Thursday, 30 May 2013

The DIY Diet: A Video

A couple of weeks ago a fella, R. called me (young and enthusiastic, so young and enthusiastic he sounds about 12 to me) and asked if I'd take him out shooting, he wanted to shoot some video for a vignette about alternatives to rising food costs, and wondered I would show him some subsistance hunting.

At the time subsistance was very much on my mind, I was twiddling my thumbs; diving my time between frantically searching for loose change down the back of the sofa, and writing talismans in my own blood hoping some atavistic god of the hunt would take pity on me and send some gainful employment my way.

So guessing that he's never been hunting before, and fancying a day in the woods, I tell him
"I'll take you, but you're going to have to be a sport about this, all I can promise you is a stunning location. This is hunting not shopping. "

Early one morning I meet R and his friend R in the street. They are both so young and cute I feel about 100 years old. We set off for the country, being journalists by disposition they politely listen to an interminable stream of anecdotes I've brought along to pass the time. Being journalists they have a most excellent line in gossip and salacious rumour, themselves. They are very good company.

Regular readers will remember that I have long and inglorious history of not being able to find 'the permission' when I get there, I've never arrived at the same time or in the climatic conditions twice, I know a few local landmarks so I can get near to near-ish to the place but usually spend a while scratching my head before the penny drops. This time was no exception.

As expected we've left the tarmaced road and are driving down a bridle-way, I'm just thinking 'That's not the house we're looking for' when the front wheels sink into a pool of mud and the Golf goes no further. Bugger.
Sunk it has, the driver side front wheel not only has no traction, but isn't even in contact with terra firma, the car is resting on its floorpan. In a cloud of clutch-smoke. Bugger.

There are sign's of life at the last house we passed, sign's of life like a 4x4 with a tow-bar parked outside, so I send the guys back to the house to ask for help. Where they receive the sour-faced "well you shouldn't have driven down there then should you" of rural scum. Bugger again.

Being a protected English countryside habitat there is agricultural crap lying around all over the place; so we drag a sheet of corrugated iron out of a hedge, dig away some of the mud, and use the sheet as a base for the jack, which lifts the car enough to put some rocks under the wheel. Traction restored we reverse out of the hole, and straight into the next one. About an hour later as we free ourselves from the third hole we end up turning the car around outside casa sourface, it's occupants staring gormlessly at us from the windows. Rural scum.

As we climb the stile the wood is at it's most photogenic, the bluebells are in full bloom, the whole place looks like it was laid out especially for filming. If you wanted to show someone english woodland stalking in the springtime, you'd show them the purple might of the Bluebell woods. Its the woods as we know them: Hornbeam, Yew, Oak, Brich, Beech, Hazel. Just with a carpet hovering 12 inches off the ground made of glowing purple flowers.

Every stalker has their own version of this, but I always remember it the way HunterX says it. "Close the bolt and close the gate" - as soon as you are on the land you have permission to shoot, be ready to take that shot. Your arrival might spook something and that might be your only chance at a shot. The guys are heaving a mini film crew's worth of stuff with them, I do the next best thing and leave them setting up at the hut to take an 'armed ramble'.

There are slots but no Deer, the warren is unoccupied and there's no sign of any Squirrels for the pot, its just as well the guys had bought themselves a Rabbit over the internet. This time is was shopping and not hunting, but the location was stunning.

More soon
Your pal

Friday, 24 May 2013

Bug Out Bag : Veteran Style

This contains important real-world advice for anyone who expects to be away from the comforts of home, whether that's on a hunting, fishing, bushcrafting trip or because it's TEOTWAWKI and you're living off the land. It's a must see for the 'middle youth' crowd and will serve as a 'what to except' for the younger guys.
Remember Proper Preparation Prevents .. Accidents.
Have a good weekend
Your pal

Monday, 20 May 2013

Kelly Kettle Review

I've always heated water in a billy balanced on two sticks or rocks, but the method does have its drawbacks. So when the chance to get a mini Kelly Kettle came up I bought one. Handy thing it is too.
As you can see its hard to imagine a method for having a greater surface area to heat-exchange with, and as a side benefit the fire is effectively wind-proofed.

E of SN tells me they originated in Ireland as the preferred brew making apparatus of profesional seaweed gatherers, and with the design's ability to be carried full of water and stay alight in wind and rain, its a highly plausible origin story.
A big advantage of the Stormkettle F1 is 
the neoprene cover which both retains heat and protects fingers.

I've seen and used quite a few Kelly's over the years, the Aluminium models are obviously slightly superior in their ability to transfer heat, and the stainless steel editions slightly better in their ability to resist dents. A lad on Kickstarter was claiming to have invented the idea and was making his out of Titanium. While there are very few titanium things I havent bought over the years, the model from is I hope the best of both worlds. Ti is light, strong, corrosion and stain-proof, but its a pretty crappy transmitter of heat and ofcourse carry's a price premium that I'm not able to stretch to this week.
This puppy is Aluminium with an anodised finish and so far it seems very good. The other thing I liked about the F1 Storm kettle is it's a brew-kit, just enough water for two cups and not going to take up too much real estate in my fishing bag. I would have bought one years ago, but I've never seen one this petite before: Capacity: 0.5 litres Diameter: 12.5 cm Height - with fire bowl in: 20 cm Weight - empty: 450 g. Most of the companies around the world making Kelly Kettles will sell you gadgets to balance a frying pan on top. Forgive my cynasism but I reckon I'm just too clumsy to cook my bacon and eggs on such a device. The whole kit and kaboodle would be on the ground before the water was boiled.

More Soon
Your pal
PS yes I'm embarrassed to admit I drank instant so-called coffee

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Just a test post

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tapas In Valencia: Tasca Angel

Sea Snails con Nails
I've not been posting much lately as other projects have been getting in the way, one of them had me visiting Valencia with Elfa.  

We stayed with Mr & Mrs Spainglish a couple Elfa is friends with, "You're going to love them, they are like you about foodieness, just not fat. Like you"

Mrs Spainglish (the English half), who has lived in the city for about thirteen years, warmly recommends Tasca Angel for authentic tapa, and it didn't disappoint. Obviously we ate all the weird things on the menu, Eels: good but a bit expensive, Brains: the best I've ever had, likewise the Sardines, and the Snails con Nails were amazing, but they sell less carpetovetónica food too. It's only about five minutes walk from the Mercado Central, which if you're not visiting you may as well not bother going to Valencia. 

Carrer de la Puríssima, 1 46001 Valencia València, Spain‎ +34 963 91 78 35

Your host, I wish I could tell you his taste in music was as good as his tapas.
If you like 80's power ballads with your tapas you're in luck!


Hunting Gazelle With A Cheatah

Not something you see every day