This Side of the Pond – Apr. 19

By Sarah Pridgeon

It’s a debate that every group of people seems to wind up having eventually: who has the best plan for survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Sure enough, voices were raised in the office and a few objects were hurled last week as we attempted to answer that pop culture conundrum.

It all boiled down to one difference: I am a city dweller by upbringing, which means I expect all the important structures such as homes and grain silos to have been completed on my behalf, some of them hundreds of years ago. Everyone else was speaking from the perspective of a rural resident, perfectly capable of constructing such necessities all by themselves.

Consequently, they seemed worryingly nonchalant about finding a secure place to hole up. This is understandable: there’s no need to concern yourself with “location, location, location” when you can fix a living space to your exact specifications and throw up a serviceable greenhouse while you’re at it.

I cannot do this, but I have had a plan in place for years. I shall simply aim myself in the direction of Windsor Castle and take refuge there for the duration.

How did I come up with this harebrained scheme? Partly because it was the only defensible structure that I could think of within walking distance of my apartment in London; and partly because it has been standing for a thousand years, so I’m confident the walls could withstand something as paltry as a mindless horde milling about in the parking lot.

It was, in fact, where the royal family took refuge from the Luftwaffe bombings in the Second World War. Previous to that, it survived a civil war and a lengthy siege during the First Barons’ War in the thirteenth century, so it’s certainly proven its worth as more than just a backdrop for fancy furniture.

It’s now a royal residence, which means the pantry would be stocked to the rafters with posh versions of the foods I enjoy. While we gorged on caviar and scallops, we could repurpose the flower gardens to coax carrots out of the ground – there’s plenty of lawn space inside the walls for a couple of goats and a chicken, too.

And if the worst should come to the worst and the walkers somehow found a way past the stone fortifications, we would have the Round Tower to keep us safe. Up on a hill in the center of the castle, it now houses part of the Royal Archives, but would be an excellent panic room if someone was trying to bite you.

As for whether the Queen would allow me to put down a sleeping bag in her house, I’m not sure she could be all that fussy about staffing once the ominous shuffling began. It’s the largest inhabited castle in the world, after all, and it takes about 500 people to keep it running. I might not be the most practical person on the planet, but I’m sure I could be of use with a feather duster, if nothing else.

On the other hand, I’ll admit that my attitude has somewhat changed since I upped sticks and joined the ranks of the rural. I can certainly see the benefit of having a few folk with construction experience on my survival team – Windsor Castle is a royal residence and, to my knowledge, there’s not a single milking shed on the grounds.

Not to mention the ongoing advantage of Wyoming’s low population. Windsor Castle may be about as secure as it gets, but scavenging trips are likely to be a hindrance.

I’m not sure how I feel any more about its proximity to London, where there would be 13 million potential zombies waiting to snack on my toes. The thought of battling them all every time I needed to find a pharmacy for a tub of painkillers is frankly exhausting.

Low population means lots of zombie-free space, much of it with excellent views. Encroaching walkers could be spotted a mile away and dealt with before they ever reach the fence.

Then there’s the fact that Britain is low on weaponry. Without a shotgun or even a decent baseball bat to hand, we’d all be manning the walls with pointy sticks.

It turns out that the CDC itself has a zombie preparedness plan, but it’s mostly to encourage the rest of us to think about our survival strategies. Stocking the cupboards and keeping plenty of water on hand was not something I ever thought about back in Britain, where hazardous weather has always been rare.

Consequently, preparedness has never been my strong suit. Let us not forget the fact that, the first time I was instructed to take shelter from an incoming tornado, I asked if there was time for me to shower before we left.

I’m still not sure whether Windsor Castle or Wyoming know-how is the better way to go, but at least I’ve dreamed up options on both sides of the ocean. You never know where you’ll be when the apocalypse hits.

And while I’m perfectly happy to admit that making a plan for a zombie invasion is both silly and pointless, knowing what to do in a disaster is not. It’s nice to know that Wyoming has got me thinking about the important things in life.