Here They Go Again

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, from Britishland:

Supermarkets today urged against panic buying as the Government launched a ‘preppers’ website warning families to gather an ’emergency kit’ of tinned food, batteries and bottled water for use in a crisis. Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden will today advise people to make contingency plans for dealing with potential emergencies to help build ‘national resilience’ and ease pressure on emergency services. 

Dowden wants to encourage families to stock up with enough food and water to survive for three days in the event of an emergency like a flood. 

All very sensible.

Naturally, everybody should build up some kind of reserve supplies of food and so on, and I’m pretty sure that all my Murkin Readers have already done so, with the judicious addition of guns and ammo in place so as to protect said emergency supplies against predation from those who haven’t.

And speaking of Americans:

While British ministers believe it is wise for people to take precautions, they will be keen to avoid imitations of the elaborate preparations for ‘doomsday’ scenarios made by US survivalists.

Of course they will, because the whole concept of self-reliance is anathema to politicians — and especially so in Britishland.  So while the BritGov encourages people to have some emergency supplies on hand (three days?  FFS), they don’t want their peasants to have too much of a supply, because… actually, I don’t have the faintest idea why they wouldn’t, other than malevolence or spite.

Feel free to enlighten me.

For those who may have missed them, or who are recent visitors to this website, here are a few from the archives:

It’s Always Time

Good Preparations

Snow Laughing Matter


Cooking In Extremis

Emergency Supplies


  1. For the long term, I’d stored a large amount of dried foods; beans, grains, freeze dried vegs, in 5 gallon plastic buckets.
    The lids were sealed and everything was stuffed under the basement stairs, forgotten until needed…
    I’ve discovered that plastic buckets are not rodent-proof, what an incredible mess!
    Three of the buckets were still intact, but the the entirety of the rest had to be disposed of.
    If you use plastic buckets to seal out oxygen, you still need a steel garbage can to protect the plastic.
    Live and learn.

  2. My grandparents lived through the depression and many hurricanes and snow storms. They had a cold cellar with lots of supplies. We had the same under the basement stairs at the house I lived in while growing up. Sure this gets called prepping today but back then it was just common sense.

    Thanks for the tip Amos on keeping critters away.

  3. I’d been doing some small-scale prepping for almost a decade now, keeping every nook and cranny of my pantry cupboards full of shelf-stable foods. Early on, my wife (the retired Air Force logistician) teased me about it, and thought it was frivolous. Then came the Wu Flulishness and its associated supply chain shenanigans, and behold! we never missed a meal, never resorted to beans and rice, and only made tiny adjustments to our weekly menu. Once I explained to my wife that “prepping” is just a pejorative term (used by the envious and improvident) for what a logistician calls “an upward adjustment in re-order points,” she was totally on board. Now if I were stocking up on guns, ammo, survival gear, and precious metal currency, THEN I’d be a prepper.

  4. ” Now if I were stocking up on guns, ammo, survival gear, and precious metal currency, THEN I’d be a prepper.”

    You mean you aren’t?

    1. If he is, why should he advertise it?

      Living in Calif, I’m aware that earthquakes/too heavy rains/civil unrest/the gov’t can cause “supply chain” problems. I’m trying to have enough supplies for a couple of months (chronic household medical problems preclude worrying about survival much beyond that). Right now water (I’m on a well) is my limiting factor. I’m putting in a 2600 gal. water tank in the next month or so as electrical power is vulnerable.

  5. Three days? I wouldn’t even get into my preps for that, I have enough in the ready magazine to last three days.

  6. A big problem here in the UK is that our modern houses are so small there is little room for storage.

  7. Speaking of SHTF, have you given any consideration as to which books should be in a prepper’s library? For example, I have volumes 1 & 2 of How Things Work which gives details on basic machines, how an engine works, how to distil, etc. But how many people, for example, know how to make soap? How to make bicarbonate of soda? How to make bread, even? When to plough? (TLDR: when it’s warm enough to have sex on the bare soil.)

    Have this august company any opinions?

  8. Quite simple: if they tell everyone to stock up for half a year there is an instant run on the stores the likes of which the country can’t cope with.

    And obviously most people don’t have the space to store that much in supplies anyway. Where do you store half a year of food and water in a typical rental flat? Or even a council house?
    There simply isn’t enough space. I live in a house that’s pretty roomy compared to your average European home, especially since I live here alone, and I don’t have nearly enough space to store all that, ESPECIALLY half a year of bottled water (200 days times 10 liters a day is 2000 liters, 2 cubic meters, not even counting the containers).
    Add a similar volume in food, that’s a LOT of space in pantries people simply don’t have.

    Now imagine 50 million people descending on their supermarkets and buying out everything there in minutes. Your average black friday sale at Walmart will seem a walk in the park.

    Heck, during the great toilet paper craze of 2020 people were already fighting in the supermarket aisles over packets of the stuff. And that’s not nearly as essential as water, flour, canned meats and vegetables. You’d better have the hearses lined up outside every supermarket at opening time. And of course remember that the undertaker’s assistants manning the hearses will be part of the crowd fighting over that limited food supply.

  9. I call bollocks on the whole “Oh we don’t have enough space” thing.

    What this is, simply put, is that people have other priorities with the limited space that they do have. I live in a 2BR (soon 1BR) apartment and have found space for 2-3 months’ worth of survival supplies, including water, without breaking a sweat. (That assumes zero warning time. With a few hours’ warning, I can quadruple my water supply without leaving the apartment.)

    This is not difficult, provided you don’t go for the bulky food items — 50lb-bags of rice? do you know how long two people can survive on 20? A single pound of pasta, once cooked, is four days’ worth of carbs for two people, and rice can be extended still further. (FYI, in terms of storage capacity, angel-hair pasta is your friend because it needs far less air in the packaging than, say, elbow macaroni.)

    Salt and sugar are likewise not bulky; even for a sweet tooth like mine, 20lbs can be eked out to last 4 months, while people needing less will need maybe 10. A single canister of Morton’s iodized salt is good for 4 months’ consumption, easily.

    Now add freeze- or air-dried (hello, biltong) meat, or else two dozen cans of canned meats, and while your diet may be boring, you will not starve.

    At the end you’ll come out a lot skinnier, of course, but most Americans won’t be affected by that.

    1. This right here. As I told my wife, we have food for 3 to 4 months. We won’t starve, but we’ll probably hate our diet by the end of it. And it won’t be healthy either, the intent is to not starve to death, calories are calories and boring food seems to last longer. And seasoning doesn’t take a lot of space – salt, pepper and garlic cover a wide range, then add other spices as you desire.

      1. It’s not even a question of “healthy”, but surviving. And as your portion sizes diminish, your weight will drop — something I discovered since starting Ozempic.

  10. I am rediscovering, again, the down-side of prepping. Food expiry. The 50 pound bag of Costco pinto beans need to be eaten. We gave some to our sons. They hate them.

    I bought them without really knowing much about them, just they have a long shelf life. I hate them. You can boil the bastards for 3 hours and they’re still tough.

    My wife has the digestion of an alligator and a mean streak, heretofore unknown to me. She says we’re eating them and I’m doing my share, or else.

    1. Please tell me you’re not from the South! Pinto beans – pressure cooker, slow cooker, or cast iron dutch oven slowly cooked for roughly 6 hours. Always make sure there’s plenty of water, salt, onion, pepper (black, bell, cayenne, chili, etc.) and then add salt pork, bacon, sausage, ground meat, etc. as desired. Serve with cornbread. It’s a complete meal. Which reminds me that our 50 lb costco bag is damn near empty and I need to restock.

  11. Cast iron dutch oven by Le Creuset, my wife’s pride and joy, at least 6 hours, maybe more, similar recipe involving various meats and sausages as my wife is of central European heritage.

    It tasted good but the damn beans stayed almost crunchy and had tough skins resulting in dangerous smells and chemicals from my nether parts. Maybe because I’m a cold weather guy from Canada.

    I also got a 50 pound bag of lentils, which are great.

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