I read on Mr Home Maker's blog that he had taken a lot of flak on social media for suggesting that we should all be getting ourselves prepared for inevitable future world events.
I agree, but for more ordinary reasons rather than a 3rd World War.
The storm here last week wasn't a tornado or even a hurricane, just very windy but it put the electric off for 9 hours and in some places roads were blocked by fallen trees. In the Big Storm of 1987 our electric was off for a week and we also had a week without power at the smallholding with live wires down across the gateway so we couldn't get in or out for a while. Weather extremes are more common, hottest ever weather in Australia, more snow than normal in parts of the USA, even in Switzerland - where they know about snow and more storms here..........
For 20+ years I was a Cub Scout Leader and the Scout Motto of Be Prepared came in very handy when coping with a Scout hut full of thirty 8 - 10 year olds. In fact I still dream (nightmares!) occasionally that I've forgotten all the games that the boys enjoyed so much. My experiences have left me with a liking for being prepared and self reliant.
So how we plan for the small events which might help in big events too.........
* Heating - A wood burner is one of the ✔ that was ✔ when we looked at this house. We had one for all the years at the smallholding, so it was a definite requirement. Our oil boiler wouldn't be my preferred choice but as age creeps up, a wood or solid fuel Rayburn to heat radiators would be more work than we could manage and as finances creep down there is no way we can justify the solar/wind with battery storage route. It takes about 10-15 years to get payback on outlay.
*Cooking - Although it's second choice (after wood fired Rayburn - see above) an LPG cooker with a spare cylinders always on hand is easy. We have 19kg rather than 47kg which we had previously but these are easier to move. There are two cylinders with a switch-over thingy plus one always kept as a spare. Unfortunately nowadays you can't use the oven without electric .........once upon a time gas ovens could be lit with a match - no longer sadly. But the hob sees us through a power cut. A small kettle or saucepan could also be heated on the woodburner............slowly!
*Lighting - I would like the answer to this one as candles are useless for many things. Torches need batteries. I have a huge stock of candles and a couple of candlesticks. Once we had a Freeplay wind-up torch which worked well for a year or two but then wouldn't hold any charge. We also once owned a solar-power small battery charger - it charged batteries only if left in full sunlight for 12 hours - Ha! I've looked at wind-up camping lanterns - they don't get good reviews. Freeplay don't seem to make wind-up lights now. A lantern run by a camping-gaz cylinder will give good light for a few hours. The cylinders aren't cheap. In our early camping days we owned a lantern that ran off a car battery - that was excellent, maybe they are still made?
A stock of matches for candles and fires is also kept in a draw - never did get the hang of rubbing two sticks together!
* Keeping in touch. Our cord-less phone won't work in a power cut and mobiles need charging, I try to keep them charged. Somewhere on route between the smallholding and here our old ordinary plug in phone got left behind/vanished. I may splash out £5.99 for an Argos cheapy simple plug in - might be handy if electric is off but phone-lines still OK.
What we do have and have had for years is a wind-up radio - it also has a built in solar panel and I find it will charge up quite well when left on a sunny windowsill. I would give it just 5 out of 10 for sound quality but if you need to know what's happening it works well.
None of the above would be much use for long term or major disruption and don't come close to the serious preppers on online prepping sites but they are more than most people have.
Thank you all for comments yesterday, I will keep everyone up to date with the hospital stuff. Visited him yesterday, still no coming home date, the awful headaches have abated somewhat but he's still incredibly tired all the time.
Apologies for getting peoples hopes up with the surprise pension pay out - not state pension I'm afraid, neither of us are old enough. It's Suffolk County Council and something to do with the lump sum payment and I think we should have had it months ago anyway.
The owners of Colmans mustard say they will carry on making the iconic brand, but not in Norwich. There are many farmers growing for them in East Anglia. As for Aspalls the cider and vinegar producers near Debenham. The new owners have also assured everyone they will carry on in the same place, but as its a small factory in the middle of the countryside, who knows.