I bring fire. You bring meat.

I may be on a personal quest to spend less, and if I save the environment in the process then… well I guess that’s good, but more importantly than either the health of the planet or my bank balance – I feel like a man today.

Yesterday less so, I failed to keep my fire burning and had to restart it three times before giving up. I also stupidly burnt myself in the process. I was a grumpy bastard after that, less of a man. Small man syndrome? Perhaps.

So today I tried again, I had to. After spending money on this hi-tech oven. (A BaseCamp stove by BioLite.)

Whoa!! Wait a minute. Spending money on some gadget?
Yup. *sheepish looks*

I wanted to make my own rocket stove from old tins and cans (like professional kitchen sized) and then forage for firewood. That would mean no longer needing to use our electric stove/hob or oven. Saving us precious pennies.

My partner wasn’t convinced, complained about smoke and danger and undercooked food. What? Didn’t think I could do it? Me, a man raised and blanketed his whole life in western comforts!? Bloody cheek.

Then I found this ready-made oven which could generate power from the heat, enough to charge a smartphone, tablet and stuff like that. Yeah we still have some of these. I have a tablet for work and my better-half has a smartphone for work.

This futuristic camping stove also sold itself on the idea that it used some of that energy to power a fan and reduce smoke (claims of 97% less) and improve the fire. It is being given away under a charity to parts of the world where cooking is still done over fires and where death by smoke inhalation is a significant problem. Blah, blah, great. But let’s focus on me.

Would it help me be a better cheapskate, post-purchase?

My partner was convinced and we spent a large chunk of our emergency funds. To be honest this small amount of money is not so much an emergency fund as a some of our remaining savings earmarked for anything that helps us save more. In future this could get us chickens, bees or replenish soil and fruit & veg seed stocks.

I got up at 7am, a sin on a Sunday morning, and began building the fire. Plenty of prodding, poking and praying to the gods of consumerism and nature resulted in a steady flame. Sure enough the oven began to make a whirling noise, making this space-age stainless steel saucer sound like it was about to take off. Was it also a drone!?! I’m sure these things have been spotted flying over campsites for years, sparking stories of UFOs.

Eventually I managed to boil enough water to make two cups of coffee. It seems the god of fire sensed my glee with this and the fire soon faded. I proudly marched indoors, my balls swollen and heavy with primitive manly feelings.

I poured the hot water into my hot pink French press and made my morning coffee. And now here I sit telling you this story of masculine accomplishment, a power over nature and economy and a desire to march forward head held high on this penniless project.


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