There’s been quite a lot of storm damage in the UK lately. I know the US feels itself to be king of the high winds, but we do have hurricane force winds, and tornadoes are far from rare.

If you look at film and pictures of the damage, you’ll see something that shouldn’t surprise you. Most of the damaged buildings are modern. My first house was built in 1850, and during Michael Fish’s notorious ‘There’s not a hurricane on the way’ episode in 1987 it didn’t even lose any ridge tiles.

That’s because the Victorians had a robust approach to building. I always refer to this as the ‘We’re the Victorians and we’re here to f****** stay’ school of thought. Nowadays a lot of houses seem to be made of craft paper held together with Pritt Stick. This is also sadly true in the US. Even in Tornado Alley the new buildings that end up in sure ain’t Kansas are made of corrugated cardboard and cuckoo spit.

If you’re going to glue things together, use something substantial. One option is epoxy resin adhesives, but they smell awful, and are rather toxic till they cure. So why not use something really eco-friendly, cheap, and generally available in your house?

I refer of course to Weetabix. If that stuff dries on your dishes you need blasting powder not Fairy Liquid. The same applies to rusks if you eat them with milk and are a bit slack. Those suckers really know how to dry out and allow you to break the bowl as you attempt to lever the spoon out.

However, for the really heavy construction jobs, such as building a skyscraper, you need the big gun of the cereal adhesive world. You need the services of Avena sativa, or oats. If you make porage and forget to wash up immediately, you’re going to have to throw away the pan and buy some new crockery and spoons. You could easily use porage to stick reinforced concrete slabs together, and when the hurricane hits you can sit it out in the comfort of your living room, and avoid the squalor of your storm cellar.

For the smaller jobs around the house, and if you’re out of cereals, Marmite is a reasonable standby. You could certainly assemble a model aircraft with that stuff, but be cautious when you put it in the airing cupboard to dry, or you’ll need some new shelf slats. Cooked lentils are good too, but an awkward consistency, so are best kept for tasks where aesthetics are unimportant, such as rustic tiling in the kitchen.

But the best all-rounder is ispaghula husk. In the UK this is Fybogel, and in the US it’s Metamucil. There’s no shifting that stuff when it’s dried out. Failing ispaghula, scrambled egg is a safe bet, but make damned sure it only gets on what you want stuck. It’s been known to adhere to Teflon.

PS I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Richard Thake for the rambling pub conversation that was the original stimulus for my thoughts here. Cheers Rich. Mine’s a Stella.

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