Thursday, 4 January 2018

Keeping Warm When Camped Up.

They say the best way to solve a problem you’ve been struggling with is to just forget all about it. Now, I don’t know who ‘they’ are but ‘they’ could be right. I shall tell you why. I stopped thinking about how to heat my van when I am camped up for the night and today, lo and behold, the answer came to me! By the way, when I say I am ‘camped up for the night’ I don’t mean I am wearing make up and high heeled shoes and a bouffant wig and a tight dress and me man parts are swaddled in bandages. No, I mean I am parked in a nice spot for an overnight stay. Okay, on the odd occasion perhaps just a smidge of lipstick, but nothing more.
Where was I? Oh, yes, the heating problem. The answer has been staring me in the face all the time. Hurricane lamps! Yeah, simple really. There has been a hurricane lamp hanging outside one of my sheds for years. Today, it being a bit breezy I happened to notice it because it was swinging in the wind. ‘That’s it’, I exclaimed excitedly, adding a loud ‘VOILA’!
Now I happen to know, because I was born before electric was invented, that hurricane lamps not only give light they also give off a lot of heat. So, there it was my heating problem solved. There was a bit of a slight concern when I realised this lamp I had beheld, this light of my dreams, this beacon of hope was rusted right through. (see photo). By the way, earlier when I said I shouted ‘Voila!’ That was a lie. I don’t speak French. I’m sorry about that. I got carried away.
Now, you might not believe this, but I have another hurricane lamp. Yes, honestly, I have. It is hanging from another shed. It is a bit smaller but well, you know my van is small. But, and this will break your heart, it too is rusted right through. A hole in the bottom. (see photo). I thought about stretching some gaffer tape over it because I am a blithering idiot apart from anything else. But luckily that thought soon passed.
Online I googled hurricane lamp. There were plenty. I chose one made in Germany. It was either that or a Chinese one and I am told that the wick on the Chinese ones goes sideways, so I decided against them. Now I have never really forgiven the Germans for bombing my local fish and chip shop during the war, but I must admit they are terrific engineers, so I will be ordering one of their hurricane lamps. I am going to wait a few days before placing my order just to be sure in my own mind that the chippy incident was a one off.
I do realise that some of you reading this will soon be telling me I am going to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Well, if I do I will let you know in the next update. ‘They’ say you should never light a fire without opening a window. But supposing you are already outside? It makes no sense at all. What do ‘they’ know?
That’s it for now. I am going to be so warm and cosy in my Astra van. I can’t hardly wait.

Addendum: Please, always ensure you have adequate ventilation whatever heating you use.


  1. The good thing about being our age is that we did not always have the niceties that are available now. We often had to make do with what we had. Good idea but don't burn yourself.

  2. I will celebrate your wisdom, John. Wish my brain would come up with answers like yours does. Be careful now, laddie, in your exhilaration don't swing the lamp too high.

  3. I have a kerosene lantern that can be used in an emergency, but the smell gets to me. My grandmother used a kerosene space heater in the house. Everyone says they are odorless, but I could smell it... kinda made me feel sick.