water, calor gas, stove, pasteurised milk, dried foods, homemade crossbow, matt-black armoured Nissan Micra adorned with the sun-bleached skulls of my defeated foes.

You know. The usual.

So, let's see what we've got in the kit at the moment:

Knife? Check. Carbon steel Frosts Mora Clipper (cheap and cheerful, sharpens up well and gives a good spark from a fire-steel).
Fire-steel? Check. Swedish, high temperature sparks, embedded in red deer antler to make me feel a bit more rugged. I would like to say I hollowed out the antler myself after fighting a stag for it on the moors of Rum, but actually I ordered it online. From a chap called Colin.
Stone? Check. For sharpening knife after you've unadvisedly used it as a hammer.
Lady's leather Belt? Check. Because it's all the rage in the woods at the moment. Also for knife sharpening.
Snare wire? Check. Ostensibly to catch squirrels and rabbits, but more likely used to dry my undercrackers after a swim.
Matches? Check. Normal and waterproof, in case I ever want to light a fire in a pond.
Plastic bottle full of kindling? Check. Currently contains some cotton wool and silver birch bark. I always have silver birch bark around, partly because it burns well and slowly, but mostly because I find it quite satisfying peeling a silver birch tree. If you've never done it, give it a go. You'll see what I mean.
Fishing line? Check. In case there's no room left on the snare wire for my socks.
Retractable saw? Check. For when I realise that cutting branches off with your knife is just too much like hard work and gives you a blister on the inside of your thumb, which you then can't stop fiddling with until it pops and gets all slimy blister-juice on your mug handle, making you go "Ew! Ew! Ew!" before looking around to see if anyone saw you act like a wuss even though you're in the middle of the woods and haven't seen anyone else for two days.
Toilet paper? Check. For looking at wistfully, but never using as it's only there for an emergency and anyway, those big burdock leaves are still Spring-soft.
Axe? Check. Light, hollow-handled and sharp. For throwing at tree-stumps whilst singing Monty Python songs.
Whistle? Check. No idea why.
Potassium permanganate? Check. For water purification and wound care, also fire lighting if you've got some glucose tablets. Which I haven't.
Water purification tablets? Check. Self-explanatory, but useful as I'm too nervous to use potassium permanganate because it can kill you if it's overly purple. Pink to drink, red you're dead. Bit of a narrow margin for error really.
Spoon knife? Check. For carving smooth curves such as bowls and spoons.
Wooden spoon? Check. For taking about three months to be carved by spoon knife and still looking like a deformed banjo.
Candle? Check. For lighting up at night so you can find your torch.
Torch? It was here somewhere? Damn. Wish I had a torch. I could find it then.

See, all useful kit.

I also include huge amounts of this stuff:

Because I have the knotting ability of pig-iron, I have to use reams and reams of paracord for the simplest tasks of attaching a couple of branches together when constructing my idyllic woodland abode. As more capable outdoorsfolk have noted when viewing my artistry: "It ain't pretty, but it works." Coincidentally, I use the very same phrase for my penis.

Additionally, I have a decent first aid kit, and some nice cookware, as well as a pocket version of Lofty Wiseman's SAS survival guide, which is useful for reminding me just how bad I am at all this stuff.

The good lady Mrs The Jules was a tad perturbed when she saw me getting all my stuff together although, after I assured her she hadn't interrupted me planning a quick get away from the life obstacles that are her, my offspring and mortgage, she decided it would indeed be wise to get some stocks in, just in case supplies wound down in the shops for a few days.

I proudly pointed out the bug out box, the tarps, the aluminium cooking utensils, and my plans for ease of carriage and storage. I could knock up an animal-proof food shelter in just a couple of days hours, and set crayfish traps for a ready supply of fresh protein. Ray Mears would nod appreciatively in his £300 Gore-tex, and Bear Grylls would recognise the basic concepts, before biting the head off a live fish in a hotel garden an inaccessible wilderness.

She pointed out the cupboards in the kitchen. Also, the fridge.


So, instead of living in the woods with the sky as our ceiling, the morning dew as our duvet and a hacking cough as our night-time companion, she wants to go all soft and live in a house with a full larder, a flushing toilet and a tough PVC door with a lock on it.


Actually, that sounds pretty good.

Right, I'll lock the garage up, although in the interests of sensible tool-making for the post-civilisation era of feudal anarchy we are about to enter, I might try and knock up a back-scratcher based on the following design:

Only sensible really.

* Faecal Matter Impacting The Rotating Cooling Device.


  1. The Jules,
    I was all grumpy after waking from angsty frustrating dreams about polar bears and old blind men holding keys to gates I couldn't pass through, but then I read this post and laughed the whole way through. I also read it aloud to my husband who never "gets" anything, and he laughed too. He liked the part about the poo. Something for everyone, is what I'm saying!

  2. The Wendy House in your back garden might be a safer bet.

  3. There aren't any Curly Wurly's in that survival kit!! Don't be hero, Jules!

    I think Ray Mears will fight you to the death for the "King of the New World" title.

  4. Looks like you're the man with the plan. Can I come with you and the fam?

  5. Steamy - My poo IS for everyone! Glad you liked it!

    GB - It's not a bleeding Wendy House, it's an Urban Paediatric Shelter.

    Girl I - I think I'd be in more danger from Mr Mears if I had Curly-Wurlies on my person!

    Thinkinofyou - definitely got a plan. It's not a good plan, but it's a plan. It's like the quantitative easing of survival.

  6. Wow. It's just like the Survivors all over again. Can we come and stay with you, if we bring our four tins of Heinz tomato soup? I've watched lots of Ray Mears programmes and I reckon we could help you a lot. And I may even rustle up a tin of baked beans.

  7. Mdme DeF - Rustlin' huh? That might be a hangin' offence post-civilisation.

  8. That was way too funny. And like the others I would be glad to join you for a bit of "wild camping".

  9. Dr Z - Weapon? I suppose you could use the back scratcher for such a purpose, if you knoew how ot load and fire it.

    s engelmohr - Thank you. I'm going to need a bigger bivi at this rate. You have a very worthy blog, by the way, not like my fanciful utterances.

  10. This is too funny. Looks like you have it all figured out. Check out blog post for today.. It gives my take on the whole pork pandemic.
    I found your blog thru AV's new blogger cafe. Great blog!

  11. Handy tip.. securely attach a leather loop around the end of the back scratcher before you use it.

    There is nothing worse than losing a handy bit of kit to the person who'se back you are scratching during the battle.

    Once bitten and all that...

  12. Jimmy - Always good to have advice from a veteran back scratcher!


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