Bushcraft (part 1 of 3)


November 4, 2017 by Jason Phillips

Burnt to a crisp on Halloween

‘What you up to the rest of the week, J?’ asked Mish.
‘Off on a bushcraft mission, 3 days in the wild’
‘What in November?’ asked Kaz
‘Yeah, bit nervous, but should be fun.’
‘you like that Bear Grills off the tele, innit, aha’ said Mish.
‘Bear Jason’ said Kaz
‘Yeh. Bear Jason, thats it.’ said Mish
‘Aww, I prefer Ray Mears! Jay Mears?’
‘Bear! You’re mad. I can think of better things to do with my days off.’ said Kaz
‘Ok then, but remember when the zombie apocolypse comes, you will need me. So be nice to me. Jason Mears?’ I said
‘Have fun Bear Jason’
‘Thats such a shit name.’
‘Ahaha. bye Bear! See you saturday if you make it!’
‘Thanks, see you then. I hope!’
Bye Bear Jason they shouted after me, waving, as I left the Market.

It was halloween, I thought of dressing up as a pumpkin. ie drawing evil eyes and a jagged grin on my gut and running around the streets naked. But thought better of it. Instead I got myself a copy of Hellraiser. My mate William was coming over for tea, so I cooked up some grass-fed West Walian lamb and made a banging Vindaloo with organic coconut milk, organic locally grown leeks and spices.

Will turned up and necked the curry and loved it. He spent two hours ranting at me about how his investment portfolio is making him a killing, and checking the portfolio on his phone every time I tried to speak. I finally managed to get  word in and tell him about my upcoming bushcraft mission.

” If i saw you asleep in a bush with a ray mears guide book i’d kick the shit out of you, ya sad bastard.” he said.

I walked him to Cardiff Central Station, putting out my bins on the way out. Drunk people in shit costumes stumbled around the cold dark streets. The zombie apocalypse, I needed to get my survival skills up, and that’s what tomorrow was all about.

I got back to the flat and decided to boil down the bones from the lamb I had cooked, to make a stock. I had never made a stock before, or even a curry, so this was all new to me. I commented to my flat mate how much I was loving cooking lately. She smiled saying this was her me-time day, and she was off to bed, early night with a book.
I put the big bone in a pan and filled the pan up with water and put it to simmer and then went into my room and rigged up Hellraiser on my fat new system. Big screen and bassy as hell soundsystem right in front of my fat sofa with the orange blanky, King Prawn. Bring it on. Randy calling…
“Ok let’s double check you are packed and ready for tomorrow.”
“I’m pretty nervous. I’m cold in my flat at night, can’t quite imagine being out there for 2 nights.” I said, watching the moon rise above the rooftops and the cold press it’s spikey fingers onto my window.
“Don’t be nervous. I got everything we need to make a fire, and to keep us safe. We just need to check you got the basics.”
We decided to meet at 4pm at St Athans. This would give me the morning to purchase the essential gear I was missing. And to get to the studio and do my weekly mixing session with Kris, which may be cut short this week, as I knew we had to get going before dark. And it had been getting dark around 5ish of late.
Hellraiser was freaky as hell, a guy made of just giblets hiding in the attic. Growing back his muscles and organs and skin by ingesting balding men who had been brought back to the house by the freak’s lover. He looked like some fucked up burns victim slowly coming back to normality with each new human he ate. Leaving the remains behind like a chicken carcass. What a waste, that could make a hell of a stock.
I’d slipped off half way through the mad film, and the cenobites appeared around me, they were stood there, along with the members of Clusterbleep, surrounding me, just looking at me. I was asking Pinhead what he wanted. Pestis was slapping a basball bat into the cup of his hand. Butterball was licking his lips and the Chatterer was well Chattering. Suddenly a screeching alarm ripped me out of my reverie, tossing the king prawn away from me. I bounced off the sofa to my feet.
I ran out of my room, the corridor was thick with smoke. I was expecting The Engineer to come flying atme out of the smoke. The alarm was whirring at a piercing volume. I ran into the kitchen, black smoke filled the room. My stock! It was glowing orange through the glass lid of the pan, smoke was piling out of the sides.
I ripped the pan off the stove and ran to the sink, pouring water into the burnt dry black bone remnants. As soon as the cold water hit the pan an almighty puff of smoke flew out with a fierce sizzle, setting the bigger alarms – for the entire apartment block off. I silenced the kitchen alarm by pushing a small button on it, but the building alarm was 5 times as loud and piercing, I knew all thirteen flats would now be escaping onto the main street in their pyjamas, to the amusement of the drunken trick or treaters outside.
Helena was up out of bed, looking bemused, dressed, and choking. She helped me open all the windows, but the flat was absolutely packed with thick smoke.
My neighbour Brian popped in and as he entered the flat must have took a gulp of the lamb bone smoke and immediately started retching. I was still running around trying to find other ways to ventilate the place.
“How are you not choking?'” He spluttered
“Im not breathing” I said, not knowing quite what I meant.
He ran out into the corridor bent over choking and puking up nothing but hot smoke.
I followed him downstairs to try to silence the alarm
The new lady from number 3 was in her dressing gown talking to my flat mate, Helena on her door step.
“Sorry, it was me, I fucked up!” I said scurrying past.
“You were only just saying how much you been enjoying cooking!” Said Helena
“Ah yeh um! Yep.”
“Just drifted off after a 14 hours shift up the hospital, got to be back in the morning,” said number 3, her eyebrows knitted, arms folded.
‘Sorry, I fucked up. Nice to meet you.’ I said squeezing past to get to the alarm control on the bottom floor.
‘Plank!’ she said as I walked off.

Bri was at the control box with his arms folded.
“Fucksake bro,” he said, “You really fucked up here. No ones got the code. Its been changed, this is going to be going all night.”

The fire brigade turned up. Four of them came into my flat and checked it over. I asked them to disable the alarm. They said they weren’t allowed anymore. Its the new protocol, it was up to our landlords to do that. I told them they were only contactable during office hours, he shrugged. They left.

The alarm was screeching like hell and the tenants were walking about in various states of disarray.
“Happy Halloween,” I joked to some of them collected on the bottom floor.
“Was just about to relax and now we’ve got this til the morning.” said one.
“No one on the emergency contact has the code,” another.
“An engineer is coming within the hour, he doesn’t have the code either, tho” said someone holding their hand over a phone.
“Well done mate,” said Bri and barged past me and slammed the door behind him.

Back in the kitchen and with that cocky wanker, Hind Sight, I worked out if I had simply lifted the pan and put it onto the outside windowsill, the main alarm probably wouldn’t have sounded, and the stink and smoke probably wouldn’t have coated my flat. Cheers Hind. Twat.

I contacted the Fire Station, telling them that they needed to send someone back to disable the alarm, as if there was a fire right now, nobody would leave their flats, as the alarm had been left constantly ringing. He said that I would have to phone my landlord.
I explained there was no one available til after 9am, and eleven hours of this was likely to drive my neighbours to lynch me.
He apologised. The neighbour from flat one was in my door way, he was grinning.
“Are you ok? What happened?” He had slept through the madness and just come up to investigate.
“There was a fire in a pan, and my flat was full of smoke. I nearly killed us all,” I said.
He laughed and said “Fucking hell, well everyone’s ok though yeah?”
“Yeah, the fire brigade have been and gone, now we are trying to silence the fuckin alarm! I’m so sorry man.”
“No probs,” he said, “as long as everyone’s alright!”
“Thanks man, the rest of the block fucking hate me right now.”
“No worries, could have been a lot worse. See you in a bit.”

I headed back to the control panel. The ringing was sending me nuts. All night? I was sure to be killed, on halloween, by a raging mob of angry neighbours. I pressed a few buttons. It beeped and said Enter Code_
I stood there looking at the bastard. A guy appeared at the front door I let him in and Bri walked in the other door. An engineer. Not the Engineer, from Hellraiser, thankfully. He took the thing apart, located a chunky battery and simply pulled one tiny lead off the battery. My brain slowly ruffled back to normal size as the ring echoed into a thick silence. You are a fuckin genius I said. Bri left without saying anything to me. I said sorry again after him, he wasn’t having it. I went back to my black flat. The smell was sharp and painful, it hit you in the back of the throat, like trying to snort broken glass soaked in acid. Burnt lamb marrow coated my walls. I got under my blanket and finished up Hellraiser.

Tomorrow was the big expedition to the countryside, to the Wild!  No tents allowed. I was already regretting it

check back tomorrow to see how it went…
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2 thoughts on “Bushcraft (part 1 of 3)

  1. Flapsandwich says:

    thank you. she is immortalised for ever. on this blog. with its 3 readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I imagine that was no fun to go through at the time, it made for hilarious storytelling. I only hope your flatmates appreciate their contribution to literature. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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