Rain, Cabin fever and survivalist tendencies

The road book coverIsn’t it great to see the sun again, my visions of flood, fire and pestilence are retreating with the clouds parting and the rain abating. The news is no longer full of flooding, the river Avon is once more within its banks and the family have had their flu pandemic shots. Equilibrium restored, no longer do I need to resist the temptation to race to the supermarket and stock up the larder with tins of soup and baked beans.

In our modern cities and towns we still have the primal urge to stock pile wood and food for the winter. Our basic urge to survive helps to explain why television programmes and wilderness survival books like those featuring Bear Grylls have a huge following. Survivalist scenarios change from decade to decade; the threat of world war, the nuclear bomb, pollution and today the threat of peak oil production and global warming. I turn on the news or pick up a magazine to threat of volcanic ash disrupting air travel, speculation over why the Mayan calendar finishes in 2012, Flash Forward’s latest episode points to the end of the world 2015 and our most popular film Avatar is about big business exploiting a planet. Then of course The Road paints a bleak picture of humanity’s future If you haven’t seen the film, read the book.

Perversely I find there is nothing better for making you feel safe and secure in your own “log cabin” than curling up on the couch this winter with a tale exploring futuristic views of post-apocalyptic earth. Your favourite hero struggles to deal with environmental disaster and a regressed civilization, as I pretend those few bottles of sauce and jars of bottled fruit I made mark me a true survivor able to fend for myself. If post-apocalyptic visions aren’t your thing try tales based on prehistoric civilizations where tales of food collecting, trapping and other survival tales abound or try a true tale of human endurance and outdoor life.

  • Cormac McCarthy’s The Road The novel paints a bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic America; a land where no hope remains. A man and his son walk alone towards the coast, and this is the moving story of their journey. The Road is an unflinching exploration of human behaviour from ultimate destructiveness to extreme tenderness.
  • Jim Crace’s The Pest house America, as we know it, has fragmented. Its machines have stopped, its communities have splintered, its history is forgotten, and the migration has started. This novel presents the story of an America adapting to a ‘medieval future’ without technology, science and social cohesion, and how two people find strength in one another against all odds.

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What do you like to read in the wee hours as the winter storm swirls and you are safe in bed???

Loving winter think library

Being prepared isn’t just for Boy Scouts

The worst case scenario survival handbookSome years ago the first in the series of the “Worst case scenario” books made its appearance on the scene.  This handbook is full of useful advice on how to do such unlikely things as escape from quicksand, fend off a bear, or jump from a moving car.  Since then the series has branched out into topics such as parenting, golf, dating & sex, and travel

Given the success of these guides it’s not too surprising that other authors have jumped on the “survival skills” bandwagon and produced their own “how to” guides.  Some of these are seriously worth a look. Continue reading