The Victor Frankl 5-a-Day Book Cult: Day 8

Today’s pages (p45-51) are some of the most touching in the whole book. Frankl begins by describing, almost lightheartedly, the ‘cultural hibernation’ that took place in the concentration camps. Two exceptions to the absence of interest in art and intellect were ‘almost continuous’ discussions of politics and religion:

The depth and vigour of religious belief often surprised and moved a new arrival.

This deepening of spiritual life is Frankl’s explanation of why ‘some prisoners of a less hardy make-up often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of a robust nature’ and Frankl himself experienced moments of transcendence that aided his survival. Continue reading “The Victor Frankl 5-a-Day Book Cult: Day 8”

The Victor Frankl 5-a-Day Book Cult: Day 7

Today’s 5 pages (p41-45) are largely concerned with food, notable for its paucity in concentration camps such as Auschwitz. Frankl recounts the daily menu:

[T]he daily ration consisted of very watery soup given out once daily, and the usual small bread ration. In addition to that, there was the so-called “extra allowance,” consisting of three-fourths of an ounce of margarine, or of a slice of poor quality sausage, or of a little piece of cheese, or a bit of synthetic honey, or a spoonful of watery jam, varying daily.

Continue reading “The Victor Frankl 5-a-Day Book Cult: Day 7”

Brilliant Bivvying: The Mother Lode of Wild Camping Advice

The Top Line

A bivvy bag is not much more than a waterproof sack for you to sleep inside. Despite that unpromising description, bivvying is a superb alternative to full-blown tent-based camping – especially when weight or discretion is important.

Without exaggeration, a bivvy bag could completely transform your vagabonding – as one did mine 7 years ago.

The following is the mother lode of lessons that I’ve learnt over dozens of bivvying adventures since 2011. Take all this advice with many pinches of low-sodium salt, and find your own way. Continue reading “Brilliant Bivvying: The Mother Lode of Wild Camping Advice”

The Victor Frankl Five-a-Day Book Cult: Day 6

p37-41: Frankl describes how even the most hardened concentration camp prisoner can be roused through insult to rash – and potentially suicidal – indignation.

The beating Frankl received after defending his honour as a doctor against the insults of a particularly repugnant foreman was only relieved by the favour of the Capo in his work party. And how had Frankl won the good favour of this Capo? By lending a sympathetic ear to the Capo’s tales of matrimonial strife! Continue reading “The Victor Frankl Five-a-Day Book Cult: Day 6”

All News isn’t Good News; Most News is Crappy

Today I thought I’d buy a couple of newspapers, one national and one local, and cut out the stories that I considered ‘positive news’.

What do I mean by that? Although not necessarily ‘good news’ (certainly not in the Biblical sense), for me positive news stories are reported with an eye on constructive analysis and solutions. Above all, they steer clear of threatening or fear-mongering language.

Armed with my copy of The Guardian and The Bournemouth Daily Echo, I set about on the floor with a pair of scissors. Continue reading “All News isn’t Good News; Most News is Crappy”