Preparation for natural and man-made disasters has come to the forefront of more people’s minds since the pandemic, war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis.

But for many, lived experience through more mundane disasters becomes the inspiration for preparedness.

Lesley Krier Tither, 71, who worked as a reporter for the Journal for four years in the 1970s, first realised the importance of preparedness while living on a mountain in Carmarthenshire.

Lesley said: “I lived on top of a mountain in Wales for a number of years and that was very challenging. I can remember one winter the snow plough actually got stuck. We had to go dig that out.

“Once you’ve found yourself in the position of being stuck, not able to go anywhere, you sort of think ‘Okay, let’s get prepared should it ever happen again’.

“I think the longest period that we literally couldn’t get out at all was three weeks.”

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Lesley has continued to practice preparedness since those first experiences in Wales, carrying the habits wherever she went, including the Auvergne region of France where she now lives.

Lesley said: “I do like to be very smug with the power cuts and things and I’m the only with my solar lights going and everything else working. I’m literally not short of anything.

“We can get some very bad weather here. They’re very good- they do plough the roads quite quickly, but in a high wind, as soon as the plough has been through, the drifts will come back again, so there have been days when it’s really not been suitable to attempt to go out.”

One of her prized possessions is a Kelly kettle that can be boiled using almost any heat source.

Lesley said: “Wherever possible, my trusty Kelly kettle goes with me, because with that I can boil water with any fuel to hand including dry twigs, dead leaves, even sheep droppings if there's nothing else.

“So I can always have a brew. I can always have a hot drink.”

While Lesley does not describe herself as a “Doomsday Prepper” (those that prepare for the absolute worst such as nuclear war or an apocalyptic phenomenon), she said she feels more prepared for any eventuality than most people, with a stockpile of food that can last for weeks and a crash bag she always carries in her car in case she gets stranded in a remote area.

Lesley said: “I’m always saying to people, ‘I’m a little old lady these days—I’ve turned 70—and I live on my own, but I could still cope much better than your average nuclear family.’

“Simply because I’ve done it for such a long time, it’s second nature to me and I could survive really quite well for a reasonable amount of time.”