Saturday, January 31, 2015

Survival kit part 4 the knife

Now a survival knife should ideally be a full tang (that means the blade continues all the way into the handle for strength) with a blade big and solid enough for light chopping (branches etc) it should be easy to sharpen but not too brittle.  And there's the problem, try carrying that around every day here in the UK and you'll soon be helping Mr Plod with his enquiries.
 Long gone are the days boy scouts walked around with a good old fashioned sheath knife on their belt.
 The law in the UK is complicated and confusing, but basically what it says is to carry all the time legally the knife must have a folding blade under 3 inches long (about 7,5cm) it can't be a locking knife either.  Which is a big problem, because finding a non-locking knife with a 3 inch blade is like looking for rocking horse dropping, bloody difficult!   For some reason despite the law here in the UK almost all the small knives on sale are locking knives. The reason for this is simply they are safer as they wont close on your fingers.
 So whats the solution?  Well you might get lucky and find a small suitable pen knife (I did cheaply off Amazon) the other options is a small cheap multi-tool, I've seen these is places as varies as camping shops to radio shack, although do check it's non-locking, many are.  For true quality if your not on a budget (and not in place with silly laws) you could buy a Gerber or Leather man,  both superb quality, but sadly both locking.
 You can technically carry a locking blade knife or multi-tool, but the law says you must have a good valid reason for carrying it in a public place, unfortunately it's left up pretty much to the individually policeman (or woman) to decide whats valid. My advice is try to stay withing the law for everyday carry, but if your off out into the wilderness consider taking something bigger.
 My personal favorite for a sheath knife is the good old US air force survival knife, these have about a 5 inch blade and a sharpening stone for keeping the blade sharp.  I don't know if they are still available, I've had mine since the 1970's, built like a tank and plenty sharp enough, solid enough for light chopping too, curiously they used to come with a horrid beige sheath ( I stained mine black), and at one time there was allegedly a spear handle to screw onto the blade, although I never heard of anyone actually having one.
 As for the survival tin, if you cant find a small penknife get a few Stanly knife blades (dead cheap) or some of those one sided razor blade things that craft shops sell and fold them into a sheet of paper and put them in your kit, not ideal but at least  you'll be able to cut stuff.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Survival kit part 3 (shelter)

Here in the UK one of the biggest dangers is exposure, or hypothermia to give it it's proper name.
The bodies natural core temperature is around 37c, a drop of only a few degrees can put a persons life at risk.
Just a really cold day can put you at risk of exposure if your not adequately dressed for the conditions, add in rain and wind at there's a very real risk of problems, as the wet tends to affect any insulation your clothes give and the wind adds wind chill.

Now there are a million ways to build a simple shelter,but remember we're doing this the easy way, we want to use as little effort as possible.
Look for a ready made shelter, caves are the obvious one that comes to mind.  Don't use beach caves though unless your totally certain the tide doesn't get up to them, being trapped in a cave by the rising tide isn't going to make for a good day out.  And remember the tide varies with the time of year, so there are some tides a lot higher than others. You have been warned!
The next shelter is to look for just getting out of the wind, that can make a huge difference in temperature
Sometimes just dropping a few foot and tucking yourself in behind a small bank stone wall, fallen tree or bush will work, it goes without saying you need to be on the lee side of the bush or whatever.  Failing anything handy to get behind can you built a small wall of stones?  I've done this myself, in the army their called a sangar (sangar is Persian for temporary wall or breastwork ) A small wall doesn't take too long to build if theres plenty of handy stones, the thing to watch is to make sure it wont collapse onto you, it also doesn't need to be too high.
Another option if theres branches is a simple lean to, just rest lots of branches against another tree or big stone, whatever and cover with anything you can find, even leaves will help.
Now we come to the survival kit option, why not just carry some sort of shelter with you. Again some of this stuff can be found cheaply if you search around, I found a reflective (space blanket) bivibag for under £2 on ebay, it's small and light, ok it won't actually fit in your survival tin, but it'll go on top, or in another pocket. Theres also plastic small light bivibags, or the bigger heavy duty model, too big for everyday carry though unless your taking a backpack
Another option is a small lightweight poncho, some outdoor concerts give these away and I've seen them in the pound/dime stores as well.  Ok you won't win a prize at Paris fashion week but who cares if you stay dry.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Survival kit part 2 finding our way (navigation)

Well we've got our container now it's time to start filling it with goodies.  I'm not starting in any particular order, this is just how it works out easiest for me to do.

Navigation.  To be honest finding our way here in the UK isn't such a big deal, theres very few places that are totally miles from anywhere or anything.  That said it can be tricky if it's dark with no stars or if your in forestry.
From the stars.
I'd suggest you learn how to find the pole star here in the UK ( or the southern cross if your down south).   It's actually really easy to find just look for the big dipper (Ursa major) sometimes called the great bear.  Then find the little dipper (Ursa minor) they both look like saucepans, the big dipper is the one with the bent handle. then from the two stars on the side of the saucepan of the big dipper draw a line towards the end of the handle of the little dipper, the star on the end of the handle is the pole star.  Thus you've found true north (slightly off from magnetic north but don't worry about it)

Using your watch and the sun.
If you have a proper watch with hands it's easy, {if you don't draw the time and the numbers like a watch face on a bit of paper and use that} Point the hour hand at the sun  holding the watch flat. then simply divide the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o clock position on the watch that points roughly south.

Satellite dishes.
Here in the UK most satellite dishes point roughly southeast.

Many Christian churches are aligned east/west, while mosques are a bit trickier as you have to get inside, somewhere there's a niche in the wall that faces Mecca.  Synagogues have the Torah ark at the eastern end.

A compass.
By far the easiest way is to buy a compass, these are really cheap these days, many pound/dime stores sell them, I found a set of 5 button compass on ebay recently for under a pound.  I'd suggest you carry a small button compass most of the time, you wont notice it in a pocket.  Just remember to keep it away from metal when you use it, unlike a mate of mine who stuck his compass to his rifle and wondered why he kept going the wrong way... Well you didn't think we'd tell him did you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

70 years ago this week...

It's 70 years ago this week that the concentration camp Auschwitz  and surrounding camps were liberated by the Red army. 
Unless you've been dead you'll have seen it all over the news this week, lot of politicians saying how terrible it was and how the Jews have suffered.  But they all seen to have forgetten it wasn't only Jew at these death camps.  Although figures are still confused it seems the numbers who died in these camps were roughly, 1.1 million Jews, 80.000 Poles, 25.000 Gypsies and 15.000 Soviet soldiers, and around 5.000 others. 
Still a terrible thing but lets remember all who died at these camps.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Well done Mr Trevor Bankhead!

Law student Euan Coulthard age 19 from Durham went missing near the river on January 14th. After a police search failed to find him an ex soldier Trevor Bankhead traveled from the western isles of Scotland to help the search.  Mr Bankhead now a diver decided to search the river, police had decided not to because of the safety of their divers,  After less than a minutes searching Mr bankhead found the body Of Euan Coulthard. Police divers later recovered the body (now apparently it's safe for them to go into the water).  
Frankly I think it's appalling that a civilian diver has to come hundreds of miles at his own expense to help a family recover their sons body.  The police have trained divers, or so they claim, yet a civi on his own was fine in water their dive team couldn't go in, and worse they went in after being shown up by Mr Bankhead.
Time to disband that dive team I think, just pay Mr Trevor Bankhead to come and find any missing bodies, he'll be a hell of a lot quicker, probably cheaper and he will at least do the job he's paid to do.

Well done Mr Bankhead, you have helped bring closer to Mr Coulthards family, something to be proud of. I salute you.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Survival kit part 1 (choosing a container)

Building a useful survival kit part 1 the container.

Theres loads of different containers you could use from an old first aid pouch, a camo pouch, a belt pouch or the classic old tobacco tin.
The trick is to use what you have or can get easily or cheaply.
Probably the easiest to get hold of is the tobacco tin, you can buy these in lots of the cheapo (pound/dime) stores, ok they may have a marijuana leaf painted on but you can either live with it or rub it off with a bit of sandpaper, or whatever.  Plus any serious smokers may well have one laying around somewhere, ask about.
These tins are pretty well ideal, they are fairly sturdy and more or less pocket sized, and with a bit of sticky tape (another survival tool) waterproof.
The idea of the survival kit is to have things that could help you and just maybe save your life if you get stranded somewhere.  Obviously the kit is no use if you haven't got it with you.
Should you carry it everywhere?  Well some people say yes, never leave the house without it!  But common sense says otherwise.  Lets face it if you live in a normal built up area and your popping over the corner shop for a tin of cat food and a mars bar your not very lightly to need water purification tablets or a fishing kit.  If on the other hand you live somewhere a bit more isolated sticking the tin in your pocket might be a good idea, use your common sense with this.
So what do we need with our container.  Well it needs to be big enough to carry the essentials, but small enough to carry around without being so big it'll get left at home because it's awkward, hence the tobacco tin.
When the time comes to seal the kit with tape put a few turns around the join, cut off the tape and fold the last inch over to leave a tab, this makes opening the kit with cold wet hands a heck of a lot easier.

Orbs in photographs

I often hear about orbs being ghosts or similar, so here's a real genuine photograph of lots of ghosts....   or maybe not, it's not photoshoped, at least the orbs are not, I have tweaked the exposure as it was a compact camera in quite poor light.
So the big question is why are ghosts attracted to a disused toilet??? And who could be so heartless to abandon it in the first place?   More importantly who cares?  Not me that's for sure!.

Coming soon building a basic survival kit!

I've got a few survival kits left around from way back, but I thought it might be interesting to take you through the basics and show what you need for this country (the UK) and do it on a budget.
You can buy all sorts of fancy kits ranging from the small keyring goodies, right through to a full-blown bug out bag, the trick is though to have the kit small enough to have with you most of the time. 
Special forces soldiers tailor their kits to be suitable for the area they are in, after all fishing kit's is unlikely to get used much in the desert but water is a priority.  You get the idea. So this kit is based on being in the UK.
We'll start soon with the container.

Michael Moore and American Sniper

Film maker Michael Moore has had another rant at the movie American Sniper, he is reported to had said "snipers are cowards" in his original rant, others have claimed Chris Kyle (the name of the real navy SEAL the story is based on) "enjoyed killing".
I'm surprised at Moores outburst, he usually check his facts first, but this times he's got it wrong!
Just because snipers can kill at long distance doesn't mean they sit safely behind the lines and "pot" away at the enemy. 
Snipers usually work on the front line, often attached to small units in forward bases (not a cushy number by any means)  As well as accompanying foot patrols in hostile areas the sniper team (usually just the sniper and spotter) will often make patrols into the enemy areas alone and set up observation posts to report enemy activity and to take the occasional shot if a suitable target presents itself, and they have finished the information gathering part of the operation.
Far from being cowards it takes a lot of courage to go out virtually alone in enemy territory, add in the fact that snipers are universally hated by enemy soldiers, and can expect to suffer badly if captured.
Theres another point too, most soldiers who have been in combat claim to have shot someone at some point. In the heat of battle it's often very difficult to tell if you've hit your enemy, or whether it was the bloke next to you. Usually you can't see too well either, what with dodging returned fire and the distance, you'll see someone go down but was it a hit or have they fallen over? You may never find out, that leaves you with a cop-out later if you feel bad. 
Snipers don't have that luxury, they see the face of the person they are going to kill up-close and personal, they are often the only person shooting at that range so they know for sure it was their round that hit.  That means they need to be mentally strong too.
As for Chris Kyle saying he enjoying killing ( if true)...   Well I never met the guy so I can't say for sure, but I do know that most soldiers join up in the first place to fight, not many join to sit in the spider (army barracks)  And most soldiers who have been in combat are glad they shot their enemy.  After all the other guy was trying to kill you first, so you may not exactly enjoy it but you probably wouldn't feel too bad about it either.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crazy Windows updates!

I connected my computer to the Internet today to install some video software, then I made the mistake of not disconnecting from the Internet before shutting down, now Windoze (thats how I spell it) is installing 89 updates.  Holy crap! how bad has Windoze got to be to need 89 fucking updates?  No wonder everyones going over to Mac's.

The end of childrens birthday parties....?

The week parents of a young child received a bill for £15.95 after their child failed to turn up for his friends birthday party, the invoice bearing the name of the party company was put in the child's school bag.

Well what can you say!  Yes I know it's annoying to have no-shows when you've booked a child's party, but sending an invoice, thats taking the piss.  I suspect her child will have bugger all guests coming to his or her next birthday.  It also raises an interesting legal issue.  You can't sue the child, he or she is under the age of responsibility and can't enter into a legal contract. To sue the parents you'd have to prove in court that they agreed to the child coming and that the person suing has suffered a loss as a result.
  And thats not as easy as you might think.  The company organising the event have already admitted they didn't have a problem (it was the parents who made the invoice, it was nothing to do with the event company) and the event company said it happened a lot and they would have been happy to offer other options to the parent so they didn't lose the money.  So the parent haven't suffered a lose anyway.  Besides which the small claims court costs £25 and the bill was for £15.95.

Most normal people would have had a word and told the missing childs parent about how dissappointed little Billy was at the party when their child didn't turn up and that it's cost them £16 for every child that didn't show up, that way the children remain friends and you stay friends with the other parents.  This way makes them look totally stupid and money grabbing. 
Theres a lesson here if you can't afford to party out somewhere and need to charge the parents on no-shows have the bloody party in your house next time.... not that any bugger will turn up....

Monday, January 19, 2015

The last from the beach walk

Heres the last few mixed pics from yesterdays wander, haven't been out with the camera much for a while, I could do with a few proper fun wanders.

More seaside pics

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stones and water

Liquid gold... or the sun on the water.

Yes just the sun on the sea, no photoshop except a resize.

A bad week for democracy

A bad week for democracy this week with the new counter terrorism and security bill going through parliament.  This bill won't have much effect on terrorists but it will make millions of ordinary normal people criminals.  The bill dubbed the thought police make even meetings an offence unless certain conditions are met.  You really should read the whole thing.

The Met police (remember the police who pay someone to change their light bulbs) have been told not to go out alone for their own safety.  Well I'm sure that's good advise but what about the rest of us? are we supposed to be chaperoned as well?  The police are supposed to protect us, lot of good they'll be if they can't even look after themselves....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Taken 3 (film review)

Taken 3 staring Liam Neeson and Forest Whitaker.

" IMDb  Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose long awaited reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his "particular set of skills," to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now - his daughter"

The film is action from the start, lot of fights, lots of shootouts and a few good car chases thrown in for good measure.
The action is well done and Neeson works well as the tough guy (this is the man who should have played Jack Reacher not Tom Cruise)  This isn't a film you'll doze off in.

A few small niggles for me, yet again the hero never gets hit despite thousands of bullets shot at him, that and the killer was all too obvious from early on, so don't expect to be kept guessing untill the end.

Waynes rating 8/10  well worth a watch on the big screen.

Celebrity big brother reaches a new low.

Celebrity big brother reaches a new low this week, something of an achievement in itself

First  the so called celebrity Jeremy Jackson, best remembered from being in Baywatch 16 years ago another A list celeb then!. Has been cautioned by police for common assault after pulling Chloe Goodman  ( a model)  top down and reveling her breasts. Chloe best known for being in MTV's ex on the beach (last year) So known by a few teenagers then.
Then  Ken Morley famous for being in Corination street 10 years ago was chucked out for using the N word.
Other contestants inclued Patsy Kensit best know for being in Emmerdale 9 years ago.
Alexander O'Neal best known for his no 1 hit (in the US) fake in 1987
Nadis Sawalha, best remembered for being in Eastenders 6 years ago and Loose women 2 years ago.
Cami Li, a model.
Anthony Kavanagh best remembered for 2 top 10 hits in 1997.
Chloe Goodman, a Cheryl Cole look-a-like.
Calum Best, best know as George bests son.
Alica Douvall, another model.
Perez Hilton a celebrity blogger.
Michelle Visage, a presenter in a drag racing reality program. 
Keith Chegwin, best know for his work on C4's big breasfast 15 years ago.
Katie Hopkins, an Apprentice winner in 2006.

Wow they really got all the big stars here then, bloody hell, most of these couldn't get a job opening a supermarket.  Not what most people call celebrities thats for sure.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

United airlines

United airlines doesn't seem very united this week after they fired 13 flight crew who refused to fly a plane that had the words Bye Bye! and a face scratched on the rear of the tail structure.  The crew claimed that the airline wouldn't do a proper security inspection and they feared for a possible bomb threat or similar. 
The crew were all very experienced, you'd think it would be common sense to take their views seriously, after all they and the poor long suffering public are the ones actually on the bloody aircraft.
As usual it seems safety takes a back seat to getting the flight's off the ground on time, sadly it's often a recipe for disaster.

Some sunsets and cloud shadows