Editorial: The Sexton.
Travel: Rogue Packraft.
Technology: PLOOTA water safety device.
Stationery: Midori 10th Anniversary Collectors Notebook Set w/Shelf.
Gadgets and Gear: JHO Blanka Knife.
Books and writing: Dante's Inferno Thornwillow Maunuscript Edition.
Miscellaneous: Picklestone.

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This week's PD in part has a "survival in the wilderness" theme, however there is also a great article on pickling food the Japanese way, as well as great stationery and a great letterpress book. By the way, speaking of food, PD came across this new Whiskey. The bottle is a beautiful work of art, and PD has it on recommendation that the contents are great too.

This single malt whiskey is made from 100% Irish malted barley and is triple distilled in copper pot stills. It is aged in former Oloroso sherry casks which are made from European oak.

For the curious: Little information is available about the actual distillery that is producing it however PD's sleuths think that it is probably made in the famous Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, which is owned by the Cuervo company, known for its tequila. On the bottle it states,

"Up in the cold grey northern reaches of County Antrim the Sextons tend to the spirits digging the fresh graves of the river Bush graveyard and planting stone crosses in the soft mowed grass.

But show up just before dawn when the dew is glistening on the headstones and the cool morning breeze rushes through – carrying the scent of the unmistakable oak from a breathing casks; follow that scent down into the crypt and you might find a locked door, faintly glowing at its edges.

Through that door, find the rows of beckoning European oak, once the sacramental casks of fine sherry, now brimming with aqua vitae."

"Sexton" is the contracted form of "sacristan", "an officer of a church whose business is to take care of the building, vessels, vestments, etc., to ring the bell, to attend on the officiating clergyman or minister, and, sometimes, to dig the graves in the churchyard" (Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, Second Edition, 1958. The dictionary resides in the Archival Halls of PD House).

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TRAVEL: Rogue Packraft

Being prepared when going into the wilderness is essential - it may save your life. Following on from previous PD tips and last week's article on Advenate's Hybrid Pro snow shovel, this week's featured gear is for the time that you are confronted with water to cross.

This one-man raft comes in a package about the size of a roll of paper towel and can be quickly inflated and deflated. It is durable, the material including sidewalls made from TPU coated nylon (210d), ripstop fabric for the seat, and Kevlar and V-tape reinforcement for the floor. The unit weighs 2.2 kg. There is also a version with a spray cover.

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TECHNOLOGY: PLOOTA water safety device

Complementing Rogue's Packraft is this water flotation device. Much more compact than a traditional life vest, this fits like a necklace around your neck and can be worn while you are in the water.

Activating it will inflate two flotation cushions, using a CO2 cylinder.

This product is currently in development.

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STATIONERY: Midori 10th Anniversary Collectors Notebook Set w/Shelf

Midori of Japan, makers of the Traveler's Notebook, also produces fine paper notebooks. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary. For this occasion Midori has produced ten different A5 notebooks, each with a different type of ruling, as well as notebook covers.



For PD, the pick of the range is the ten-notebook set with shelf.


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While getting prepared for survival do not forget to pack a knife, probably the single most useful piece of EDC to have. JHO makes some interesting stuff, including the Blanka knife.

This is a pocket knife that is a cross between a tanto knife and a cleaver, giving it a greater cutting edge. It is 13cm in length and has a blade length of 7.5cm.

It comes with a leather sheath.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Dante's Inferno Thornwillow Maunuscript Edition

Dante Alighieri's 14th-century poem "Divine Comedy" is one of the classics in Western literature. The "Divine Conedy" is broken into three books, "Inferno", "Purgatory" and "Paradise". "Inferno" tells of his journey through the nine concentric circles of torment in Hell, and most likely gave us our modern idea of Hell.


[Woodcut from Dante's Inferno by Antonio Manetti (1423–1497)]

Thornwillow Press has been featured previously in PD, with its letterpress cards and broadsides. Thornwillow also publishes limited edition letterpress books. Its latest is Dante's "Inferno", which comes in a choice of covers, from paper to leather.


What makes this edition really interesting is that the entire text is hand lettered in English and Italian, and illustrated in the margins by artist George Cochrane.


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We are all familiar with pickling, the preservation of food by putting it in either brine or vinegar. Pickled food is common here is central Europe as a means of preserving food for the winter months. Besides enabling a supply of food, particularly vegetables throughout the year, it produces great tasting food.

Pickling is not unique to Europe. It has been practiced in Asian countries as well. In Japan, pickled food is called tsukemono, and is served with rice. The Japanese use a pickling press, tsukemonoki, which applies downward pressure on the vegetables using a heavy stone. Harmoniqua's Picklestone is a compact pickling jar, available in two sizes, for use in the home.

The Picklestone website offers advice and recipes. Although the main page is in English the instruction and recipe pages are only in Japanese however PD successfully used Google Translate to convert them into English.

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Important disclaimer: Remember that crowdfunding sites are not stores. You may decide to back this project and provide funds, however there is no guarantee that any project will be delivered - the rate of failure is about 10%. PD is in no way accountable for the success or otherwise of any project and writes in this column purely for entertainment purposes, and will in no way be held liable for any failure or money lost by anyone. It is a case of "buyer beware". It is a sad reflection on the era we live in that PD must resort to this type of disclaimer.

Note: Photographs and illustrations are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.

© 2018 Prowling Dog