Preparing for the end, with bows and knives


Peter Stanford is prepared. He lives by a stream in rural Bedfordshire and he has an inflatable canoe ready to escape.

From what? From any “apocalyptic situation,” he says, which could be a natural disaster, a financial meltdown or urban riots.

The plan is to take to the water after dark so as not to be seen by others who might wish to steal his resources.

Stanford is a survivalist, or a “prepper” to use the modern term, a person who is fixated on surviving in the event of a catastrophe.

He told the media, “We have strategies and a location in place where certain family members could meet up.”

His decision to “prep” was taken almost 20 years ago when soldier friends told him of places they had seen which were devastated by war.

Survivalism is conventionally linked with the United States, the media programme noted, with self-sustainability and freedom from government being large factors.

These are sentiments shared by prepper Lincoln Miles, who owns what he says is Europe’s only prepping shop, also in Bedfordshire.

There he offers for sale crossbows, special clothing and a vast array of knives, ownership of which is mostly illegal in the UK.

A Confederate flag is prominently displayed. “I see it as a symbol of freedom and detachment from the government,” he said. The flag is also tattooed on his arm and hangs on the rear-view mirror of his car.

Miles said he and his friends also had “phone blockers” to stop people like the government from tracing them.


Prepping, he said, “is about relying on yourself and no-one else. We trust them (government) too much.”

In the forests of Hertfordshire, Michael Sanderson has modified his four-by-four vehicle by adding a tent big enough for his wife and two children and attaching a table and hob to cook and eat.

“It’s not just about the end of the world,” he said, “we prepare for everything. What would happen if you lost your job tomorrow?

Would you have enough food and money to survive?”

Sanderson was a paramedic in the military for most of his working life and says things he saw there set him on course to becoming a prepper. “I’m not paranoid, these things do happen,” he said.

The prepper has a YouTube channel, where he demonstrates examples of his lifestyle with people around the world.

The channel is named armouredcockroach, from which Sanderson gets his nickname, Roach.

Roach admits he is taking his prepping too far in the eyes of many — he says he has had two cars set alight by enemies — but he says prepping is a broad concept and fundamentally is about remaining in control.

A recent column in this space, The teenage love that never faded away, described how Valerie Cowen and Arthur Holland fell in love at a disco when she was 15 and he 19.

Job requirements separated them, however, and it was half a century later when the two returned to their home town of Blyth, Northumberland.

Arthur, by now 69, walked into the Crown pub and there behind the counter was Val. Their romance resumed immediately. But fate intervened again. Arthur was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Unwilling to stay apart any longer, the pair married at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary in a ceremony attended by doctors and nurses as well as family. It was a short marriage. Eighteen days later, Arthur died.

Said Val, “Arthur passed away peacefully with me and his family at his side. He felt he had achieved everything in his life. Ours was a love story tinged with sadness.”

It’s known as the Wicked Bible, or sometimes the Sinners’ Bible. Back in 1631, the Royal printers in London produced a new copy of the bible but made a terrible mistake.

When they listed the Ten Commandments, the compositors dropped the word “not” from the Seventh. Thus, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” became “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

Most of the copies were rounded up and burned but a few exist today in libraries in Britain and America.

The error conjures up the picture of a pious Christian bowing his head and praying, “Forgive me, Lord, I did not commit adultery.”

A true story from the realm of “You couldn’t make it up:”

There was an election in Ukraine last week and a man dressed as Chewbacca from the Star Wars movies was arrested while campaigning for his candidate, Darth Vader. It is an offence in Ukraine to campaign on voting day.

Chewbacca was fined the equivalent of eight dollars but said he couldn’t pay because his bank did not have a branch on earth.