It has been eye opening in another sense this week. There is a group on facebook for 30 days wild, full of lovely, nature loving people. Some completely new to getting outdoors and enjoying the tips and ideas, some old hats pretty expert at sharing photos and identifying plants and wildlife. There are all sorts of photos, from high quality, artistic macro shots through to a quick, blurry snap on a smart phone. There is all sorts on there. BUT there is no judgement, no nastiness, no referendum chat. Just friendly people from all over the place sharing a common goal. This week I got overwhelmed, with stress and worry of a coming up hospital appointment, with plans being cancelled and falling through and by Saturday afternoon I was in a bit of a rut. I browsed through the group and saw some amazing photos of a ladybird emerging from a pupa, and some gorgeous photos of a wildlife garden inspired birthday cake. I posted to express that I was feeling low and that all the photos had helped to motivate me even though I hadnt got outside and had a massive response from group members who didnt know me at all but who were quick to reassure me and send virtual hugs and support. It was just what I needed and after a day of feeling pants I was able to get out and enjoy myself again.
What a lovely bunch of people. Each of them recommended getting outdoors and making time for nature, get out, get grounded and take time to breathe. I know that I have found before that if we are struggling at home, feeling tense, feeling stressed or agitated or just not able to concentrate, if we as a family are snapping at each other, getting wound up and arguing, then a trip out to the woods always helps us chill out, relax and unwind. We always end up smiling and come home feeling refreshed and able to conquer what ever it was that was holding us back. So maybe thats it, thats the secret. Being outside, part of nature helps you to see that bigger picture, to make you an all round nicer and better person than if you were sat in your own bubble surrounded by material items all the time? I had a day staying in and felt pretty low and rubbish by the evening. What would have become of me if I hadnt been motivated to work through it and get outside? Would I have sunk deeper and lower? I think perhaps I would have done.
So what have we been getting up to this week, week 3 in our 30 day challenge, days 16 – 21?
Day 16: We stayed in through the morning as we had a meeting, we caught up on some missed episodes of spring watch and checked on the ladybird larvae in the garden, we are hoping that we get lucky enough to find a pupa to be able to watch it hatch but so far we havent been able to spot one, we will continue to check this though. We went to visit a friend in the afternoon, we had a very strange experience where we got out of the car and it was raining, we could feel the rain on our skin, yet the sky was blue with no clouds overhead! A had a friend come round and they worked together to cook the family a roast dinner so that I could have an evening off.
Day 17: We explored nannys garden again, It changes each time we visit, a new flower will bloom or she will be re potting something. This time all of her roses were in full bloom and smelling amazing. I took some photographs of them. Small helped rescue and rehome some worms from a pot that she had emptied, he was fascinated by their wriggly forms and how they seemed to stretch and shrink to move around.
Day 18: Was my moment of darkness. I got up, I went to work. We had plans for the afternoon. A man was meant to coming round to take a look at our gardne and give us a quote for something we are planning, he didnt turn up. Half an hour after he was meant to arrive we found out he had got the address so wrong he had gone to an entirelly different town over half an hour away. So apparently they will phone to reschedule. Being tired and aching after work, this knocked my flow somewhat. We had planned to go out to a great outdoors activity day, I knew we would be late but it was finishing at 4 and by 2pm no one was ready to go, I was hungry as hadnt had lunch after work, small had fallen asleep on me and my dad was sat drinking tea. It seemed that no one had any motivation, my husband tried to jolly us along but at that stage words were futile and I wasnt going anywhere. He ended up cooking dinner to stop me getting hangry. In a bid to be at least a bit more “wild”conscious by bedtime, I signed up as a distributor with Wikaniko (We Can Eco) a company that sells environmentally friendly products ranging from laundry detergent to deodorant, from shampoo and washing up liquid to plastic free sanitary towels.
Day 19 :We took a drive up the Birmingham to the NEC for the gardeners world and good food live shows. It was a fab day! The bonus of having a panoramic roof on your car is that you can watch the birds and on route we spotted a couple of common buzzards hovering overhead. We looked at all the flowers and plants and garden displays. Saw some inspiring uses for old wheelbarrows and novel ideas for giving nature a home and growing your own veg in whatever space you have. We saw some donkeys, chickens and bees and bought a butterfly kit from insectlore so that we can observe the lifecycle from caterpillars to butterflies and then release them. . I left there with a few new household items and a ton of inspiration. On the bus back to the car parks we saw a family of Canada geese, the goslings were exploring the grass verge and it appeared very obvious that the parents were standing guard when people walked past.
Day 20: We had an early appointment at a London hospital which meant getting up ridiculously early, catching a very busy train and then a 20 minute walk in the pouring rain. But we did it and we got there only 5 minutes late. The appointment and the procedure went ahead, it was pretty stressful and took nearly an hour but all was well and they got the images that they needed to see. We were able to breathe a big sigh of relief and have some lunch in the hospital cafe before leaving. We were feeling more positive after the appointment, and after eating, so we took a walk despite the rain, to visit the London aquarium. We walked across waterloo bridge and in the rain, mist and smog the tall buildings looked quite frightening, only parts of buildings emerging through the clouds. The wind and rain whipped at us, trying to snatch the umbrella, but small was snuggled into my back with his hat on and my coat was over the pair of us so he was not disturbed at all and had a lovely close snooze. Its good to sometimes go up against the elements, to remind us how small we are in the world, how powerful nature is. All to often we are put off if the weather is less than perfect.
We got to the aquarium and small woke up to see all the fishes, sharks, sea horses and green sea turtles. Oh, and they have penguins there now as well which he thoroughly enjoyed watching how fast they swim and how they dive out of the water!
The older two children were not totally unwild themselves. Left to their own devices for the day with support from grandparents some may be concerned that they wouldnt move from in front of screens all day. Well they used their pocket money to go ice skating, then bought themselves some lunch with the money I had left them and walked down to the sports centre and used their membership cards to go swimming. They stayed active, stayed out of trouble and had a lovely day.
Day 21: The older children had a kayaking lesson. While they were on the lake small and I went and looked at the ducks, swans and geese. The Canada goslings are growing their adult feathers but havent lost all their baby feathers yet, as a result they resemble miniature, fluffy, canada geese which look quite cute and rather funny. At the end of their lesson all the children were out of their kayaks and splashing about laughing in the lake, and once they had got all the kayaks to shore and put them away they were given the opportunity to run off the jetty and jump into the lake. You cant get much more wild than that!
Today we have one of the Big Home Ed Picnics, these are events happening country wide as part of a positive promotion of home education. Whatever the weather. But Ill write up on that another time.