To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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Week one of new school under his belt.... so far so good... my youngest son is scheduled to go on his first school exidition (camping) in January . I did suggest to "she who must be obeyed" aka the wife that we should go camping as a family before the end of the school holidays so that he knew what to expect in January. The idea was given short shrift howewver (nights under the stars shared with mozzies, snakes etc did not appeal). Shame really because camping is such an adventure for 6year olds ... although these days it's so high tech... not like when I was a boy...

Actually the last time I practiced making my own meths stove was only a couple of years ago. It was just to keep my hand in - survival skills 101 stuff - just in case ... of a local outbreak of plague (Ebola ) civil disorder (Tanks in Central) , asymmetric warfare ("lost" Spetsnaz inadvertently turning up in HK), or return of the zombies (Kim Il Sung and friends from Strictly Come Dancing).

As it happens the other day I saw a video about a stove which apart making a cuppa can recharge a mobile phone (And yes I can't make one of those!!) It did seem to me that for this to be really useful however you would need to have a proper satellite phone as opposed to a normal mobile unless all you wanted to do was to watch saved movies on your smartphone deep in the bush instead not of telling scary tales around the fire before going to sleep ..... because lets face it if you were in range of the phone grid to make calls on your mobile etznazyou would also be close enough to find a power source to to charge it so why would you need such a stove ??

Coincidentally I also saw details of a portable solar charger for phones. Says a lot about mobile phone batteries. Personally the most useful solar powered device I would take with me into the bush would be a shower. I know what my priorities are... and its a lot cheaper.

The only other solar powered device that has recently caught my attention has been solar powered ice boxes. I was thinking beach ... cold beer...

Anyway back to camping and camp fires ... the other day I was reading to my son about cavemen, and I asked him if he knew how to make fire. Of course he didn't... so I showed him using the Bow drill method. Then I went and fetched my fire-steel (yes I have fire!! and unlike matches and lighters fire-steel is aeroplane friendly) Although he wasn't impressed with the bow-drill (too complicated) you should have seen his eyes light up in awe as I struck off some sparks - in his mind he was transported back in a time and a cave where a father was starting a fire ..... before there were mobile phones ......

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