Sunday, 6 June 2010


The education system is a mess. We have second generation social problems in Britain right now. In other words, many of this generation of young parents were woefully let down by weak family and social values and also by a dreadful education system which is still in place today.

Crippled families are hardly likely to be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat to help prevent the sickness from continuing on into the next generation and so forth.
So where can we look for help to prevent further decline in standards or continued stagnation at best?

First choice should be schools. In an ideal world our schools should be able to pick up where parents leave off and help our children to become happy and worthwhile adults but many schools simply don’t.

For a start they are constrained by the National curriculum which is more about ratings than education.
It would be better if head teachers were given a bit more freedom to decide how their schools operated and to teach what they felt was relevant to their children rather than have to roll out the same old rubbish year after year.

My son’s school isn’t doing him much good at all. Far too much time is given to things of little value.

RE bothers me. The National curriculum states that education in Britain should be broadly Christian based. Incredible really being as they now claim that we are a multicultural society.
Personally I think that religion should be taught only from an educational perspective and never fed to children as though it were either true or right. I don’t believe that it is ethical to indoctrinate young people who have, by law to be there in your care whilst you are working under the guise of an educator.

French also gives me cause for concern. What the hell is that about? Once again, we have people from all over the place living here in Britain and still we insist on pushing children through French, it makes no sense to me.

What I would like to see my child coming home from school with are some skills that will help him navigate through life.

How many schools have a garden or better yet, a farm? How much emphasis is placed on caring for the environment or inspiring children to get out and experience nature?

That was a rhetorical question I know. There are two things there which I believe are fundamentally important for young people to learn about and they are hardly touched on at all by many secondary schools.

A subject that affects all of us is ecology; it’s a very small word and it’s a shame that it isn’t bigger, so that we couldn’t fail to notice it.

Does it make sense to you, that it is the law of the land, that our children must learn about the Eucharist but there is nothing to say that they must learn about the carbon and its effect on our environment?

My son has almost come to the end of his first year at secondary school. He has been out on a field trip twice in that year. The first visit was to the Catholic Church across the road and the second was to the Anglican Church down in the town. Now you know why they say that some children think that chicken breasts are grown in polythene bags at the back of Tesco.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Is it okay to be patriotic?

Is it possible to be patriotic without being labelled ‘right wing’ or ‘racist’?

The British press have done a good job of making any talk of Anglo Saxon heritage sound decidedly ‘far right’.

It’s not only the Media who are to blame for Britishness becoming unpalatable, pro European politicians also seem hell bent on throwing away our national identity.

Devolution is also chipping away from the edges and all that our ancestors have worked hard to create is crumbling before our very eyes.

The name Great Britain has been quietly replaced with the understated ‘UK’ and as regards to ‘England’! It has almost become a dirty word.

So how did we arrive at this low point in our history?

Ever since the Norman Conquest, almost a thousand years ago, there has been a deep divide between the classes.

There have been a few variants of the Upper or Ruling Classes, from the original, Warrior Class during the age of Chivalry, to the Merchant and Industrialist Classes of later times and right up to the current rulers of today’s society, the Commercial or Financial Classes.

I don’t know if there is a generic term to describe them, all I know is that they most certainly exist.

The Class which has remained the same has always been the Lower Class. The only thing that has changed about the lower class has been the name.

We have gone from Peasant to Working Class and a few other titles in between. We even have a new title hovering over us, Benefit Class.

Someone has always born the burden of keeping the Rich and Powerful in the lap of luxury and up until the twentieth century it has largely been the British lower classes.

It doesn’t sound like much if you just read it as a short sentence within my blog does it? But if you pause for a moment to consider the humanity, the struggling, the suffering that our forbears have lived through then you can begin to understand that they have been the Backbone of Britain, they deserve our respect and our loyalty for their legacy.

I believe that we owe it to them to protect our Britishness and our Celtic, Britonic and Anglo Saxon identity.

The blame for our current state of disarray can be put squarely at the feet of the people who are running the show for their totally ruthless pursuit of money. Greed is the driving force behind everything in our society today.

You might look at Britain and say that the standard of living is better that it has ever been and on the face of it you might be right but it is only because the usual suspects have found people to enslave elsewhere in the world.
The trouble is, it can’t last forever, and we, the average Joe’s of Britain are the ones who shoulder the blame.

Outsiders who are looking to criticise a country always associate the people of a nation with the person who is leading it. I cringe at the thought of being associated with Gordon Brown. The fact that he was never elected to the office of Prime Minister cuts little ice with people who are looking at our country today.

It really is a sad comment on our society that we tolerate a leadership which has destroyed the economy, sold the gold reserves and ruined our international reputation in less than a decade.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Apology for lack of blogging

I am sorry I haven't added to the blog for a day or two. I have been busy putting my ideas into practice.

I have aquired nine tons of topsoil, three tons of wood chippings and now the process of transforming my lawns into vegetable gardens has begun in ernest.

It's going to be a lot of work in the beginning but the long term benefits are going to be worth it.

Apart from the veg beds I am also going to put a glasshouse lean to on the end of my garden shed.

I looked at the prospects of buying a greenhouse or polytunnel and decided that it would have to wait another year. Money is very tight and I am lucky enough to live close to a double glazing installer who gives away all the windows he takes out.

I have to really get stuck in now because it is a critical time of year. If you don't seize the moment for sowing you can never reap the rewards.

Also looking at taking my own advice on motoring. The Merc is going and we have, as a family decided that we want to go retro and look for a pre ECU car that we can continue to maintain ourself and is also an iconic fuel miser. It's looking like maybe a VW Golf Diesel or a Peugeot 205.

In the short term most of the adjutments that we are going to make are not going to pay for themseves. I mean lets face it, Aldi vegetables are so cheap it's a joke. They usually have five veg at around thirty nine pence and that is going to take some beating but of course this is not about the now, it's about the uncertain tomorrow.

I will keep updating the blog but you will have to be patient for now because the physical work is rather demanding and I am tired at the end of each day.

Friday, 12 February 2010


Nobody can be absolutely certain about what the future holds for us here in Britain. There are so many things that are set on a course for failure.

 We could carry on debating important issues until we were blue in the face and meanwhile the ship holds its course towards the rocks.

Doom and gloom is really something that I do not wish to dwell upon, it’s far too British.

 What I want to do is seize every opportunity to succeed whilst others better suited to politics carry on with their endless debates.

I do however want to connect with other people who are prepared to make the necessary adjustments to their lives in order to succeed and enjoy the challenges that the future presents us with.

Many of the adjustments can be relatively painless and can in fact be very rewarding. 

 For example, I used to spend a lot of time mowing my lawns, backwards and forwards throughout the growing season and when I turned off my mower the village still hummed with the droning motors of all the other happy little mowers.

This year there is going to be one less droning mower because all three of my lawns have been turned into vegetable patches.

The benefits of that small adjustment to my life are manifold. Firstly, no more petrol wasted on cosmetics. Secondly, vegetable patches take far less effort to maintain that lawns once the initial hard work has been done.

 You can even cut out the digging by selling your mower and replacing it with a rotavator if you wish.

Thirdly and I get a lot of pleasure out of this one, you cut out the Supermarket on everything that you produce.

Last but not least you get to enjoy food at its absolute freshest. Even if you were to buy the finest locally grown organic veg you still couldn’t match the flavour and freshness of food grown in your own garden Food starts to lose its character the moment that it is harvested. The quicker it gets from the garden to the plate the better it is.

If you have children it is even more beneficial to you because they understand from an early age where food comes from and learn how to grow it for themselves.

So that is just one painless adjustment to your life that brings with it several benefits and has no down side.

Try another one for size. The impending hike in fuel costs is definitely going to hit you if you drive a car. If you use public transport the costs are still going to be passed onto you so cut those costs now.

Either get a bicycle or take up walking. I know it sounds obvious but it is another multiple positive.

Firstly you save money; secondly you are cutting down on your fuel usage. This is particularly important should we ever be rationed but also, it’s good for the environment.

The third thing I believe is as important as the other two put together, your fitness improves. In an uncertain future one of the key things that you can do to help insure your survival is to get fit. It strengthens your mind and body and prepares you for the unexpected.

Remember the expression “survival of the fittest”?

Both cycling and walking can be life changing things. It is shocking how many people spend much of their free time gawping at the television.

I walk and cycle every day and I almost have the countryside to myself, the sights and sounds of nature, the breathtaking sunsets and all the while thousands of people are sitting listening to Peter Andre whining about how Katie Price has broken his poor little heart.

Well they are welcome to it all. 

Thursday, 11 February 2010


I think that before very long a large proportion of the population who have routinely enjoyed the benefits of motoring will be forced off the roads.

 A few weeks ago I was posting things all over the net about the impending doom that we were facing and even I thought that perhaps I was a bit of an Oddbod.

Not anymore. Big names like Sir Richard Branson are now openly forecasting an ‘Oil Crunch’ within five years. 
The less well off motorists must by now be able to see the end of the road looming up towards them.
I am one such motorist. I am officially living well below the poverty line. I manage to run a home and a family on almost a ‘Third World’ income.

I will tell you how much. £180 per week, scary stuff eh? I am not complaining though. I live in an area with a crippled economy by choice. In 1990 I was working away and earning £1000 per week. Even as far back as 1980 I was earning £225 per week but I have just lowered my sights and got better at living a realistic life.

As I said in earlier postings, I drive a pretty good car, a 2001 Mercedes Benz, and it’s a petrol. Not too shabby eh? But I am worried. I am fairly sure that the Merc will have to go but I do not intend to give up motoring.

I cycle as much as I can. I have a 125cc four stroke motorbike for fetching and carrying and I walk a lot too.
The trouble is I live in the countryside. There is nothing on my doorstep, the nearest town is seven miles away and the nearest town with any decent shops is thirty.

I have to keep motoring, so how can I? How can we, the poorer motorist hang on to the car?

The first thing to do is to ask our self what else we can economise on to extend our motoring life.

Then we have to take a look at the car. Mine is an obvious fail. Twenty five to the gallon is optimistic for my Merc and I already made all the necessary sacrifices so that I could run her.

So the first place for me to look is at economical and also home serviceable cars. 

I mentioned the wonderful little Renault Clio DCi in an earlier post. It’s good but it has its problems for the likes of me.

 For a start, the economy will go pear shaped at the same time as the Oil Crunch bites. That will mean that everything else gets more expensive and taking my car to a garage with diagnostics will be way out of my reach.

The DCi is a modern generation car with an ecu. It is also a common rail diesel engine that cannot function without an ecu so realistically speaking it is not going to be a long term prospect for me.

There are some cars though, that although they may be of an earlier type, are absolute gems.

Take for example the VW golf diesels from the nineties, fifty to sixty mpg ordinary diesel engine.

Peugeot 205 1.9 diesel, same again, conventional engine. Either of these two cars are potentially long term prospects.

If you want to look at petrol engine cars there are also some little gems. The petrol engine appeals to more people who like to tinker because they are easier to work on.

Peugeot have a contender once again with the little 106, very economical and easy to work on. Same goes for the Citroen Saxo.

If you want mega reliability there are several choices among the earlier Japanese cars. In short, a car with either Honda or Nissan stamped on the engine is almost bullet proof.

I once drove a 1970’s Honda Civic back from The Cairngorms in Scotland all the way to West Yorkshire with the radiator missing and no water. I went to the scrap yard the day after and bought a rad, fitted it, topped up the water and the car was none the worse for it.

I have a friend who lives not far from me who is an enthusiast of old Brit cars. He has managed to shoehorn a Ford Sierra gearbox into a Morris 1000 pickup. He now has five gears, full syncro and get this, sixty to the gallon.

Once you have put away the need to have the latest toy and returned to being a normal British, make do and mend person, you can actually start to enjoy the challenges that present themselves. Squeezing an extra few mpg out of some old ‘Fart Box’ can be fun.

If you want to get cracking with something for the frugal future I can’t fault you. Sod the idea of keeping up with the Jones’s. It’s a pathetic notion.

 We live such pallid existences today compared with those of a few years ago when we were tinkering around in sheds and helping each other with ideas.

My advice to you would be to chose your future frugal Steed and then grab another for bits and a few spares here and there. Look into ways of squeezing a bit more out of it and also mess around with alternative fuels, just enjoy yourself.

I will add to this with some links to people’s ideas and also continue with motorcycles. It really does get exciting trying to get some serious mpg out of a little bike and it’s as cheap as chips at the moment.

Keep watching this space.

Monday, 8 February 2010


So you read future shock part one. Did it make you think? How well would you do in a crisis?

The funny thing is, there is no earthly reason why we should be wholly dependent on Huge Corporations for everything. It’s simply personal choice, or to be more realistic, what is left of personal choice.
We have been coerced into putting our faith in these entities. People have become slaves to them almost voluntarily.

 Television has played a big part in subduing our free will. After a lifetime of repetitive advertising, biased news reporting and to top all, Soap Operas! In short, television has been a Godsend for the Corporations and the powers that be because we just soak it up.

 It has been like a voluntary curfew for many. As soon as they get home from work or school, the TV goes on and that’s them for the night.

I was once such a person and it was as hard to give up as smoking. It becomes part of your life if you let it. I shudder when I walk into a Newsagents now and look at the sorry little comics on the news stand sporting airbrushed pictures of Eastenders stars grinning back at me with a concerned headline like, “Is Tracy expecting Robs baby?”

Our country is in a mess and people are sitting at home subdued by such puerile rubbish. Shame on Britain!

A couple of my followers mentioned that my blog had connotations of ‘The Matrix’ and I have to concede that it does. The question is do you want to go back to sleep, or are you going to do something about it now that you are awake?

As this blog continues I will add useful links in the margin. As I get hold of information that I think will be helpful I will share it with my readers. The same thing goes the other way. If you feel that you have anything to contribute please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Returning to the theme of surviving a crisis.

The first thing we need to do is take a look at our basic needs. They are not so complicated. We need clothing, shelter, warmth, food, water, light, sanitation and a bed.

Doesn’t sound bad does it but how many from that small list are going to be missing for you if there is a power cut? Add to that a fuel crisis and then how many disappear?

Have you even considered communication? Your laptop, broadband modem/router, your phone? Chances are that although the telephone line doesn’t need electricity to work, your hardware does.

Most people have a phone that requires a power supply and the same goes for laptop and the router. All you need to have if you want to stay connected in a power cut are a 12v battery and a car charger or adaptor kit for them all. Simple as that was, I bet few people have either.

If you are going to dash out and put that right, you might want to consider a leisure or deep cycle battery but if you can’t afford one then a car battery will suffice.

Personally I can cruise bye without power in the short to medium term without any hiccups but I would need to work on it a bit more for the longer term.

Putting a few things on one side is a great start. Surprisingly enough, few people make any preparations at all. They just have so much faith in our lovely ‘philanthropic’ providers.

 Taking into consideration that in a power cut scenario the freezer would be off and for that matter so would the fridge, you have to think what kind of food you might be able to store that will last.
Growing food yourself is a great help as mentioned elsewhere in the blog but so is storing some provisions.

Just salt a few bits away. Pasta and rice store well and they will deal with your carb’s. Beans, pulses, peas can all be kept in dried form for yonks. Dried fruit, nuts and various seeds are all good too.

Canned foods are obvious but choose wisely and renew/replace periodically. Tuna, corned beef, sardines, are all good for protein. Condensed milk, dried milk, long life milk, flour, dried yeast, oats.
Honey lasts indefinitely and is a good all round sweetener.

The list is by no means exhaustive but you get the picture. I am sure it will have you thinking.
 A good stock of the right food items is only useful in the short to medium term. To last any longer you need to make life changes.

Are you solely dependent on central heating? If you are able to do so, an alternative should be sought. I know that many homes now do not have a chimney at all. I personally would not live in one. The chances are that in a fuel crisis we would not just be short of one type of fuel.

In the cold snap of 2010 my own LPG provider said that within a fortnight the supply had ground to a stop due to the excessive demand on gas bottles and the difficulty in transportation also.

If there was a petrol shortage we would be in trouble within days. All you need to do is whisper the word shortage and the demand outstrips supply immediately. People just rush out to the forecourts and fill up their car and as many cans as they have.

The smart Homo Sapiens runs on a full tank instead of an empty one and stores a little fuel before a crisis but don’t tell anyone I said that.

I could prattle on forever on this little blog posting but sometimes a Master can some up in just a few words what would take an amateur like me all day.

I give you :- Aesop.

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content.  An Ant walked by, grunting as he carried a plump kernel of corn.
"Where are you off to with that heavy thing?" asked the Grasshopper.
Without stopping, the Ant replied, "To our ant hill.  This is the third kernel I've delivered today."
"Why not come and sing with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of working so hard?"

"I am helping to store food for the winter," said the Ant, "and think you should do the same." 
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "we have plenty of food right now." 
But the Ant went on its way and continued its work.

The weather soon turned cold.  All the food lying in the field was covered with a thick white blanket of snow that even the grasshopper could not dig through. 

 Soon the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger.

He staggered to the ants' hill and saw them handing out corn from the stores they had collected in the summer.

Then the Grasshopper knew:

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity. 

Saturday, 6 February 2010


Continuing the thread of 'Stop Feeding The Elephant'. Here are some more videos that help bring together all of the information about the strangle hold Supermarkets have over us and all of the food producers who supply them.
Supermarket Secrets - Dispatches part 1

Supermarket Secrets - Dispatches part 2

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Looking at things a little harder with regards to the uncertain future for us here in Britain, I want to tackle some of the things that are going to face us if we want to survive with a few basic comforts.

Or more to the point, hanging onto some of the ones we currently have.

When you consider that our entire infrastructure is dependent upon oil and other petroleum products, and then further consider the fact that just a few people control all the public utilities as well as the supply of oil, you can begin to see how easily everything could be brought to a standstill.

At any time, we could suffer power cuts, petrol shortages, heating oil or gas shortages. We could be held to ransom and effectively shut down if those in power so wished it.

So far as the big one, power cuts are concerned, the consequences are quite far reaching. For a start, your central heating boiler won’t work. Your freezer stops working and its contents are useless within hours. If you have only an electric cooker then you are in a world of hurt!

I know that sounds fairly challenging if you live in a home where you are totally dependent upon electricity but believe me, that’s nothing. It doesn’t even scratch the surface of how hard things can get.

Don’t shrug this off and think that you are isolated from hardship by your cosy ‘First World’ lifestyle because you are not. You are trapped by it!

Did I mention Water? What are you going to do if that is ever contaminated or if the power cuts affect the water treatment plants?

Suppose you are right up there with me and have taken steps to insure that you can still keep warm and you have preserved food, you have a means of cooking and you have a stock of mineral water, could you defend it?
Food for thought?

I will continue this thread on the blog and update each time with a number.

 This is Future Shock 1


Do I use the Supermarkets? Yes! I am not going to be a Martyr for my principles. I ‘use’ the Supermarkets in a way that makes me feel like I am in charge.

I use Tesco like a Whore! I don’t submit to Tesco and slavishly buy all of my groceries there. I have become a dab hand at shop hopping over the last twenty years because I have had to be.

 Bringing up children in an area where the economy is stunted & 70% of the town’s population are living in poverty makes you into a bit of a Gleaner.

Tesco get the business of feeding my dogs and wiping the bottoms of all the family.

 They do a Tesco Value 12 pack of loo roll for £1.32p and it doesn’t make your bum sore.

 They do a value complete dog food at £1.12p for 2.5 kilo’s. That feeds a Rottweiler & three Terriers for four days!

 I buy Tesco value cider at £1.29p for 2litres. It’s not drain cleaner either.

Tesco only then get my business for what I cannot get elsewhere at a better price.

It's worth going into Tesco just to see what they have made the poor sods who work there wear today.

Aldi have been doing well out of me recently. I am nowhere near self sufficient in veg yet & Aldi have been using fresh veg as a loss leader.

 The prices have been shockingly low on British grown produce such as spuds, leeks, carrots, cabbage, & swede. I have actually felt guilty skulking out with it because I know that I am contributing to the collapse of British producers in buying it.

I really do intend to stop doing that by practicing what I preach and growing more veg & trading with other growers but for now, it’s simply economics.

I would dearly love to be able to say to you that I go to the local Farmers market to buy my veg but there isn’t one.
 The people in my little town are apathetic and will not support one. It’s been tried but it bombed big time. I have to say that I was shocked because the first attempt was hot on the heels of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and a few others who had offered inspiration.

I don't mean to sound unkind about the locals when I say that they are apathetic. Perhaps it was a little unfair. It may have been the case that the produce at the local market was too expensive for the locals and they were forced to carry on using the cheapest option, which at the time was Kwiksave.

The town is all but dead on the High Street apart from Charity shops, another indicator of a sick town. They of course have hardly any overheads. Free staff, free rates etc.

The people of my little town keep them very busy and as the town recently was the recipient of European grant money, a combination of busy charity shops and a lovely bright facelift for the town belies the truth of its beleaguered economy.

Monday, 1 February 2010


Are you in love with your car? Do you polish it and pamper it? Or do you just get in it every day and drive it to work or into town to do your shopping?

How long is it since you had to use a bus or train and sit next to some obnoxious Cretin?

Chances are if you live in the City you will be used to the latter but if you are from elsewhere, particularly in the countryside, you are probably heavily dependent on Motor Cars and if you are anything like me, you won’t have been on a bus for donkey’s years.

Motoring is just one more thing that unless you are Middle Class or better, you are going to have to wave goodbye to if the leaders of our society have anything to do with it, which of course they have.

Those of us with eyes to see must surely be aware that motoring is getting more expensive. We know that oil is getting harder to extract and that prices are creeping up little by little.
The problem is that it is no secret. People in power are also aware of the fact and because they have power they can begin the process of preserving fuel for themselves.

That process has already begun and it is being done under the pretence of helping the environment.
You will have noticed that the rich are driving bigger cars than ever and there are two reasons for that.  One is because they are getting richer and the other is because the hike in fuel prices doesn’t even register on their radar.

It’s not being hiked to hurt them; it’s being hiked to help them by removing the poorer Motorist from the equation and the poorer motorists are the majority.

So it’s about preparing for the inevitable and adapting our habits accordingly. Get used to it now so that it’s not so much of a shock when it happens.

There are a few things that you can do to keep motoring longer. I can point you in various directions as this blog develops. We are all different and I don’t imagine that some of you will be quite so keen as others to look at down scaling straight away but it might be worth trying a few ideas out now as I have.

Smartest thing to do right away is take a look at buying a super economical car now whilst they are reasonably cheap and whilst the Government are offering the £35 a year road tax incentive.
Such little motors as the Renault Clio 1.4 DCI can be bought for less than two grand and they will do a ridiculous 70mpg if you are light on the pedal.

There are other cars of a similar ilk (and oddly enough most are French!) so there is the easiest start on the road to weaning yourself off the standard motor car.

Realistically though I think that most of us will eventually have to go further down the road.

I will be honest. I drive a great big Mercedes Benz and I am madly in love with it. I don’t want to have to part with it but I am fairly certain that I will end up growing tomatoes in it.

I know I probably lost half my readers then but I am not blogging to champion abstinence. I am not a Monk who feels some need for penitence. I am just an ordinary British person who can see a bit further than his nose.

The reason I have the Merc is because I could see that if I didn’t get one now whilst I had a few bob in my pocket, I was going to lose a fairly brief window of opportunity.

I do however take all of this seriously. I have a little bit of land a couple of miles away from home where I keep a few chickens and also do a little veg gardening.

I don’t use the car unless I absolutely have to. I cycle there or walk, twice a day to feed and care for my animals and even if I am in a hurry I go on a 125 motorcycle. I don’t cheat. No weather so far has made me say “sod it” and go in the Merc.
It’s my little bit of self discipline, because I know that one day there will be no alternative.


Let’s face it, the world is a mess at the moment and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon.

We could go on about Peak Oil, Climate Change, Population Growth, Religion, Illuminati, and it would get us absolutely nowhere as far as I can see, because there is so little as individuals, or even as a Nation, that we can do about any of them that would arrest their progress towards social collapse.

So what then? Just carry on regardless?


 I believe the answer has always been there. The answer Nature has for everything. Adapt and survive. I can’t change a Chav. I can’t change a Telly Addict. I can’t undo what it has taken ‘The System’ two or three generations to do to the people out there in La la land, but I can work around it and try to teach my children how to survive.

A friend of mine reminded me today about the seven P’s.............. Prior Preparation and Planning Prevent Piss Poor Performance.

Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail!

Army speak, and what armies have is exactly what we need. Experience, expertise, discipline and fitness. All of the above are essential ingredients for people who want their line to continue.

I think that we also need to find like minded individuals or groups who can help one another.
It all sounds a little like a paranoid Conspiracy Theory to some of you I suppose but are you happy with the way things are going? I doubt it very much.

So! You are still with me. That’s good because the more people who are thinking about this the better.

Let’s start with some of the basics. Connecting with people and businesses will strengthen the backbone of any group of people.

We are all feeding an Elephant and it has an insatiable appetite. The biggest Elephant is the Supermarket.

Sunday, 31 January 2010


Supermarkets provide us with a wide selection of groceries from around the world. Thirty years ago the chances were that if you were watching cookery programs on TV that you were going to find it hard to get hold of some of the ingredients.

 Now there are fresh groceries, spices, wines and specialist products from all over the world, right at your fingertips.

The cost of food has also fallen dramatically over the same period. In 1980 the average family spent twenty eight percent of its income on groceries, now the average family only spends eight percent.

We all want cheap food and we would all like to have fresh produce, but are the underlying costs too high?

Britain was once famously referred to as a nation of Shopkeepers. I wonder what they would call us now?

  The largest supermarkets weald a kind of power that can only be likened to that of Kings. They have changed the face of British agriculture and in turn the shape of the countryside.
 They have all but done away with the practice of trading locally to the point where some small rural towns have been killed by them.

So why should we worry about it? Is it just progress that we should accept, or are we allowing ourselves to become totally at the mercy of the Supermarkets? I think that it is the latter and I think that if we do not change our ways we will bitterly regret it.

Just consider for a moment, if the supermarkets closed their doors because of some unexpected event. Day one,a bit of upset, a few people wandering around, scratching their heads because they had run out of milk or fags.
 Day two, a bit of flapping. Everyone descends on the local Spar or the Indian mini market and clears them out.
The big one would be day three. The doors would be smashed in and the supermarkets cleaned out and absolute pandemonium would descend upon Britain, because by day three, most people would have run out of food at home.
Okay, I know that sounds a bit extreme but it does demonstrate the fact that most people are totally dependent on Supermarkets for everything.

What makes them so dangerous is their power over producers. You can almost blame them entirely for the decline in traditional farming and growin methods. A subject which deserves it's own blog and will get one soon. Meanwhile, here are just a few things to consider..........


This is how most of us would imagine chickens. Nothing nicer than to see a few hens scratching around a farmyard. Thanks to the likes of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall & Jamie Oliver, we now know that it is not how our table poultry is reared.

They are instead, kept in cramped conditions as in the picture above. The mortality rate is very high and their entire life, (which is usuall less than twelve weeks), is spent like this.

I live in the countryside & I pity the Farmer of today. Gone are the days of the Smallholder. The farmer of today has become an over worked, under paid Agri Businessman, jumping through hoops for DEFRA & the Supermarkets.

The price that Farmers are paid for milk is around 16p per litre. The average cow grosses around £1000 per annum. Take off the cost of rearing and keeping the animal and it is barely in profit. That is why dairy farmers have to have such large herds. The only way that they can survive is to play the numbers game.

I will come back to the cow, but meanwhile lets look at the pig. Take a look at this link. It is horrifying. The implications of intensive pig farming are extremely far reaching. I am not a Veggie or a tree Hugger, so I am not sourcing my info from a biased perspective. This is for real and it affects us all.

A very honest piece of Video Journalism by Molly Dineen helps understand the problems facing modern day farmers. It points the finger directly at the Supermarkets for a range of ills that have befallen the people who live & work in the Countryside.
A cautionary note for anyone easily upset. The film contains some strong images of animal suffering and also deals with Foxhunting primarily.
Lie of the Land

Another video for you to watch is ‘Farm for the Future,’ a wonderfully filmed and passionately presented comment on the state of British agriculture by former wildlife camera woman Rebecca Hosking.

Some people are very clever at putting across the message. I take my hat off to this lady. When you have watched this film you will come away a different person.

Farm for the Future.

Interview with Joel Salatin
If you are interested in making a start on surviving the future there are lots of things you will need to change.
A good place to start is by growing your own vegetables.
 Everyone can think of an excuse not to bother and the most obvious one is the fact that vegetables at the moment appear to be cheap. Well as most gardeners will tell you, they are even cheaper when you grow them yourself and they certainly don't come any fresher, but most of all, the road miles are zero.

Another famous excuse is time. The simple answer to that one is, make time! I know that initially preparing a piece of ground can be quite labour intensive, but once that is done and you start to become organised, there need not be more than about twenty minutes work per day for the average sized family veg plot.

If don’t have a garden then there are still options open to you. Container gardening is very easy and can be extremely rewarding.

Allotment gardening is gaining in popularity. Many local authorities are now making land available for people to get together and grow their own veg. The good thing about that is that people can inspire and help one another and it can promote a healthy sense of friendly competition, whilst helping to develop a sense of community as well.

One of the most exciting schemes of late has been Landshare, which is helping to put people with land in touch with people who need land for growing and more.


For many of us nowadays, it is easier said than done to shop locally because the Supermarkets have almost won the battle for our custom outright.

There was never any real need for that to happen. Small shops have always had to get a lot of their groceries from large wholesalers. They were just offering us a service by using their knowledge of local people to decide what to stock.

 When I was a child living in Yorkshire my parents would send me with a note to the shop, then on Friday morning a box would arrive with everything in. If there was something that they couldn’t get, there would be a note to say that there was something else as a replacement.

There are I am sure, plenty of shops that would be only too willing to do the same, but it is going to be hard work getting people out of the habit of going to the Supermarket where everything is under one roof.

I suspect that one of the reasons for the success of supermarkets was that some shopkeepers simply took their customers for granted and were not prepared to step up to the challenge when the Supermarkets started to gain momentum.

I have to admit that the shop in my own village is one such business. The sign on the shop window says, “Happy to see you, Happy to serve!” and it couldn’t be further from the truth.

 The proprietor looks as though someone has pinched his dinner and can barely be bothered to look up when he takes your money.

His vegetables are sad & wizened & a lot of the so called ‘Fresh Produce’ is out of date.

 The proprietors van has a sticker on the window blaming the ills of his trade on the Supermarkets. Well take it from me. It’s people like him who have given it to the Supermarkets on a plate.

I know it isn’t easy to completely avoid Supermarkets. There are people who do, and good luck to them but they can be cutting their nose off to spite their face.
In the next village to me there is a nice little grocery shop. Very friendly people, but not stupid either.
 Often as not if I have to go into Tesco I will see the lady from the shop getting her shopping at the next checkout. I wish I had the money and the contacts to give Tesco a wide birth altogether, but I am not quite there yet.
By the way, the lady from the local shop is Scottish so that might explain it.



There are several species of Elephant, not just Supermarkets. Elephant dodging can become a bit of an obsession.

DIY Superstores are a favourite ‘pet hate’ for me. Because people are so gullible, these stores have managed to take business away from an array of, once familiar small businesses, from Builders suppliers, Gardeners supplies, hardware shops, Timber Merchants, decorators supplies to name just a few.

The worst thing about these Superstores is that they are so keen on trimming away quality to increase profits that a lot of the things people come away with are sub standard, imported rubbish.