I was struck by the title of a blog post today in a way I haven’t been for a while. What was the title? Is being naked better for you? Being zombie-minded, my instance mental response was: Not in a zombie apocalypse! After all, the last thing you’d want to be when being pursued by a horde of undead, hell-bent on tearing you to shreds, would be to be naked. That was my immediate response, but thinking about the implications of this post further, two other of my personal interests were piqued.
Firstly, until reading that article, I’d never realised that there was both a Naked Gardening Day AND a World Naked Bike Riding Day. I’m not too sure about either of them, and both sound like they could go horribly wrong, but it does fit into my general interest in the fact that everything seems to have its own dedicated day these days. I’ve covered this before on this blog, so I won’t go into details here, but I think I’m much more likely to take part in International Talk Like A Pirate Day than either of the above.
Secondly, and this is something I’m planning on touching on in the upcoming third book in the For Those In Peril series (called The Island At The End Of The World – watch this space for further details!), in a post-apocalyptic world, what on earth would we all do for clothes? For a while, we’d be able to scavenge from the existing stocks (or should that be socks?), but eventually these would run out and our last pair of pants would finally fall apart. What the heck are we all going to do then? Gardening naked might be fun to do once a year (and I’m guessing it must have been established by someone in the northern hemisphere so that it was early summer rather than the middle of winter), but it would be hell to have to do all year round!
I’ve argued before that knitting is a core post-apocalyptic survival skill, but knitting is only part of the process of making fleece from sheep into something warm and wearable. You’d also need to know how to get the fleece off the sheep (and, indeed, how to catch the sheep in the first place in order to do this) and how to turn it into yarn (which is not nearly as straight-forward as you might think and involves a whole heap of specialist tools you’ve probably never even seen before, let alone know how to use) before you could even get going with your knitting needles. Do you know how to do any of this?
Animal skins might make an alternative to clothes made from yarn, but again, how many of us actually know how to turn an animal inside out in just the right way so we can wear it as a jacket, or a nice warm pair of trousers, that doesn’t end up stink of rotting meat after a couple of days? I tried this type of thing once as a child, and it was a long, slow and rather disgusting process that required a lot of things you probably wouldn’t have close to hand in whatever post-apocalyptic world you found yourself in.
So what’s left? Not much really. This is one of those occasions where I don’t have a smart answer, and really, if the worst were to happen, we might find that acquiring the just right clothes to keep us warm and dry would actually be almost as critical as finding enough food, especially in the longer term. After all, as anyone who has ever gone camping with small children, or teenagers for that matter, knows, there’s nothing that saps morale faster than continually being cold and wet.
The only solution, really, is to start pulling the knowledge together now so that if you ever do find that you need to, you’d be able to make your own clothes from scratch. That way, if civilisation ever collapsed, you’d undoubtedly find your skills in great demand, and you’d probably never have to risk your neck going out and foraging amongst the marauding zombies ever again. After all, if you’d been out in the woods for many, many weeks, living hand-to-mouth, what wouldn’t you give for a nice pair of warm, clean woollen socks to keep your feet warm and toasty for the first time in what would seem like forever?
And with that, I’m off to learn how to turn sheep into woolly jumpers. I may be some time!
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.
To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.