Saturday, 9 June 2012

Smoke gets in your eyes

Took advantage of Mr GP's absence at a BBQ to have my own cooking session en plein air, and give my kelly kettle, (seen here at Greenbelt 2011), it's first outing of the year. For the uninitiated a kelly or poacher's kettle is simply a double-walled metal chamber, with the water kept in the chimney wall. You  fill the base with fuel, place the chamber on top,  before lighting  it. The kelly then gives a convincing imitation of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, and 3-5 minutes later le voila, tea is served! The beauty of this little chappie is that it's compact, light, can burn any fuel that's to hand  - green brownie points here - enabling you to whip up a quick cuppa at a moment's notice wherever you are, whether that's the riverbank, wilderness, even the desert... Yes, camel dung makes excellent fuel I'm told, not that I'm ever likely to be in a position to try that one out. It also appeals to the latent Girl Guide in me. After all, my patrol were awarded  the wooden spoon for best cooks 1972. (If my memory serves me rightly, lukewarm   porridge and lumpy mince of doubtful origin featured largely on our menus!)

Luckily nobody passing by the Greenpatch residence at about 5.30 this evening  caught sight of the smoke signals, or if they did, heard the cursing, blinding and puffing and had the presence of mind not to call the fire brigade. It was just me, re-discovering the knack of getting the sodding thing to keep burning. There's a certain technique to this (which I didn't quite master at GB whilst trying to brew up in a howling wind on the first day!) It Consists of pointing the kettle into the prevailing wind, blowing vigorously into the holes in the base, head down like a demented hen, whilst simultaneously posting fuel as fast as you can into the chimney. It took a few trial runs and a moud of messy ash today  before I  realised that I'd have to put  aside romantic backwoodsmen notions of scavenging for pine cones, kindling and grasses -  and settle for  using billions of little squares of cardboard;  far more efficient and less smoky.

 Not the best of timing, I must admit, kellying on the same day as having my hair done. I pong as if I smoke 60 a day. Great cup of coffee though.  However, I need to get in a lot more practice before I can fulfil my dreams  of plentiful hot water for cuppas, washing, and sneaky late night hot water bottles. at GB.

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