Saturday, February 26, 2011

The basics

The Christchurch earthquake has underlined the human basics with shocking clarity. Water. Food. Staying clean. Waste disposal. Dry, warm shelter. Family, friends, neighbours. Plus, of course, simply being lucky enough not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
         Before, I knew that the main problem would be Harvey's survival. Mine seems a much simpler matter.
         I had meant to get my preparation act together last time, but didn't. This time I've got as far as putting everything I already have in the way of basic essentials together in a safe, accessible place, and I have every intention of getting the missing items as soon as I can.
         Top of the list: big black plastic bags. A wind-up torch and a wind-up radio. (I spoke to an elderly family member today who is surviving brilliantly without water and power, with wonderful help from her neighbours, but I knew far more about what was going on than she did - she does have a battery radio, but it's permanently tuned to FM, so she hadn't heard any of the info on National Radio, whose staff have been doing a brilliant job.)
          I do have water (though it's in the garage and could be hard to reach) and I have water purification tablets, as well as bleach in the laundry. I don't have any means of cooking or boiling water, but both my neighbours do - and you can cope without if you have to.
          For food, I'm still relying mainly on Harvey's leftover stock of Fortisip, the complete meal in a bottle (they taste like a revoltingly sweet milkshake, but they don't need refrigerating or heating). But they'll only be okay until about July. Their "best before" date is June, and I know this can be safely exceeded, whereas "use by" shouldn't be - but I don't know how long past the "best before" you can go and not get sick.
           I've got a stock of baked beans as well. You could easily live on them for a while, and they're not too bad even when they're cold. With any luck, the tins in the pantry would still be usable too - unlike the jars, and the wine, they won't smash open.
           The only snag is - I haven't got that vital extra can-opener yet.
           Anyway, I'm doing my best, knowing that it might all be no use at all against the shocking power of nature. But it's been so heartening to see the way everyone, from the people next door right up to the army and Fonterra, has rushed to provide whatever help they can.
            If you're not usefully down there, listen to the good guys and please don't send stuff, just send money.

Something Else to Eat will have no new posts for a couple of weeks. My lovely housesitter will be here looking after my dear elderly Dorothy, who isn't eating very well.


Libby said...

I too need to make a list and get better prepared.

On a different note, there's a lunch with Alison Holst (at Booklovers B&B Mt Vic) on Tuesday (March 1) as part of book month. You may already know of it but there's more info here if you haven't and are interested:


hungryandfrozen said...

Very sensible ideas there! Have to admit my supplies were shamefully low, immediately went out and bought bottled water, hand sanitiser, that kind of thing.

Agree with you about National Radio - absolutely brilliant.