Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bushcraft Show 2016 - part 1

Just returned from my first ever time to the Bushcraft Show and dh, ds, dd and myself all had a great. Having bought the tickets back in September and having had no correspondence since that time I was a bit nervous about the organisation behind the event. There was an email attached to the ticket and a web address directing you back to the booking page but navigating to find the sat nav address; timetable, etc was convoluted. Even a few days before the event the daily timetable wasn’t available. I wondered if this was some sort of test to see if you could find our way to the event ‘bushcraft style.’

Anyway we got to Beehive Farm Woodland Lakes with no problems whatsoever having found the sat nav postcode rather than the address postcode. We set up camp and I (in my usual organised way) set about trying to make sure that everyone got to do what they wanted out of the packed program. 

Luckily there wasn’t much happening on the Friday so we got to orientate ourselves by navigating around the grounds and viewing all the tantalising food stalls (crepes, hog roast, scampi van, ice cream, jacket potatoes) and various stall holders.

The photo is of the main stage which was made of 3 interlinked tipis.

10am - Surviving the Apocalypse @ the stage
I fell in love with Dr Sarita Robinson pretty much straight away just because of the title of her talk.  She is from University of Central Lancashire and is a psychobiologist. This talk was about the psychology of survival and the crossover between psychology and bushcraft.
She covered a lot of really interesting information in a very short space of time:
1. about how stress affects the body’s production of cortisol
2. how quickly the brain falls over when dehydrated
3. How gender affects our ability to survive
4. How dispositional optimism can affect our ability to survive
5. We need to get over our disgust at the idea of eating things
6. Some interesting barriers to survival eg. trying to save your pets

2016-05-28 10.38.57She recommended some great books which I am going to look into getting.
Lewis Dartwell - The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world after the apocalypse
Juliane Koepcke - When I fell from the sky
Martim Seligman - Learned Optimism

She also got us to try freeze-dried meal worms and they were all right. Insects are a fantastic food source and we need to get over our disgust at considering eating them.

dd and I went to watch a demo of Maasai cooking which was great. We watched as Ann made chapatis. There is no weighing or measuring and all the cooking was done using the senses:

  • Taste - to check the salt content of the water mixture
  • Touch - checking the texture of the mixture when kneading or the weight of the wrapped dough in her hands when making the chapati swirls (photo?)
  • Sight - the mixing bowl being clear of dough around the edges or thickness of the dough when rolled out
The way she kept an eye on the stove when the chapatis were cooking - continually turning them over and oiling them so they were all cooked evenly - was almost hypnotic to watch. The chapati was great to taste as well which is always a bonus!!!

How to grow a spoon at Ben and Lori Orford’s fantastic stall. 

These folks were amazing all the way through the whole weekend and we all learnt a lot of stuff from both of them. If you ever get a chance to see either of them in action take it. 

I have been totally inspired to try and make myself a spoon ASAP because of watching this demo. 

We even got loads of information about what trees to use for which type of thing such as goat willow for feather sticks; silver birch or wild cherry for spoons, or how to hold the knife when doing close work.

15.00 Ray Mears
What can I say about Ray Mears? I have never watched him on TV mostly because I haven’t had a TV licence for over 12 years. I have read one of his books but other than that I had no idea what to expect. 

The man was awesome and a total gentleman. The main things I will remember from his talk were nothing really to do with bushcraft or his survival/wilderness bushcraft. 

It was rather his dislike of being seen as a celebrity where he said he teaches to impart his syllabus NOT to be loved. Or when he mentioned that as a nation we are losing our decorum. This was in response to someone asking him if he liked Bear Grylls!! In response to whether he had ever had a spiritual experience on an expedition he simply said yes and said that we could all find our own if we wanted.

Next I went by myself to a session on making your own string where I learnt about how to make cord out of nettle. This was great because I have a wild section at the bottom of my garden next to my chickens and it is mostly filled with nettles. I already harvest them for nettle tea so now I know what to do with the stem.
  1. Cut 5 foot lengths of nettle
  2. Take the leaves off the length
  3. Use a cutlery knife to separate the square stem
  4. Flatten out the stem, bend and peel out the middle
  5. Let it dry
  6. Now take the 4 main fibres and turn 2 round so that the taper isn’t all one way
  7. Fold in half and hold a loop at the top
  8. Twist two strands to the right and then go over the right

16.30 The last thing of the day before the evening entertainment of fire poi and music was Ffyona Campbell talking about the Hunter Gatherer Way based on her book of the same name. 

The talk was a summary of the book which is about living seasonally, for example, living by the sea in the summer and consuming seaweed, wild carrot, etc. to escape the humidity of the woods. Her book is a very challenging and interesting read about how we are separated from nature which  means we are suffering as a species and what we can do to change that.

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