If the fire dies, who would you want to hang out with.

One of my favourite books is by SM Stirling, an examination of what might happen if the "fire" goes out of the world, electricity, gunpowder, in fact anything that goes bang. The REASON I like it is it makes me see the world differently. That big rain recently? Imagine if you had to try and keep up all that infrastructure without power, or cars. How long would the roads last before they would simply disappear. You only have to see the grass beside the road grow a metre while it's still too wet to mow to realize that our ordered world needs a lot to keep it that way.

Now I could fool myself and think if the impossible happened and all the power went away that I'd be better off than most. By about one week I reckon. I have a cow and bees and chooks, but my garden is pretty poor and the fruit trees are a few years off truly producing and the tanks don't have gravity feed yet.

Stirling really looked at the way people reacted though. Some started little dictatorships. One group banded together and formed a clan. It truly was just pitching in and helping each other till things got back on keel. It only worked because of the attitudes of the people made it work. A different bunch trying the same thing might have torn themselves apart in a week. This is what I love about his writing, it makes a filter for your brain that can just drop in at unexpected times.

We've just come back from a weeks holiday at my parents beach shack at Curtis Island. It's a fibro open house and has solar power, tanks and home made solar hot water. It's not for everyone. There is bugger all privacy and you have to moderate your lifestyle for the resources. For the last six years a group of our mates have been joining us on and off for a week at The Island. I do all the cooking and we go fishing and play lots of cards. There is a mountain of washing up and little jobs but things just get done. There is no TV. A fair bit of drinking. But halfway through the week it struck me, if the fire died and I had to band together with a group of people, this would be them.

Unselfish, thoughtful, funny, willing to learn and always there when a job needed doing, that's the sort of people I'd want if my life depended on it. Luckily it doesn't, so we can still just go fishing, eat, play cards and drink beer.

- Lantanaland from my iPhone

Location:In Bed

Paul Kelly writing an album for Mazzy Star

Butter Makes Me Batty