This obsession is tied up with many others. My ‘Billy Can Thing’ is merely the tip of a rather large and ever-expanding iceberg of an obsession: The Wild.
This involves Googling hand-crafted wooden tent pegs. Dreaming of my bell tent. Accumulating an irrational number of rustic blankets ‘for campfires’ and baskets ‘for foraging’.
In fact, the ‘Billy Can Thing’ is just a small part of a sort of ongoing bushcraft-wild-camping fantasy that essentially involves me spending 50 weeks of the year surfing Pinterest for inspirational images of campfires, leaves, pebbles, whittled spoons and scouting paraphernalia, ‘watching’ (hawk-like) vintage camping kettles and Swiss army rucksacks on eBay, sewing windbreaks from old linen sheets, lurking about in army surplus stores and making lists of potential ‘wild camping’ sites.
The other two weeks of the year involve dragging The Husband to a remote woodland area where I joyfully frolic about with vintage Feuerhand oil lanterns, pick berries, gather firewood, hang mugs on branches and bathe in streams, while he spends his time pumping up the lilo, complaining about the rain / frost / wind / mosquitoes, asking where the nearest Tesco is and, somewhat optimistically, waving his phone in the air in the vain hope that he picks up some faint glimmer of signal and can find out the football score / play online poker / get rescued.
Of course, a Billy Can is essential for any wilderness adventure. You can cook in it, drink from it – carry it by the handle. Yeah. And, by the way, the cup-lid doesn’t even screw on, so it’s in no way as useful as a thermos flask. Just in case you’re wondering.
If you’re not as obsessed with woodland capers as I am, you can use it as a vase for flowers at home, as an attractive kitchen caddy for your compost, or just to take your tea down to the garden shed in.
Falcon Enamelware ones are the loveliest. You can buy new versions, but I spotted an old one at an antiques fair recently and couldn’t resist. It has a wooden handle, a yellowing label and a single, prominent chip. What more could a girl want? Well, a vintage tripod to hang it on, actually, and a wooden Finnish Kuksa cup, an ancient mallet, some kind of antique cawl spoon to serve my fantasy foraged-for-and-fabulously-fresh stews, a vintage wood axe, some rustic rope, a Swiss army blanket… you get the idea.