The final countdown

The final countdown

Well despite the pandemic time still flies, Christmas is a few weeks away. It seems like we have not even got over Christmas 2020. Time to decorate the tree and hunt for gifts.

There is a mistaken premise that the outdoor and adventure territory is a male area. A big mistake it’s not.

So I decided to be fair to all and look at a gift list that would be unisex and not male-dominated. Things that anyone could use and would be happy to receive. I had to be gender fair so I left a lot of the boy’s toys out.

The first item I thought about was a result of a chat with a friend. It is retro but relevant, an analogue SLR camera. The film camera along with vinyl ( records ) and even tapes are all making a comeback. It’s a “hipster” thing. But not if you have always held to the old ways. Why do I start with an old school piece of equipment? Well, it’s simple, it is still the way you learn the basics of photography such as aperture, shutter speed and composition. And film forces you to be economical – don’t waste it. There are still great cameras available at affordable prices and many labs that will print for you. Most of the good dealers still stock film stored in fridges. Opt to shoot transparency (slides) as it is more forgiving in the edit. And like quality vinyl, it is timeless.

Now we come to a great tool. Useful to anybody outdoors and at home, a good knife sharpener. Many of them are so complicated. I have found the “Warthog” brand to be simple and efficient. It stays in the kitchen so that my wife can put an edge on a dull blade when I am away. Knives for travel are sharpened before and after a trip. It has 3 angles which allow it to cover any blade style. The diamond honers and the easy way of using the sharpener put it on my list. One can not go wrong and spoil a blade.

Then I move on to something that my Mom gave me when she was ill. A Victorinox knife. She always had it with her and it was designed with a car in mind for light repairs. This is borne out by the logo of a car set in the scales. And it did the job when we broke down in Dullstroom and I had to do an electrical repair. A well-built piece that covers many functions down to the tweezer and toothpick built into the scales.

Reading is a difficult one as most folks have personal genres. I read a lot of crime and thrillers yet my wife does not. A middle-ground position could be a birding or wildlife book but most of us have so many. I recently had to donate a handful to the charity shop at the local Church simply to free up space. However, a subscription to a magazine makes sense. You get diverse content, suits everyone and you can keep the magazines and re-read them over time.

In this regard, I would favour National Geographic for its excellent content and photography. Alternatively, you can opt for a local publication and support South African journalism.

I will avoid torches as we have so many dotted around the house and have previously discussed them. Yet keychain carry is something to think about. That small tool you can carry with your keys is always with you. In this regard, I favour a Leatherman Micra. It has spring-action scissors and comes with a split ring to allow you to add it to your key ring. It’s a small tool but extremely useful. The scissors are strong, I would not abuse them with heavy materials like cardboard or thick plastic. The Micra features the following tools;

  • Scissors
  • Blade
  • Ruler
  • Flat and star screwdriver
  • Nail file/cleaner
  • Tweezers
  • Medium screwdriver
  • Small screwdriver (great for spectacles)

The last gift that I can think of would be a good pen and a journal. I tend to favour the Lamy pens as they are good value for money and work well. Refills are readily available for both my fountain pen and rollerball. To this, I would add a quality journal. Nothing beats putting pen to paper at the end of a day. You can write down what you did if you have been travelling or use it as a ‘gratitude journal. Daily reflection on things that you are grateful for. It helps you keep a positive focus. This is something that many health practitioners advocate and is gaining a good deal of attention. Happy shopping and remember in many cases it’s the small things that make a difference

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