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”


21st Century Bushcraft

Some time last year, during a Woodcraft training weekend, I attended a bushcraft session on twisting your own rope. The instructor informed us he had gone out in a coracle to cut the reeds we were using. On that basis, given I don’t own a coracle nor have any idea where to take it, I didn’t expect to get much opportunity to exercise my newly acquired bushcraft skills.

It turns out I was wrong…

What you see above is a guitar lead and a headphone lead in one made by twisting together two strands using exactly the same techniques as the rope making workshop I went to!

By combining the two leads together I can move around pretty freely when I’m playing guitar through headphones. My previous attempt to combine the two used insulating tape which, as it aged, became sticky and horrid. This is much better.