Why Have You Stolen Our Earth

Today thousands of young people walked out their lessons to protest at political inaction over the climate change crisis engulfing us.

It is shameful to hear our politicians blame the students “bunking off” in order to raise awareness of those politicians own failure to act. Anyhow as part of the discussion someone asked us what the tune was for a song called Why Have You Stolen Our Earth because the lyrics seem particular appropriate given today’s news.

Update: This is a song that I’ve only ever heard it passed around at campfires and I wasn’t really sure where it came from. Having posted this I’ve discovered that to listen to the original track then you should track down an album called The Wild Side of Town by the Albion Band with Chris Baines.


De-gunking a thirteen year old Coleman stove

We finally decided enough was enough with the behaviour of our aged but much loved/abused Coleman 424 stove. It was kill or cure time! To explain, Coleman petrol stoves really are brilliant. However if you run them for too many years on neglect and unleaded they start to clog up. In the case of our Coleman it has reached the stage where it eats generators for breakfast. They last maybe three days camping before they are as clogged and gummed up as the one they replaced resulting in a anaemic flame with boil times of around twenty minutes, if ever.

However we want to give it a fighting chance so we’ve given it a new generator and given the tank the cleaning it should have had eight years ago.

After examining it we could hear what sounded like sand in the fuel tank. It has certainly never had sand put in it but it has been laid idle for long stretches of time with a full tank of unleaded. Apparently this lines the tank with varnish which then flakes off and clogs the generator.

The Coleman website suggests a long soak in meths for this problem so we duely filled the tank and left it for twenty four hours disturbed only by the odd shake. Then we siphoned the tank, poured the meths back into the bottle and were left with this.


Noting that the jar in the picture above is upside down should give you some idea of just how sticky the sludge in the tank was. Even shaking the jar has little effect. No wonder the generator kept blocking up! I was so pleased with my new sludge I immediately refilled the tank with meths and siphoned it out twice more. After doing this there was nothing to be heard in the bottom of the tank.

We’ve all recently discovered a fuel called Aspen 4T. Its designed for strimmers and other hand held petrol tools. It’s selling point is a much cleaner burn than regular road fuel. It certainly smells better when you run the cooker! Aspen is about twice the price of unleaded or to put it another way between half and a quarter of the price of Coleman fluid. We plan to make it our fuel of choice for our Coleman kit.

So did all this bustle, activity and alternative fuel actually work? We don’t really know yet. We’ll let you know when we get back from our next camping trip.


My first diddly bow

This is a picture of my first ever diddly bow. It was constructed from ash and is primarily made using an axe with a little help from a saw and a knife. The axe is even used to drive the tuning wedge. Can you tune your instrument with an axe?


I set this up at a recent bush craft training weekend (which was, as ever, an excellent weekend). You can tell I was listening to the training because I identified the tonewood used to make it by the fungus growing on it. This is not a recognised techiniue for identifying a guitars tonewood!

Continue reading “My first diddly bow”


The Joy Of Spam

Since first opening this blog one of the things that surprised me was the number of spam comments it attracted. Its hardly a high publicity site so I guess I was supprised how quickly the spam robots started to target my blog. Thankfully the first few spam comments were pretty obvious:

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[From an online pharmacy]

After reading a little more on the subject of spam comments I quickly learned two things. The first is that spam comments are a fact of life if you want to allow anonymous comments (and doubly so if you don’t like CAPTCHAs). The other is that the part that always gives away the spammer is that the comment doesn’t contain any information related to the actual content of your article. This is because the spammer has to write one text and then post it to many different sites. Philosophically speaking if the spammer wrote bespoke comments for each site they would not longer be a spammer. Perhaps an artisan spammer who wrote bespoke comments would wind up being called a fillet-steaker.

Anyhow even with no obvious motivation for the comment the following messages did rather give away their true nature, especially when you remember that many bloggers only moderate the first comment from a user so if you let them through assume they will be back.

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[From a person in “trading strategies”]

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[From a SEO company]

The next two posts represent the most sophisticated spam comments I’ve received so far. Both avoid flattery and instead try to latch onto technical paranoia instead. The first one is particular clever for the question in the middle and its assumption that other humans really need to read this message. Whilst I’d prefer spammers to find some more productive line of work you have to admire someone at the top of the game like this:

I don’t know if it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your blog. It seems like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Cheers

[From a fake Burberry scarves salesman]

Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Kudos

[From a pornographer]

It’s getting towards time to finish this post so I’ll introduce one of my favourites here. It’s not because of the quality of the prose, although one does have to admire the excellent spelling together with correct use of capital letters, commas and full stops (even on the last line). The reason it’s my favourite is this transparent attempt to flatter me into accepting the spam was attached to a pictoral joke. The “astonishingly thought-provoking” words that inspired such gushing praise numbered only ten.

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[From a fake ugg boot salesman]

So to close I shall leave you with this comment and sincerely hope you share the sentiment.

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[From a fake ugg boot salesman]


A photo collection of twentieth century telegraph poles


OK. It’s not a collection and it’s nothing to do with the telegraph. However it is a photo, it almost dates from the late twentieth century and it is a pole. It’s a power pole to be exact. It was located on a campsite I recently visited and I rather liked the huge switch that can presumably be used to cut of all power to the nearby village.

I know. Pictures of poles are not that cool. I don’t care. It’s interesting to see how big a switch has to be even for a ‘baby’ pole like this.

Of course as a photographer I wish I’d remembered to take a shot without the pole. It would have been a good donor image for a sky replacement!