Sunday, 11 September 2005


Covent Garden Chicken and Corn soup in nutritious and delicious, fortunately I remembered this before I packed the carton into my rucksack on Thursday night, choosing instead to carry it by hand.

Friday night was soggy in London, the tubes flooded and traffic ground to a halt, it took an hour to travel 200 meters through the congealed London street, movement was in short slow pulses but I did not care. I had all my possessions with me and so was effectively home already. It took about 2 longer to get to a rain sodden Lewknor and I chose to go to the Leather Bottle for a quick couple of pints before facing the rain. A fine pub indeed and I think in the winter they will be prising me out of there come closing time.

I slept until Saturday evening getting very wet in the process, there were at least two cloud bursts but I was so tired from the past week that I ignored the water and slept on. Everything got soaking, except my laundry. For some reason I had put my laundry into a waterproof bag but left my clean clothes loose in the rucksack, so my clean clothes got wet. The only time I did get up for breakfast and discovered that my petrol stove was completely dead – I think it just needs a clean but I don’t know how, and besides it is a bit on the cumbersome side. I decided to clean it up and give it to someone for Christmas and get myself something a bit more reliable. The petrol stove is fine for holidays and the like but I would not like to have to rely on it in the dead of winter.

There was only one choice left; to light a fire. When I was a kid I could light a fire in the rain with only one match no paper and have the thing big enough to cook on within minutes, for some reason I had thought that lighting a fire would be like riding a bike; a skill you never forget. Sure enough it only took one match, two sheets of paper, some more matches, some meths, more matches, petrol and virtually all the gas in my lighter. When the fire was lit I diligently stuck the pasta to the bottom of the pan. It was then that I remembered I had thrown the pan sourer away. I was not so keen on putting a sooty cooking pan into my rucksack, all the wet clothes in there would get dirty and that would be no good. I stashed the pan in a hedge to be cleaned later, joy.

I went to see a friend in Oxford on Sunday and hung my sleeping bag up to dry from it’s base. I had, you may recall, previously turned the thing inside out due to some bighting creature having taken residence within. What I had not realised that this had meant the the inside had become full of what had been on the outside – leaves, twigs, moss and who knows what else from the woodland floor. I got to examine this in close up a couple of hours later when I went to collect the sleeping bag and found a big pile of woodland floor on his bathroom floor.


Anonymous said...

Some Tips Ditch Monkey:

Get an MOD issue hexamine stove for those oh bugger moments, when you need to heat something. Also get into the routine of packing everything away in plastic or waterproof bags as soon as you have finished with it, and as for washing your saucepan you can clean them very effectively used soil and turf.

For cooking try and get a small gas burner. No petrol needed the gas bottles are small and light and they cook really quickly.

Hope these tips help

Good luck

Hugh Sawyer said...

Thanks Charlotte.

Got a jet boil at the weekend and it is the best bit of kit I have ever seen - more on this later. Half a litre of water boiling in about 90 seconds and no fussing about.