Have you any as-yet-unfulfilled childhood dreams? Perhaps it’s the recent popularity of books urging us towards ‘Fifty things to do / places to go before you die’ that’s got me thinking. Or maybe it’s the comment I heard yesterday from positive psychologist Professor Neil Frude: ‘Life is a short-break holiday from being dead!’ Either way I guess it’s time to put my skates on and get on with a few of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve always promised myself. But first let’s see which ones I can tick off already . . .
As a child I was fascinated by the wonders of the night sky and loved to read books about astronomy – I was a geek! My dear old dad indulged this passion and although he wasn’t able to overrule my mother’s bedtime curfew and let me stay up to see legendary astronomer Patrick Moore on The Sky at Night, he did occasionally secretly wake me from a nice warm bed to gaze sleepily up at the frost-sharpened January skies and pick out the jewels in Orion’s belt. Continue reading
One of the best remedies for a low mood or a touch of the blues has got to be to get outside, get moving and breathe some fresh air – it’s hard to stay grumpy in the great outdoors. There’s something about escaping into nature that helps get things into perspective and brings mind and body into harmony, while simply noticing the sights, sounds and smells around you can be very uplifting.
I guess it’s easy for me to say as I live in England’s most scenic county (no arguing at the back). I’m never far from a breath-taking view of our fells, lakes or forests, which have a different aspect each time depending on the weather and the season. This weekend saw our annual pilgrimage to a secret wood where the bluebells bloom in profusion at this time of year, scenting the air with a delicious hyacinth perfume. We got the camera out and retraced the same paths we’ve taken over the years, alone or with friends, with babies in backpacks and slow-paced toddlers, or growing boys running on ahead. Each one a treasured snapshot of shared and joyful times. Continue reading
I once knew a man who said he wished they’d hurry up and invent a spaceman-style nutrition pill which he could swallow three times a day in place of meals – he reckoned the whole business of shopping, cooking and eating was just a tiresome bother that a more advanced society would do away with. Needless to say I thought he was already on another planet. To me food is a daily pleasure, and usually at the heart of the most relaxed and enjoyable times spent with family and friends.
I do realise not everyone shares my enthusiasm – I remember once being invited to lunch at the home of a new friend. On the way I indulged in happy little fantasies of what she might have prepared – perhaps some delicious home-made soup . . . or a delicate herb-flecked omelette . . . or simply a platter of well-chosen treats from the deli, with a crusty artisan loaf . . . I came sharply down to earth ten minutes later, when I was given a sliced white and processed cheese sandwich with a slightly stale packet of crisps. Too late I realised that food just isn’t as important to some people as it is to me. Continue reading