I think the whole point of camping is discovering you can be independent of the modern world for a while. It’s a matter of self- sufficiency. Picture: Bernat Armangue/AP
I think the whole point of camping is discovering you can be independent of the modern world for a while. It’s a matter of self- sufficiency. Picture: Bernat Armangue/AP

Being self-sufficient and Eskom-free

By David Biggs Time of article published Jan 17, 2020

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I visited friends during the last week of the school holidays and found them packing up for a final camping weekend by the sea.

Their lounge was littered with folding chairs and tables, inflatable mattresses, coolboxes, torches and bags of batteries, all ready to be loaded into the family car.

I think the whole point of camping is discovering you can be independent of the modern world for a while. It’s a matter of self- sufficiency. If you want light, you provide it without needing an Eskom power line.

If you want warmth, you make a fire. If you want water, you carry it in a 10-litre can.

I once owned a small boat that was moored in Simon’s Town bay. It had two bunks and a little basin and gas cooker, and plenty of locker space for wine bottles (and some tins of food).

I fitted a small solar panel that charged a 12-volt battery and I considered myself more or less independent. In fact, I spent one of the best weekends of my life living on board and doing very little, but being aware that I had all the conveniences I needed without any help from outside.

I had light to read by and a music system to entertain me. I could cook and wash and lie on my bunk watching the gulls wheeling overhead. Nobody could reach me or disturb my thoughts. A perfect holiday. I can’t remember a time when I was more relaxed.

It doesn’t cost a fortune to become independent. I hear more and more people say they have gone “off the grid”.

A well point or a Jo-Jo tank supplies water and a solar panel gives you electricity. Imagine the smug satisfaction of being able to extend a cheeky middle finger at the idiots in charge of the Eskom “notwork” and say: “I don’t need your volts anymore.”

Where does the government find these nincompoops they install in positions of responsibility? Under a stone?

I went into the local post office this week to pay my television licence fee. The teller gave me a vacant look and said: “No, you can’t pay the TV here.”

I was about to leave when an older teller at the other end of the counter signalled me to come to her window. “Of course you can pay here,” she said quietly. “That other one is stupid.”

But we taxpayers are paying “that other one’s” salary. Maybe we tax-payers are the stupid ones.

Last Laugh

The drill sergeant was lecturing a group of new recruits.

“Your rifle is your responsibility. If you lose your rifle you will have to pay for it.”

“That’s not fair,” said one rookie. “If I were a tank commander and lost my tank, would I be expected to pay for it?”

“Yes you would,” said the sergeant, “even if it took you 10 years to pay for it.”

The recruit looked glum and muttered: “Now I know why a captain always goes down with his ship.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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