Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Survival of the wisest

In which G.M. Norton becomes prepared for the world’s most hostile environments.


I recently bought reprints of four Air Ministry survival guides that were originally issued to British airmen in the 1950s. Published by Penguin with charming covers, you can’t really go wrong. There four titles are Arctic Survival, Sea Survival, Jungle Survival and Desert Survival (not to be confused with Dessert Survival – which come to think of it, could come in handy during particularly gluttonous periods).

I bought them from Amazon for a few pounds each (my jungle guide doesn’t seem to mention them) and thought it would be worth recommending them to my readers as a potential stocking filler this Yuletide.

The guides are dashed useful, of course. Don't believe me? Well, feast your eyes on this.

Arctic survival


  • The best faces to pull to prevent frostbite and when you can expect bits of you to 'fall off', should you fail
  • How to build a structurally sound igloo
  • How to fashion a mask to prevent snowblindness
Sea Survival


  • How to punch man-eating sharks. Which are 'cowards'.
  • The pros and cons of drinking 'fish juice'
  • When to smoke
Jungle survival 


  • What to do if 'jungle hiking becomes boring'
  • How to stay safe from poisonous reptiles and insects
  • The benefits of using a 'fire thong' 
Desert survival


  • How to find water in a dry stream course
  • How to make a hat out of sea cushions
  • What to do in the event of meeting 'hostile parties' 
I’m sure you’ll agree, all very worthwhile information. As somebody who has already survived one of the world’s most hostile environments and lived to tell the tale – in this instance, it was walking through Manchester’s Collyhurst at 4am in the morning, wearing a bow tie – I’m hoping that these guides will help should I find myself in another perilous situation.


G.M. Norton

Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'
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