Random Geekage

I've had to crack open a Waterbrick for actual use.

The property next door has suffered some sort of failure with their water. There was a constant stream being ejected from under the gutter and required the fire brigade to force entry to see what the issue is. However they couldn't stop it so the water was shut off at the stopcock outside that property.

For reasons unknown to me, this block of flats is also served via this stopcock, resulting in zero cold water pressure.

Naturally, I have prepared for this.

I can continue to enjoy my morning brews until this gets fixed.

Waterbrick Sterilising

I use Waterbricks for my water storage to help mitigate any unforeseen incidents that result in my local water supply being interrupted for any reason. I posted in one of the Discord servers that I lurk on about using chlorine dioxide tablets for treating stored water and Tim replied about bleach:

Cheapest household bleach, put in 1/2 cup add some water, close and slosh all over like a madman. let sit for 5 minutes you are now sterilized inside. I also setup a spray bottle with the same solution to hit the opening and lids just before filling and fill then close.

I thought that half a cup was maybe too much so I opted for a couple glugs from the jug, maybe 1/4 cup or so but otherwise I did it as described. The rest of the waterbricks will have the same treatment when the time comes for rotation.

Food Prepping With Huel

If you have been in the tech circles in the last couple of years you will have heard about Soylent, powdered food for techies and folk who don't want the hassle making food. Sadly its not available in the UK (at least without paying shipping and import fees).

I found a couple offerings this side of the pond but none were too satisfactory, shipping delays and other faff being the main issues. Until I stumbled upon Huel. Same idea as Soylent but made in the UK, next day delivery with a reputable courier and 100% RDA of everything.

The "food" is dry powder and comes in plastic foil lined bags which are sealed from the factory. I figure they are ripe for food storage. 1 bag is 14 meals at 500 calories a go. 4 bags is a month of calories, assuming a daily intake of 2000 calories. Since they are foil lined, the use by date is a good 8-12 months but being dry powder and (presumably) relatively sterile, the shelf life is probably a good bit longer.

There will likely be a cutoff point where the powder does start to spoil so it will need rotating out. A simple way to keep track of it is to just write the delivery date on the bags I get.

I keep one bag in my bugout/travel bag and another in a pelican case which I can wheel along behind me. If I need to hightail it out, I have at least 2 weeks of food. These 2 bags are the first to be rotated when I get a new delivery which ensures I have the longest life for any bugging out. Old bags get slotted into storage by date order and consumed in time.

I use Taskwarrior to remind me to order more Huel on a monthly basis:

$ t add project:foostorage recur:monthly wait:due-2days Buy 5 bags of Huel

I get my Huel deliveries in 4 or 5 bags a go, my one or two meals a day means I only consume about 3 bags worth a month. If I get 4 or 5 bags every month, then over the course of a year, I can build up several months of stored food. Assuming I can procure potable water, I can basically live for an extended time without having to procure sustenance of any significant value.

Now, I'm not one of those people who are on 100% Huel, I like my real food too much to do that, but I usually have one "meal" for breakfast and depending on what is going on with work, another one or two that day, with a real meal at some point during the day.

The first week of December 2015 brought a massive storm to Lancashire and Cumbria,

causing severe flooding which resulted in a loss of power to 61,000 homes and businesses. The Royal Academy of Engineering put out a report of the situation (mirror) discussing the situation:

Most homes in the affected area have gas-fired central heating with the control system and circulating pump reliant on electricity, so had no heating. Many homes have all-electric cooking and thus were unable to heat food. There are few high-rise buildings in the city but all lost power for their lifts and some upper floors lost water supplies. After 30 hours without electricity, many households had to throw away at least some of the contents of their freezers.

The biggest impact on most people was that few knew what was happening. By looking out of the window, it was obvious that there was a widespread power cut but none of the usual sources of information – TV, internet, text messages or social media – was working. Although there was FM radio coverage, many people did not have a suitable battery- powered radio and reporters in the area had serious difficulties in communicating with their studios.

Vulnerable groups, including those relying on electrically-powered medical appliances and residents of care homes, were more seriously affected.

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