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When the Lights Go Out

August 4, 2010


Trying out my new camping cooker

There's a torch in the kitchen cupboard. I'd have to go there first. My hand would pass over the cat food until it brushed the maglite.

I'll climb he stairs, waving the torch in front of until I've located the ladder. Then, when I've positioned it underneath the ceiling where the entrance to the loft threatens I'll climb the steps in search of the thunderstorm treat. The portable gas stove. The Trangia.

I haven't used it for at least fifteen years. It was the epitome of butchness at university. A compact demonstration of my weekend part-time masculinity. Weekend trips to the Lake District demanded practical and budget-conscious meals to fuel day-long hikes up hills and peaks. Matthew did a cracking potato, spam and egg on a Sunday morning. It worked, just as the cheap local beer did the night before,

Backpacking swiftly became a distant memory shortly after I graduated. The Trangia now occupies a corner of the loft. I'll use it one day. One day when the late afternoon power cut extends late into the night.

After all, when that happens I'll need a hot cup of tea while I'm doing my jigsaw.

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