Saturday, 9 April 2011

Sometimes less is more ... ...

We live in a technology controlled world (least in my opinion we do) there are a myriad of mobile devices that keep us in touch, most people have pc's or access to one (library's allow you to use the internet) in short technology is every where, even in our fridges, it's used to get electricity and gas to our homes, along with other things, like tv, internet access.

What happens when it doesn't work ?

One of the ways we know it's summer (or nearly summer) apart from the weather is the power cuts, yes summer is power cut season in our area, better than having them in winter I guess.

Now unfortunately for us we only use gas for heating, and even then we keep the bill down as much as possible (gas is expensive) so when we get a power cut we are kind of in trouble, no way to cook food, or even make a cup of tea (arrgh !)

I always joke with my family about " The Apocalypse " which usually involves zombies ;-) and what would the world do, no electricity means no way to get online, no way to charge your smart phone, or mp3 player, scary ? well no not really.

Some people are more adept at surviving than others, a lot of it comes down to knowledge, sadly a lot of the skills that once kept us alive are being lost to technology (in my opinion)

Today was one such day, no power, and when you've been working in the garden it's nice to sit down and have a cup of tea and admire your work, sodding power cuts !

But I have a gadget, but it's a low-tech gadget, it doesn't need electric, or batteries (yes electric and batteries are kind of the same thing) and it lets you get warm,heat food and water, best of all you can make a cuppa, can't be bad ;-)

And here it is (drum roll) -

Cool isn't it :-)
It's an old Primus stove, it's designed to run on a variety of fuels, paraffin, kerosene and oil (I've been using lamp oil) you could also run it on methylated spirits and maybe petrol.

Okay so it's old, but it works and once it's going it'll heat a pan of water in under three minutes, you can cook on it as well, and it'll keep you warm, I've also found it takes a fair bit of a breeze to blow it out, which is good :-)

It works on a simple principal, you put your fuel of choice in and basically force it through a jet under pressure, this creates a mist which ignites as it hits the air, it roars like mad, sounds like a jet engine :-) which oddly makes you feel warmer.

The lamp oil takes a little lighting, so when that runs out I'll try something different, you have to fill a little reservoir with the fuel and light that first, this acts like a pilot light, then you have to close an air valve and pump a plunger. 

The plunger -

This is where the magic happens :-)
By closing the air valve and pumping the plunger you then force the fuel through the jet, the pilot light ignites it and hey presto you get a flame, which is evened out by the design of the burner, the fuel lasts a long time, a full tank will keep it going for hours, and it burns hot, although different fuels will provide more intense heat.

The stove is old, probably about thirty years or so, but it works and it's simplicity is what makes it so brilliant, when it was first made no doubt it was a high-tech piece of kit, the workmanship of the stove is very good, attention to detail that you rarely find these days.

It comes with instructions, which are fantastic -

Not the best picture, but great illustrations :-)
Thanks to this stove the four hour power cut didn't seem so bad, funny how a cuppa can make a difference ;-)

So when the zombies come (they will you know ;-) low-tech might just be the thing that saves us.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Ahhh....low-tech is such an embraceable option. Zombies, I'm not so sure ;-)

  2. I have often thought about getting rid of the technology we have, in favour of a small bit of land and a cottage out of the way, I'd be happy to spend all day working the land, but alas at present this isn't possible, but one day :-)
    As for zombies, you're okay if you go for the head ;-)