ARE you prepared, brothers and sisters?

Prepared, you ask, for what? For Armageddon, that's what.

As you know, the apocalypse is due to occur on December 21. Most likely, you've already got it down in your diary. I've already taken out and spent massive loans on the basis of there not being anyone left to pay back on December 22.

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So this had better turn out to be correct. The date comes from the Mayan calendar, which is largely based on lunar interpretation. And I use the word "lunar" advisedly.

Loonies who believe this sort of thing have been preparing for the end, which they hope to survive. These "preppers", as they are known, have been hoarding tins of beans and even building secret hideaways far from town and cities. They feature in a new documentary called Preppers UK: Surviving Aramageddon, on the National Geographic Channel. They've spent thousands of pounds on weapons, petrol and even condoms for when the balloon goes pop. Thank God, they won't be propagating the species.

They are, however, prepared to kill. One former soldier says: "[Would] I use lethal force to defend my family? Every day of the week and twice on Sundays." He doesn't say if he'd eat the corpses.

Women are usually more sensible than men but there is one female prepper in the UK. However, in a surprise development, she turns out to be American.

The London riots prompted her to pull up the drawbridge, though she doesn't seem to have stocked on up much, mentioning "oral hygiene things" and "a little hairbrush". Women, eh? But the men are worse. Some dress habitually in camouflage. One has bought a bow and arrow and moved to Slovakia. Well, good luck with that. I hope he kept the receipt for his bow and arrow.