Jor Elgarf does not seem like you can imagine a prepper to watch. It is not a libertarian with flying eyes, camouflaged and armed up to the eyeballs, crawling through the woods of Montana, scraping a squirrel for breakfast and refueling for the apocalypse. She lives with her husband and three small children in a quiet district of southwest London.
Elgarf is happy to call himself a prepper, though; she is a member – and a moderator – of one of a growing number of prepper groups on social media. Hers – a group of Facebook anti-Brexit called 48% Prepper – receives between 100 and 200 requests a day to join. Everyone wants to be ready for a no-deal Brexit.
Storage is not too extreme in the case of Elgarf; it just means that the kitchen cabinets are full of pasta, sauces, rice, milk, milk powder and detergent. There are some things that normally would not get – like canned vegetables – that can go into a food bank if they are not needed. Otherwise, it's just a little bit more than usual. Elgarf calculates that they have enough to last the family for a month to six weeks.
The group does not talk about alarmism, she says. On the contrary, it is about calming people with similar ideas and promoting an ancient mentality of pantry. "Have a look in your cupboard, if you snowed for a month, could you do it? We do not expect you will not get anything … What we are saying is: you can go into a store and find no rice. ?
"In Switzerland, they tell people they have, I think, two weeks of stuff," he says. People are vulnerable there, not only because they are more likely to be snowed, but also because they have a difficult border. Elgarf's degree was in European studies. And he worked in the food industry; she knows how it works just-in-time. Chris Grayling's little truck did not reassure her. Neither the managing director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry claims that a Brexit without agreements "should be avoided at all costs".
Because it's not just about food for Elgarf and his family. One of her four-year-old twins, Nora, who sat happily in her mother's arms as we speak, has a rare brain condition called polymicrogyria. He has many prescriptions, but without two of them – Epilim and Keppra – for his epilepsy, he would have had more attacks a day. "He can not do without them," says Elgarf. Both Epilim and Keppra are imported.
If she could store these medicines, she would do it. But they are controlled and can only get one month of stocks at a time. "All right," the doctors and pharmacists told her. But when your daughter's life is at stake, "everything should be fine" is not good enough.
Many people who sign up for the Facebook group have concerns about medicines, says Elgarf. There are many diabetics and celiacs among them. What they need is a bit of reassurance. "We need to know for sure that they have an appropriate plan for anyone who depends on the medicine." He heard rumors that the most important drugs may need to be collected by the central hubs, which would be stored on the basis of lists provided by general practitioners. It's clearly something he thought about.
Elgarf is also clear on why he is talking to me. "So come in April and there is no Epilim in the country, I will say:" Dov & # 39; is that Guardian? & # 39; And you guys will be interested because this little baby you saw in January now he has no medicine. " Nora fell asleep on her mother.
And so to another unlikely prepper and a member of the same group, in Cardiff. "I do not identify myself as a figurehead, but I'm getting ready," says Helena, who does not want her surname to be published. "I always thought the preppers were a little crazy and I'm quite surprised to find myself in this position."
Helena, who has a degree in politics and works for a charity, does not come across a madness. None of the people I talk to. Informed: tick. Cautious: tick. Organized: tick. Very organized, in the case of Helena: has – and shares with me – a spreadsheet, color coded based on what is completely purchased (eg canned tomatoes and toilet paper, along with a note that the average person uses 110 rolls per year), partly -purchased (eg cereals), waiting pending (coconut powder), or pending testing (dried falafel mixture). Falafel! I go straight to Helena's. She also has alcohol and biscuits. Brexit Festival in Cardiff on Friday 29 March, everyone. And she has makeup! We'll have a nice look when the good ship Britannia will go down.
Helena is not just preparing herself. He's doing it for his dog, Charlie. And while she has about three months of supplies for herself, she's looking more like a year for the dog, since she does not see that pet food will be a priority. "I do not trust the government to take care of me, I certainly do not trust you to take care of my dog," he says. In addition to dog food, there are treats and toys on the spreadsheet. Charlie will enjoy a hard Brexit.
Helena sees it as an insurance policy. "Unless there are huge purchases of panic, I do not think there will be anything on Asda's shelves," he says. "But I think there are good chances that the choice is limited."
Helena's dad is on agreement. He thinks he should do the same, but he has not understood it yet. His mother – who is "almost passionate about Brexit as Nigel Farage" – accused her of ingenuity, ignorance and widespread fear. "I do not think it's alarming to protect your family, and because people do it first, it means that when we get to March 29, there will be even more left for people who have not prepared, and supply chains have had the possibility to recover. "
She hopes she is exaggerated. "I definitely do not want to be tried, I would be very happy if, in a year, I'll sit here and think," Damn, I still have canned potatoes on the shelf. "I hope my mother is right and that Brexit is a fantastic success. the land of milk and honey. "
Contrary to the land of milk powder and … "gold syrup", he says. In fact, there are honey and gold syrup on the spreadsheet.
In Cambridge, Diane says she's also stocking up, even if she does not want to go into too much detail. "I'm a little cautious about being presented as an idiot who has a closet full of stuff," he says. She's fine to use her last name, though: she's Diane Coyle, OBE, FACSS, the economist, professor of public policy Bennett at the University of Cambridge, former Treasury counselor, vice-president of the BBC Trust, member of the competition Commission, winner of the Indigo award … in short, really not an idiot.
"The point on supply chains," he explains, "is that the things you buy at the grocery store today were on the road yesterday evening, supermarkets do not have warehouses full of stuff, if we do not have an agreement and the delays rise to 12 hours – even if I see that there is a new relationship that says it will be so much more – then things will stop being put on the shelves, they will run out, and it's not just the things we buy from the EU, and they're not only fresh products – they are a lot of things ".
Coyle knows he can not get away without a cup of tea and does not want to finish the sachets or coffee because he never got it before he left without a contract. "These are things that matter to me, which we import, and it's a bit of insurance."
He did the same with cash before the financial crisis. Loan rates were going out of scale; "The message was that the banks do not trust each other with their money from one day to the next, so why should I trust them with the money overnight?" He took some money and hid it for every eventuality; in the end he did not need it, but later it turned out that the ATMs were close to ceasing to work.
Do you really expect empty shelves this time? "I do not know – it's completely uncertain, there are serious people who say that the chances of an exit without a contract are significant, and even if it's only 10%, and 90% we'll have a deal, because you should not have some extra insurance? It makes perfect sense. "
Coyle fears that many people do not understand supply chains and modern economics. "And, of course, it's not just the things we buy in supermarkets: they're all the things that companies use to create things, all those imported components they use, it's a just-in-time economy. of many efficiency gains and productivity improvements since the 1980s, and it means that people do not keep stock anymore, so you're very vulnerable to delays in imports entering the country. "
Surely the government understands this? "Well, I'm sure officials appreciate it, and I'm sure some ministers appreciate it, but I do not think everyone does it, at least not from what they're saying in public."
In North Cornwall, Nevine Mann believes we will leave the EU without an agreement, and this is what she is preparing for. "We expect it to become rather horrible for at least a couple of months, we hope it will stabilize and become less horrible over time," says the former midwife. "In the long run, we expect that what is available is more expensive and different."
She and her family (five in total) are ready like anyone else. "We did it early and slowly, so it does not have a significant impact on what's available to others." "We're pretty much finished." I have a very short list of items I want to add. "
They have provisions that last from four to six months, stored under the stairs, in the mezzanine and in the garage. Food, for them and for the cat ("The cat is disgusting enough to die of hunger if it does not get what it wants"), and paracetamol and ibuprofen for children and adults. And vitamin tablets in case there is a lack of vegetables.
And Mann tried to accumulate a prescription antihistamine that his younger son takes for his grass pollen allergy. "I've always had my prescriptions once every two months rather than monthly, so what I'm doing is just ordering them in advance and gradually building an offer."
So far, they only have a value of a few weeks. It is less troubling than Epilim and Keppra of Nora, perhaps, but as regards however: without it, it can not go out between March and October.
For the Manns, it is not just about storing food and a little bit of medicine. They are probably the best preparations of the people I talk to. They were planning to put the solar panels on the roof anyway, but with the threat of disagreement they did it before, and they are trying to create a system that stores energy on a large battery. They have a 1,100-liter water collection tank in the garden. And they hope they do not need those vitamin tablets because they will have their new vegetables. They are not experts ("In fact, I have a reputation for killing everything," says Mann), but they have gardens in the garden, and they try, trying to grow wintering varieties from seed.
The results are mixed up to now. Snails and snails have had most of the purple broccoli, winter lettuce and chard, but the mann have been more successful with broad beans, chopped shallots, shallots and garlic. I'm thinking that garlic can go with snails, with a crazy side … but maybe that's the one ahead.
Mann and his family also have mature fruit trees and bushes and are trying to learn what to do with them. They are picking up the brains of friends with greener fingers, they have bought a couple of idiot guides, they hope they can have a little extra. "We are planning, in fact, to create some small Brexit boxes for friends and relatives, which we know are not able to get ready, so they have at least something," says Mann.
Brexit boxes! Is not she Lovely? Who says it's hate, division and polarization? And this could be the beginning of what might one day be known as the Brexit spirit?
Finally, and briefly, to Dollis Hill, a quiet suburb of the north-west area of London. Vicky, a nosy teacher, takes from the printer a draft of her boyfriend's article about Brexit's storage. It's all so damn stupid, he says, and he means that he has come to this: a wartime mindset in what should be peacetime, not that people are accumulating. "I'm going to do a little", announces. "But where will we put it? And we're definitely making the falafel mix dry."