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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 16, 2006

In which we all become stinking naked hippies

Here's a compilation of emails that flew around off-post after we talked about taps not working. Thanks to all involved (at least one non-blogger, or at least not a holyhoses blogger). We pick up the trail talking about how to obtain water if the taps stopped working...

James:
The only real way to make it safe is boil it and then some. The over precautious would then add iodine, but iodine alone won’t kill all the harmful little things that’ll give you the shits. Charcoal pump filters are quite good, but aren’t ideal long term as the amount of work they take to get a little clean water is probably only useful in a survival situation.

None of these things will stop all the nitrates and other chemical rubbish from entering your gut, but I presume water from the tap is full of that crap anyway. And Like Si points out the further upstream the better, and go for the fast flowing stuff as well just to be on the safe side.

…do I have to mention not to piss near the stream?


Andy:
I have a number of very neat tricks for obtaining very pure water. Condensation methods work extremely well in both hot and cold weather and this generally produces water than can be drunk straight away. These usually involve a piece of plastic positioned over a hole in the ground and secured by earth and rocks around the rim. You place your vessel in the middle of the hole and place a small pebble in the middle of the sheet to anchor it towards the vessel. Condensation occurs and drips into the vessel.

The gathering of rain water would be excellent and I happen to know of a number of natural springs in the Nottingham area which would be good for the aquaduct treatment.

Interestingly, we’d probably go through a period of adjustment to bacteria in the water (a bout of gas or runny bum here and there) but we’d be hardier for it in the long run.

Did I mention I was good with a bow?


James:
Solar Still, brilliant! but again much like using a charcoal pump, you really aren’t gonna get more than a mouthful, certainly not enough to make a round of brews, pine needle tea anybody?

Still, excellent in very dry locations where running water isn’t a option and also at sea. And no need to process further.

I could do with a couple of bow lessons if you’re free at lunch?


Me:
Indeed getting used to bacteria and all that would be a good thing, reducing allergies and related problems.


Rob:
I never clean my kitchen.


James:
Survival is one thing, being stranded, lost and waiting to be rescued/found/die. But what we really need to learn is how to sustain yourself long term in a situation of shitfekupwhathappendedtosainsburys

So I think a better bet would be to look into how tribe people live and prolly best to start with the nomadic types who live up in the northern tundra wastelands of the former USSR – especially if we’re about to head in to another ice age.

Important tip: Lower your expectations of what a warm cosy nights sleep might be, then you won’t be that disappointed, much how a pot noodle tastes like top restaurant food when you’re camping.


Me:
There is so much wisdom here, that it leaves me with a feeling of hope.

I don't think there can be much doubt that man will survive. There just won't be quite as many of us and we won't live as long. But the two hours' work a day sounds good.

I was reading a book about prehistoric Europe the other day and apparently women used to wear skirts made from strings of beads. That wouldn't leave much to the imagination would it? Bonus!


Andy:
Three things – access to running water, natural shelter from wind, and woodland.

Personally I’d look for a ridge with perhaps an indentation or small cave to build a shelter around and I’d hope it was in reasonable proximity to woodland.

Woodland would provide sustainable resources – rabbit, squirrel and deer plus an abundance of fowl as well. Shelter can be built easily enough and the trees can give a height advantage for scoping out the area.

A single adult male deer would yield a lot of meat (I’m skilled at both hot and cold smoking – curing is desirable but would rely on us having access to some salt although we could air-dry some cuts) which could be preserved. The leather it yields is exellent as are the extremely strong sinews (Which I need for my bow). Long bones can be polished and fashioned in a variety of ways – cooking utensils, axes, handles etc.

If we were local to the sea we’d incorporate a lot of seaweed into our diets – again this can be dried and used throughout the year. Fish would be good as well and we could boost any veggies we grow with seaweed enriched soil to increase growth. Careful storage of both fruit and veg can make it last up to 3 months – of course there are dried fruit options available as well.

Can you tell that I’d actually be happy if it all happened?


Rob:
Also, people used to smell of shit.


James:
We work in Nottingham, how’s that different now, have you travelled on the tram?


Andy:
True – I’d be the first in the dung heap – a good roll around in there and then off to the woods with my bow for the deer has a keen sense of smell.

A true return to the hierarchy of needs.


James:
Actually, we’ve missed a point here, just because there wont be power on tap means little, we’ll still have the wind, sun and waves, and therefore the chance to generate our own power (small scale). We’d be able to live a strange existence somewhere between cavemen and spacemen. Shite I’d be able to charge my walkpod!

It’d be like Star Wars or something, “make sure all the cattle are accounted for, I’m going to shut down the generator for night time, have we lit the candles”

…this just gets better!


Rob:
it's my favourite genre of literature, innit?


Andy:
Can you imagine the oral story telling traditions and the musical traditions that would return? It would be amazing, we’d feel part of history rather than consumers of it.


Me:
I'm looking forward to a new age of mystery; where you can believe in things rather than having to prove them. It'll be like getting your childhood back.


James:
Getting it back? I’ve refused to give it away so far.


Rob:
But the big question in my mind is, why are these emails and not blog entries. Guardian journalists need to know this stuff.


And so it came to pass...

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