I’d like to know:

What do you find indispensible?

There are the esoterics – faith, love, joy. But beyond that, what is necessary to make your life a good one?

There are a few things that always go with me: Prayer book and Bible. Boar-bristle hairbrush. Swiss Army knife, or, as I call it, the Swiss Peace-keeper’s knife.

When we are settled somewhere, there a few other things: Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal; my sewing machine; clotheslines and washtubs; a few pieces of kitchen ware that make life easier, and perhaps, possible. Teapot, Gevalia ceramic coffee pot, ancient chef’s knives and a really good cutting block. A cast-iron skillet, an enamelled French saucepan. Wooden utensils, preferably olive wood.

Boots, prayer kapps, bonnet. For Nicholas, an old black hat that is beginning to look as if he inherited it from Jed Clampett. Natural fibre clothes. Boots.

At least one dog.

Each other.

my husband Nicholas

8 thoughts on “Indispensable

  1. Definitely my knitting needles, tool kit, and fiber, simple dresses, aprons, kapps, dog, The Excellent Wife, Bible, Soup pot, sour dough starter, and family:) OH, and I, too, take my boar bristle brush with me everywhere:) and lots of pins to hold my hair up.

  2. Laptop. Iphone. Siddur. Books.

    Wig, for me. Conditioner, for the kids. Curly hair doesn’t brush.

    Washer, dryer, soap products. Wet bags, kitchen cloths.

    Aprons, skirts, tops, sweaters, boots, coat. Replace skirts with pants for the older boy. Replace the whole thing with infinite little cotton sleepers for the little boy. Hats, gloves, scarf for everyone.

    Baby sling. Diapers, wipes, those big flannel flat diapers that are not great to diaper with but useful for so many other things.

    Receiving blankets. I love those things.

    Little backpacks to put everyone’s stuff in so they can carry their own pack.

    No wonder it takes me so long to get out of the house.

  3. magdalena,

    My must-haves are similar to yours:

    Bible, BCP (both in Braille) prayerbeads, screen-reader accessible computer, our cast iron wok, Le Crucierre knock-off, French style pot, my good serated vegetable knife, my battered old loaf pan, biscuit tray and cooling rack, my wooden utensils and a daggy old metal tablespoon that has served me well, my dresses, skirts headcoverings, my Munroes (the best leather walking shoes one could ever hope to own, my beautiful guide dog Aaron and all his paraphenalia (harness, lead, grooming tools and his bed) and, last but not least, my very patient, long-suffering, loving wonderful husband!!

    I would also have to say my DVD documentaries (History of Britain, David Attenborough wildlife, Cosmos, cookery etc – such wonderful narration – fabulous)

  4. I have a dream, that I think will never be realised in this life, of living in a particular way. If I could live the way I long to do, here would be my list of indispensibles:

    A hut to live in, well insulated, with a small woodstove, with a stand-pipe for water, in a field well fenced and hedged.

    In the field an orchard of six apple trees and four nut trees.

    A hen house with three hens.

    A wood store

    A spade, fork, trowel and bean poles

    I large axe for splitting logs, I small axe for kindling, and a whetstone

    A storm kettle

    A whitstable bucket to cook on.

    A toasting fork


    Enamelware to double for crockery and cookware

    A vegetable knife

    A can opener

    A big spoon, a little spoon, and a wooden spoon for stirring.

    Big glass jars (rodentproof) to store dry goods

    A chopping board

    A galvanised zinc bath for washing clothes and self

    A catering size thermos with a pump action to store hot water for use through the day

    A large, deep-sided stainless steel frying pan

    A thermos cookpot

    An enamel kettle

    A bucket for a toilet

    A bucket for general use

    A large plastic measuring jug to double as a bowl

    Sheepskin rugs for winter warmth

    2 hot water bottles

    A chest with my Plain clothes

    A small mirror, nail scissors, tweezers, safety pins, hairpins, a comb, a toothbrush, a flannel and towel

    A bookcase with my books

    Writing case with correspondence things

    Knitting, sewing and crochet tools



    A frame bed with a soft mattress and warm duvet, cotton bedding

    A fishing chair for visitors

    A solar charger for my phone and netbook

    A netbook and dongle

    A mobile phone

    A bank account

    Soap, shampoo, washing powder

    Assuming I would be free to take small herb plants, seeds, and buy food, I cannot think of anything else I would need. I would locate my field near (but not too near) a bus route so I had no need of a car.

    I would heat enough water with the enamel kettle and the storm kettle each morning to last me through the day for hot drinks and washing up.

    I would write to earn money – hence indispensible netbook and dongle!

    I would cook on the whitstable bucket – mainly stews, soups and curries in my thermos cookpot, which would allow me to have food, that normally takes long cooking, on minimal use of fuel.

    I have no need of any furniture but my bookcase, visitor’s chair and bed.

    • Holy Cow Ember you have really and truly thought this out, I am impressed. I think it sounds wonderful!!! If I couldn’t live this, my next to best would be a retreat week at a hut in a field well fenced and hedged – Thank you for sharing – I will envision this in my mind whenever I feel stressed 🙂

  5. When we travel, beyond my necessities, I need my blackberry and my notebook. I also require a good book because that is what I use for me time.

    When we are home my additional indespensibles include my Amish handmade quilt, my big crock pot, and my Keurig.

    I should probably state that my definition of necessities are clothing, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, bible and devotional list.

  6. I do not think I am yet at a stage where I could answer this question fully. If we are talking survival I have read a lot about it and practiced it to an extent in the scouts (11 years) and when otherwise out in the woods. If I have would have Ok clothes, a knife, an axe, some wire and something to make a fire with I would survive at least for a while (given I have some access to water of course). I would definitely last longer than the average person but it would not be a way I would like to live. If I had a cottage with a woodburner, some means of electricity and easy access to water I would be in a much better position. If had basic kitchen equipment, some way of keeping the food cool and a possibility to get access to seeds and plants it would be an improvement. If I had some basic furniture, a computer and cell phone and someone by my side I think I would be quite comfortable. If I had good neighbours and family and friends close by I think I would want little else but some money for the things I could not produce myself.

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