Tag Archives: green gym

Friday. Guess where I am?

OK, so I’m actually writing it on Sunday, but cast your mind back – where have I been on the last dozen Fridays?

Yes, in the Mencap garden again, drinking tea. It was nice and warm in the sun, though chilly in the shade.

There were Great Tits on the newly erected feeder, though not after I raised the camera. Same goes for the Robins singing in the trees, the Magpies perching in high places. A flock of about 60 birds kept flying  round the main building – Julia has a theory they are after the warmth.

I had a typo in there for a moment – Magpires. They are post-apocalyptic blood-sucking crows.

So, in the garden, drinking tea, trying to photograph birds and spelling badly. It’s not how I imagined my life developing, but there are worse places to be.

Julia has given me instructions and I am now gathering my equipment as next week we will be assembling the example nest box and marking them up for the group to build.

Saturday started earlier than usual, as Julia was filling in for someone. I then went to visit a jeweller and bought ingredients for the evening meal. These are two different activities, and an example of sloppy writing.  I visited the jeweller and then went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for our evening meal.

It will be Julia’s birthday soon and I need to find a present. So far I’m not having much success.

In the afternoon I went to visit my Dad with Number One son. We did a jigsaw, played Beetle and lost to my sister at Snakes and Ladders.

Does Number One son realise this will be his destiny, I wonder?

On Friday (moving back in time again) I watched Dr Phil on Countdown. He was talking about measures we should take to ensure continuing good health. The mnemonic to remember is clangers.  This year has shown I can easily slip into bad habits so I’m going to ensure that I don’t do the same again. If it means I have to be nice to people I suppose it’s a  sacrifice worth making.

It’s very much along the lines of Green Care, Green Gym, Blue Sky Hospital or whatever else you want to call it. You get out, meet people, exercise, learn and end up better for it.

Back at home (Saturday evening) we reheated the casserole and ate it with samphire.  This was, as they warn, salty, but also crispy and fresh. It reminded me of a time when I was young and broke. I picked samphire when camping, boiled it and ate an entire mess tin of it to save money.  Today that would be a disaster, but my youthful digestion had no problem.

It was a bit too salty for my taste at the time and it has taken me 40 years to eat it again. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it this time. round.

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.