Tag Archives: bushcraft

living with covid

I finally got around to getting my vaccine booster this morning. I was going to book an appointment at the vaccine centre for a day last week but then our health centre announced a vaccine day. I decided to delay for a week for the convenience factor.

My first two shots were in the official vaccine centre in Letterkenny with a full-on Health Service setup manned by nurses and supported by Irish Army personnel. Checking in, proof of ID, short medical questionnaire, queues and 15min recovery afterwards – easily 30-45min. Today couldn’t have been much more different. Owen and myself arrived a few minutes early for our 11am appointment and were back in the van within 5 minutes! It wasn’t exactly hello, sign that, here’s your card, sit down, jab and piss off but it was close. That’s the way it should be 👌

From the experience of others and from my own experience of the first two vaccines I’d decided in advance that today would be an easy day. However, with the weather being settled and dry I was itching to get outside by the afternoon so decided to go for an easy walk in one of the local forests.

I packed a bag and half way round I went into the trees to make and drink a hot chocolate. I found a great stand of larch trees and a perfect spot to set up my stove and sit for a half hour. The larches have all dropped their needles at this time of year which meant it was bright under the trees and felt much more open than usual in a conifer forest.

Just before Xmas I’d ordered an ultralight stove and stand from Speedster Stoves. It’s a little alcohol/spirit burner but I hadn’t tried it out yet so brought that with me today to heat water.

The great thing about making hot chocolate like this is that it is scalding hot at first and needs patience and time to cool down. This forces me to slow down, relax and enjoy the moment. In the woods this is amplified further by the peace and quiet. I’ve used gas stoves before but the alcohol stoves seem much more appropriate. They’re virtually silent and being that bit slower also add to the need to slow down.

Unfortunately not everyone understands the value of sitting still and enjoying the silence…

As I said over on Instagram: Time well spent…

Header image by cottonbro from Pexels

my outdoor life

My Outdoor Life by Ray Mears, narrated by Simon Shepherd.

From Audible:

Ray Mears is a household name through his television series Tracks, World of Survival, Bushcraft Survival, The Real Heroes of Telemark, and many more.

He is a private individual who shuns publicity whenever possible and would prefer to let his many skills tell their own tale – until now.

In My Outdoor Life, Ray tells of his childhood and the formative years when he first developed a passion for both bushcraft and the martial arts skills that are central to his life. Having travelled the world several times over, he is no stranger to risk and has had more than his fair share of dangerous and life-threatening encounters to share with his listeners. But his life is so much more than a tale of derring-do. Shortly after he returned to England having narrowly survived a serious helicopter crash, his father died. Just a year later, he had to face the death of his first wife, Rachel. The book conveys the many sides of Ray Mears, taking us up to the present day – including the previously untold story of his involvement in the man-hunt for murderer Raoul Moat. My Outdoor Life gives us all a chance to share a life story as rich and as inspirational as a walk in woods with the man himself, Ray Mears.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I absolutely loved this! I also believe that I enjoyed it more as an audiobook than I would have if I’d read it as a regular book.

It’s a pretty much no-holds-barred insight into the life of someone that has lived both a public life and a very private life. With this book he gives a very frank, honest and detailed explanation of his life from an early age right up to the present (at the time of writing).

It did take a little bit of getting used to the narrator’s voice. He has a very proper English accent and tone of voice which adds a layer of pomposity at times that I don’t think is intentional from the author. Ray Mears is a supremely confident man, very clear in his morals and beliefs and totally unafraid to voice them and to hold himself and others to his exacting standards. Hearing his views in the narrator’s accent can cause this to be misinterpreted at times.

I particularly liked how he described the most difficult times in his life. The death of his first wife is harrowingly described as is the aftermath. Also the death of his father and the impact it had on him. However, he is also incredibly enthusiastic about the good times, meeting his second wife, surviving the helicopter crash, living with and learning from many different indigenous peoples of the world.

I started listening to audiobooks via Audible using a link from a YouTube channel I watch called TAOutdoors. This link will get you one month free access and two free downloads: audible.com/taoutdoors If you use it I’d highly recommend that you give this one a go even if you have no interest in the outdoors, bushcraft or even know who Ray Mears is!

Header image source: fossbytes.com