Category Archives: Green Care

TGIF

First job of the day was to wake up. I did not achieve total success in carrying out this task. My mistake had been uttering those immortal words “I’ll just have another few minutes.” I set my new phone to give me 15 more minutes and, 25 minutes after it went off, was found cuddling it affectionately to my bosom.

Julia soon put a stop to that.

We visited the Mencap garden next and I had a look at the progress made during the week. Julia is aiming to build some interest amongst group members and to tidy up a bit. It’s never going to be immaculate, and that isn’t the intention, but she is aiming to make the garden more productive and define the wildlife areas more clearly. We know from bitter experience that visitors are all to keen to complain about weeds, and that this always causes problems.

Then, after coffee and cake (the remains of our stash from Mrs Botham) it was time to go home. It also seemed a good time to take Julia’s new Facebook profile photo.  She always looks happier after cake.

I realise that cake for breakfast is probably frowned on by Big NHS Brother but what harm can a bit of cake do? The sultanas alone must be worth one of my five a day, and if they really want us to go to ten a day I’m going to struggle without cake.

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Great job, cake, wonderful husband – you just have to smile

From home, it was off to the anticoagulant clinic again. I won’t bore you will the details, but after struggling to get my blood to respond to anticoagulants they are now struggling to stop it responding. I let them flap for a bit, but as stress is a killer I decided not to worry about it.

Final job of the morning is checking out a few blogs and writing my first post of the day. That is now done, and after loading a few pictures I will be doing my first job of the afternoon, which is eating lunch. The other plans are collect prescription, shop for evening meal, visit duck pond, eat ice cream and watch Pointless.

In the evening I shall coerce Number One son into washing up, collect Number Two son from the station, cook tea, dispense unwanted fatherly advice on a variety of subjects, and complain that nobody speaks clearly these days. They will counter this final assertion by pointing to hearing aid adverts on the TV, though I may well be asleep before any come on.

 

 

New Phone, Fingers and Flowers

 

Last night Julia went on line and arranged an upgrade for me with our airtime provider. Though you do have to pay for it somewhere along the line, it seems like a free phone and is not too bad.

The problem was that they set the ball rolling by sending me a code in a text. It’s tricky receiving a text on a touch screen phone when the screen is in pieces and stabs you in the fingers when you try to use it. Even when you try to use it carefully.

The new one is bigger than the old one, which seems to be the trend. It is also more complicated. I haven’t finished setting it up yet, but I have managed to fit the screen protector and insert it into the protective case.  Yes, definitely a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

(Did you know screen protectors come with their own screen protector protectors? I didn’t.)

I have also activated the fingerprint security system. Time will tell if this was a good decision.

Call me a pessimist if you will, but all I can think of at the moment is various ways I could lose my finger, and how I would unlock my phone if that happened.

The photos are from the Mencap garden this morning. There was no group in, and Julia needed someone to hold the other end of the tape measure.

Friluftsliv

That’s right – friluftsliv. It’s not a typo and I didn’t fall asleep with my head on the keyboard.  (I have, once or twice, fallen asleep with my head on the keyboard, (in case you are wondering) but the result has never been very interesting).It is a Norwegian concept, meaning “free air life”.  It’s similar to ecotherapy, nature therapy, blue sky hospital and green gym but in Norway it’s part of everyday life, while we struggle to find time to include nature in our busy lives.

I say “busy lives” but in truth how much is “busy” and how much is just just useless clutter generated by emails and texts and Twitter?

According to a 2016 UN Report, Denmark, with hygge, is the happiest country in the world, with Norway fourth. The USA comes 13th and the UK 23rd. No disrespect to American readers but we have free health care, half the suicide rate and a quarter of the murder rate: how can we be less happy? Can a lack of wilderness make so much difference?

The ironic thing from my point of view is that we’ve just spent five years pushing the idea that getting outside is good for you and despite all the evidence that supports us, we weren’t able to get the idea across.

We know that working with soil combats depression, aggression, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, irritable bowel and fibromyalgia.

We also know that getting outside has a wide range of benefits, such as increased self-esteem, reduced anxiety and aggression, increased energy, weight loss and improved mobility.

Various researchers have shown benefits in increasing overall health, decreasing anti-social behaviour, promoting healing and slowing the progress of long-term degenerative conditions. I can’t find my list of references and I’m having trouble tracking a link for the last one, sorry about that.

The availability of outdoor space even affects the development of children – there’s even a condition attached to lack of outdoor play – Nature Deficit Disorder. Generally I’m sceptical about this sort of thing, but having seen what happens when you put a group of kids in the middle of a field I’m a convert.

Sadly, the UK is slow to learn the benefits of being outside.

 

 

Something you don’t see every day

I know from my own work that people take animals to Care Homes because the residents benefit from having animals around. We’ve even taken ducklings and chickens to visit when we’ve been to Care Homes, though the consequences can be messy, to say the least.

Seeing my father for his 88th birthday yesterday we found something we’d never considered before – a miniature Shetland pony visiting the rooms.  It’s not bad when you can reach 88 and still find something new to do.

The home has been doing well with events recently, and Dad has also been bowling and sailing, two other things he’s never done before.

As a family we’ve had a couple of bad experiences with horses over the years. Dad was cornered by one of his grandfather’s plough horses (an animal well known for nasty temper, as was the grandfather). His father was nearly killed by one of his gun horses whilst serving in the Royal Artillery during the Great War. It panicked whilst under fire and kicked him in the chest. However, I think I’ve mentioned this before so I won’t go on.

I didn’t have my camera with me, and I’d left my phone in the car too, so there is no photograph. However, I did manage to find their website so you can see what they do.

Sorry about the lack of photos again – I’m going to have to up my game. Here’s a cheery picture from the archive to make up for it.

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Care Bears on the Farm

Blood Pressure,Tranquility and a Simple Solution

I’m generally at peace in three places. One of these is when I’m out in nature (though a cold day at a gravel pit doesn’t work the magic as much as a spring day in the woods. Another is in church. The third one is among antiques.

We seem to be wired to respond to nature, and I suspect church builders knew more about promoting tranquility a thousand years ago than we do now. As to the third, I’m not sure why it happens, but it does. It might just be that I’m strange.

One place I find it hard to be relaxed is in hospital. That probably starts in the Workhouse. They weren’t meant to promote relaxation, which is fine when you are building to scare the poverty-stricken and the elderly. When they were turned into hospitals, as many of them were, a change of emphasis might not have been possible. I’m not saying this is the reason, but it might be.

There is also the well known “white coat effect”. I used to be able to control this by imagining sunlight streaming into a wooded clearing. These days, I can’t hold the picture in my mind and I frequently find myself having discussions with doctors about my blood pressure.

I don’t know why it should be so. I’m overweight, so as far as I’m concerned that gives the blood more room to spread out. I should have low blood pressure, not high. Unfortunately this, according to my doctor, is not how it works.

Plan B then, should surely to go back a few hundred years and do a bit of cupping and bleeding. Looking at it logically this will reduce the pressure, just like letting air out of a tyre. Simple.

I shall have a word with my doctor when I see them on Thursday.

 

Farewell to Mark

Mark is leaving us, as he is moving to the coast and it will be too far to come. It’s always a shame to lose someone, but it’s hard to be sad about it as he will be moving to a place with a nice sandy beach and an excellent chip shop. There are other things too, but with a beach and a chip shop what more do you really need?

Here are a few photos.

The cheery looking lady who keeps cropping up is Julie, who brings him across to the farm. We’ll miss her too, though she is a bit too cheerful for my tastes.

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Right, that’s enough emotion for one day. Back to work.

Worms, Cookery and Bread

For tea on Wednesday we had chicken, mushroom and bacon pie with tarragon. Yes, we’re in “tea” territory here, and even if we weren’t I spent my early years in Lancashire, so it will be “tea” wherever I go. On the side we had baked potato and sauteed kale. (It’s stir fried really but people always seem to call it sauteed). Of course, those people know how to access the French accents on their keyboard; I don’t and on my screen the word is underlined in red. We had a proper meal because we left work as early as we could and got home in time to do some proper cooking.

That’s what we’ve been missing recently, time.

We did a bit of easy cooking with the group -jam tarts using ready-made pastry and the jam we made on Tuesday from the blackberries we picked on  Monday. It’s known as Any Berry Jam. I would include a link, but I can’t find it. I’ll try later. There was very little washing up and we had very little inclination to stay longer, so we went home, where I cooked again.

Joy.

Tonight, we will be having soup and a sandwich because we tested sausage rolls for the food blog. I am putting weight on in my capacity of pie tester.

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Quick blackberry jam tarts

It was a very pleasant day, and there were several butterflies on the wing as I drove down the lane. I snapped the two Red Admirals just behind the centre and the very tatty white on the verbena is by the polytunnel.

The marigolds are having one last hurrah, whilst the Cape Gooseberries (or physalis, ground cherries or Inca berries if you prefer) are still struggling to ripen. The ones that were left from the vicious attack last year are a little behind the ones we grew from seed.

The last wheatsheaf loaf broke. This year they all seem to have deformed as they dried out and have actually broken instead of cracking as they normally do. I think it may be because I should let the dough rest more before use.

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Sad fate for Wheatsheaf Loaf

The wormery is going well, though we will probably release them after tomorrow’s session. They have produced tunnels, they have dragged bits of grass down and they have even moved a paper triangle, though not as impressively as in Darwin’s original experiment. In their defence, my worms are smaller. 😉

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Wormery, with paper triangle showing