I grew up in the 80s (I know, I’m very old) during the Cold War when the threat of nuclear war was believed to be significant. I remember reading a booklet that my Dad had been issued with (he worked in the NHS) that outlined what could happen in the event of a nuclear attack (clue: it was bad). If the bomb was dropped in the city centre, we could expect to be instantly vaporised; to be honest this seemed better than the alternatives which included dying slowly and painfully from radiation poisoning or being raped and pillaged in a violent post war society.
There were several films and TV shows set during or after a nuclear attack including a poignant animation in 1986 called ‘When the Wind Blows’.
It tells the touching but harrowing story of a retired couple who, in the face of a nuclear attack, attempt to prepare for survival by building a shelter from doors and painting their windows white. They survive the initial blast and believe that emergency services will come to their aid but gradually get sicker and sicker until they fade away. I found it very powerful and I couldn’t understand why the powers that be persisted with the belief that nuclear armament was the way forward.
Anyway, moving on,the Cold War ended, I grew up and the idea of destruction via nuclear war has been replaced by fears about the destruction of the planet via global warming.
As an adult I gave my teenage influences little thought until I moved out of my first flat aged 27 when I had to decide what to do with a kitchen cupboard stuffed full of empty glass jars, far too many jars for a bit of jam making.
This was before the idea of recycling glass had become popular and I had to ask myself why I had kept so many jamjars, ‘Just in case…’ I told myself. Just in case of what exactly? My subconscious provided an interesting reply – the answer was just in case of…nuclear war; glass jars would come in very handy for keeping fresh water, storing preserved food and even to defend myself (I know, vivid imagination).
Since then I have been more aware of a subtle instinct underlying some of my behaviours. I find being able to knit, spin and now weave very reassuring as should nuclear war ensue, I will be able to keep those I love warm in the post-war feudal society (can’t really remember what that is but I do know life wouldn’t be quite a comfortable as it is now) we shall no doubt find ourselves in if we were to be unfortunate to survive (can you spot crazy knitting lady raising her head again?!?).
I would also be able to make goods to barter with for things like food, medical supplies and fuel. So, what are your survival skills? Maybe we could trade….
Being able to create something both beautiful and useful from something a as common as fleece is immensely pleasing too.
Which leads me neatly onto my latest project. Some of you may remember me blogging about spinning some Jacob wool to make a sweater, well I have been marching on with said post- holocaust survival project and it is going very well. I’m not sure Mr Knittingkitten is quite so keen, I think he prefers things that don’t look quite so hand spun. I’ll let you make your own minds up.