0620 am, Sunday morning and it is bloody cold!
The above image is from my current position in my hammock. Unfortunately I underestimated the temperature drop over night and I spent the night shivering in a vague attempt to keep warm.
I spent much of the night contemplating whether to unzip the sleeping bag , Len over the side of the hammock and empty my somewhat full bladder. I didn’t for two reason – 1. I suspect it isthe warmest part of me and is aiding what little warmth I do have and 2. It is too bloody cold!
I think I have to spend some time working on the cold setup for the hammock. A better mounting method for the under quilt (the blue the in the photo), a better inner sleeping bag, remembering the roll mat will, of course, help too. Probably the best thing I can do is remember it’s still April (-1 C last night) and not camp at all until at least June.
I shall now put a crap load of clothes on and go light a big fire to try and hold off the frostbite in my fingers…
Yep, I got “old”. 17 plus 23 years experience. 17 rather than 18 as my Explorers reckon my mental and sense of humour age is similar to theirs! The cliché says life begins at 40 but in the last week or so I have felt old. Nothing to do with creaking bones or aching back but all to do with attitude. It’s like someone clicked a switch on my conscious and made me even more grumpy. I have to state that I will never listen to radio 4!
I don’t, however, feel it’s time to stop learning. Here’s a few things I have learned in the last week:
- Dave is a messy bugger. I don’t need to give Dave’s surname, those Scouters who know me will know Dave.
- No matter how many times you tell them not to, Explorer Scouts think they know best and will refill their water bottles from a nearby stream. This will cause the runny stuff to come out both ends at three am the next day.
- When at Scout camp, you’re out and about doing a few chores off-site. You spot a nearby Tesco and want to make use of the facilities. Not a wash or shower unfortunately, but certainly a facility with a decent seat and no mud on the floor. It means you can take your trousers/shorts down without fear of them being muddy when returning them to their proper position. What did I learn? When relaxing after doing your business, do not lean back and relax! The toilets have a touchless flush mechanism and will turn into a bidet causing you to jump off the seat and bang your head on the toilet door.
- Old Man Mode Zorbing is great fun but is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over priced.
- One of my old annual appraisals said “does not suffer fools gladly”. This appears to extend to anybody that opens their mouth to speak every thought without actually thinking about it first. For this I apologise to the Explorer Scout that caught my wrath (no, I did not swear at him!) when my stress level was increased.
- My Explorer Scouts are some of the best young people I have ever had the privilege to work with. I am really proud to be associated with them and if the next 12 months are anything like our week at Camp, it’s gonna be a fantastic year!
- The modified Trucker’s knot with a slippery half hitch. Used to make a temporary cinch line in a guy rope on a tent, holds beautifully, quick and easy to tie and adjust. I can’t find anywhere on the ‘net that demonstrates this knot simply so might make a tutorial on how to tie it.
- Carving a simple spoon is easy. Carving a decent spoon seems, at the moment, like it might as well be voodoo…
I’m sure I learnt more without even realising it, these are just the highlights of what I remember.
I am a big fan of DIY gear for bushcrafting, camping and general home stuff.
This does not mean I like DIY in the traditional sense. I hate decorating!
Below is a fine example of the craft. It is a stove made from two pop cans. Fuelled by methylated spirits, it is lightweight (just a coke can!), can be made in minutes, and burns long enough to boil a cup or small billy of water for tea.
Most excellent when lightweight is a priority, it can be made from just about any pop/beer can you might find.
The only tool that’s essential is a knife, but a pointy object to make the “flame” holes is a bonus.
Link to Instructable for making your own stove.