Christmas Holidays

School finished for the Christmas holidays today. Concerts have been performed, presents given, the annual Christmas exhortation from the headmaster delivered, a mince pie consumed and with hugs and good wishes exchanged, off we went in our cars. I am going in over the holidays to sort some things out so the new term does not find me unprepared.

Meanwhile in another part of the city a young man covered in blood staggered about the street crying for help. When police found him he directed them to a house where a woman had been murdered. In a related incident another man stepped in front of a lorry on the M1. It certainly puts things into perspective.

Not that we were aware of any of this as we crawled home through the gridlock of the city caused by this incident. The long queues of traffic still very much in evidence this evening.

As there is nothing I can do about any of this becoming upset will merely weaken me whilst not helping anyone else, consequently time to move to another topic.

Just over two whole weeks of holiday what a luxury.

I made a few resolutions to keep myself from getting carried away. Meals at certain times so I don’t spend all holiday n the kitchen.

A walk every day so I get to see some trees and bushes and retain my sanity.

Beside my bed a pile of books is waiting. the anticipation of pleasure is often as great as the pleasure itself. Thus I am currently in the happy position of anticipating a full two weeks filled with reading, walks, sewing, music and good food.

We have visitors so I will clean and tidy initially and then relax.  The house is full of food and decorated for Christmas, there is plenty alcohol for my visitors ( I rarely drink).

Nevertheless a few chores await me. A visit to the vet with the elderly cat, currently on antibiotics and painkillers, a trip to collect my new winter pyjamas. Younger women may gloat over a new dress but I love a new warm pair of pyjamas to snuggle in clean sheets on the bed and a good book to read.

So I started to read Robert Macfarlane’s book Landscape about the terms used to describe our landscape. This is a fascinating read, many of the terms being archaic have fallen out of use.

I was disappointed to learn that many of the words for nature that I had taken for granted in my childhood were no longer part of the Junior Oxford English Dictionary. These are not unusual words but acorn, buttercup, almond, blackberry as a fruit, crocus etc.

This is a lesser celandine however just to remind me how much I look forward to spring

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All these words are connected with nature and have been dropped whilst blog, chatroom, cut and paste, block graph have been added. I have no problem with the additions. However I can’t help thinking┬áthat removing so many words related to nature reflects the increasing impoverishment of the lives of many children.

Are our urban areas so depleted of plants that children no longer recognise acorns and conkers or many wild flowers?

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Or is it that many children live in an urban environment they play indoors and spend many hours in front of a screen of one sort or another. Even when outside their phones go with them. Basically to summarise they live lives completed separated from the external environment ?

Since research has demonstrated that a connection to the natural world is beneficial for our mental well being will the next generation be more inclined to suffer from depression in addition to being deprived of some evocative names?

I read Nature Cure some years ago and was impressed with the account of how reconnecting with the natural environment enabled Richard Mabey to recover from severe depression. The articles below reinforce those arguments.

Here are the articles I read to research these phenomena

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/13/oxford-junior-dictionary-replacement-natural-word

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/healing-green/201212/biophilia-our-connection-the-natural-world

https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157607/

What do you think? Am I deluded or nostalgic for a past age where life was simpler? The problem with this is that I am too close to this subject to be truly impartial. I just wondered. I leave you with a picture of snowdrops as a foretaste of what is coming in the new year.

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