Armageddon. My plan for survival from a family office principal

My parents were both religious and sent me to bible classes. One lesson was truly scary. That one day on the plains of Megiddo, a hilltop in Northern Israel, is where the final battle between good and evil will occur. The outcome will determine the fate of humanity. Today, this is interpreted as some form of nuclear, climate or stock market catastrophe that will wipe us all out.  

The question is, what can families do to save themselves from this dire outcome? The theoretical answer, and hopefully never to be tested in reality, is quite a lot.

Apart from a few modern ideas, just forget everything invented in the last 100 years: they won’t work or help      

If you are Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, you can buy a remote Island in Asia – like Australia – and hope that you are far enough away from the battle to survive. For those of us not in the multi-billionaire category, we need to achieve the same result but on a tighter budget.

This is what my family have done. 

About 16 years ago, we bought a remote farmhouse in central Italy. It has fertile soil and is 500 metres above sea level, unlike Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Florida. And many old Italian homes come with their own Etruscan cave below the house. These have survived for over 2500 years. So that is a good precedent…

Apart from a few modern ideas, just forget everything invented in the last 100 years: they won’t work or help. A backup generator will last a few days and then run out of fuel. Stored gas and oil similarly will run out over a few months. You can’t survive on tins of beans and tuna for long, although these are helpful in the early days when you pop down to the supermarket, and it says, “Temporarily closed due to the end of the world”.

You need to look at how people survived long before all the modern things like electricity, gas, TV, the Internet and Mcdonald’s existed. A small to mid-size pizza oven and grill that work on wood should work, as will substantial and renewable supplies of wood.     

Many batteries, flashlights and a wind-up radio to listen for any news are also useful. Any self-generating devices are good. We have industrial quantities of solar panels. We currently sell the electricity to the grid. However, one switch and we can divert it all to the home and shelter. All this is low maintenance and renewable.

It’s worth digging a well and using a pump that doesn’t need electricity to work. They extracted water from wells for thousands of years before electric pumps were invented. A geothermal system can also be used for power supply, heating, and cooling. We have all of these in place.

The Morley’s swimming pool…useful for storing washing water in, or even drinking water

Our home is surrounded by a wire fence with CCTV. We own all the surrounding land and can grow our own fruit, vegetables and grains. We don’t currently have chickens or sheep, but they can easily be added if there is enough warning time. We keep a dog as a pet, but it also acts as a guardian. 

Our location is remote and not obvious or that easy to find. We do not keep our thermonuclear weapon next to the toaster, but we have access to a shotgun, and I trained in the army to fight and survive.

Next, we are learning about food storage from the past to keep our produce beyond its normal sell-by date. The swimming pool and underground water tanks hold thousands of gallons of water. 

Not ideal for drinking but great for washing, cooking and, with a tablet, fine to drink when needs must. We have heavy plastic to reduce contamination.

We will spend a bit of money on kit for the Etruscan cave to include a lead-lined room. Food and water will be sealed and stored for at least six months to get over the early and dangerous part of our early survivalist efforts.

Special clothing and iodine tablets will help us to survive radiation. Cooking methods, plus reverse osmosis and exchange, are ways of treating contaminated water. Hepa filtration can remove radiation from the air. It’s also important to have covers for everything. 

Crops can grow under plastic, and even contaminated water can be used to clean the plastic surfaces.

We are probably far enough away from the epicentre of any blast to survive the first few moments. If we have enough warning, we shall move into the cave and wait out the first few weeks on sealed bottles and cans. Later we can test the water and food to see if it is safe to eat and drink.  

This dystopian future and a possible end to life as we know it may not be fun, and most likely, it will limit the chances of Spurs winning the UK Premier League.  The assumption must be that paper and most tangible assets will be worthless. There may be a bit of value in physical gold in coins. 

Maybe a few bitcoins if part of the internet survives. Our food, water and store of handheld tools will be our major currency going forward if we survive and there is a world worth surviving for.

I have a powerful speed boat fully loaded if we have to flee. Plan B offers an island in the middle of the lake where we can hide. 

Whatever happens, I won’t have to renew my Spurs season ticket or watch Z-level celebrities on TV and social media.

I will miss my weekly subscription to The Economist, though.

Ian Morley is chairman of Wentworth Hall Family Office


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