Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Some thoughts about accidental stuff. And where and how to live.

I have been surprised, interested and frustrated by the BBC’s accidental broadcasting of the wrong footage of Boris Johnson placing a wreath on the cenotaph during the Remembrance Service. I had already seen stuff about his placing his wreath upside down but it was only later that I read about the BBC reporting. How does a competent and long-established broadcaster manage to “accidentally” transmit a bit of old film instead if the current day’s footage? Surely somebody must have had to look for film of Boris Johnson placing a wreath if they deemed the new material unsuitable. Or are there just clips of Boris Johnson material all over the place? One report I saw seemed to feature different coloured wreaths, red in the 2019 version and green in 2016. Would they have made a similar “accidental” broadcast about Jeremy Corbyn? I wonder! Crazy stuff!

Anyway, onto other matters.

This morning I managed to catch a lull between rainstorms to go for my run round the village, avoiding once again the soggy, muddy bridlepath. I had already had to circumvent some flooded places in the back lanes of the area and decided not to risk the mud-puddles. So it goes.

One of the delights of the colder weather, if delights are possible, is a heated towel rail in the bathroom. After a run in the damp outdoors, it is a pleasure to get out of the shower ti a warmed towel. Even better is to put my dressing gown on the heated towel rail as I use the warm towel. Thus I have a warm dressing gown to get onto once dry. Small pleasures!

Which brings me to our second granddaughter who is quietly driving her family crazy. Not in any of the usual teenage rebellion ways as in most such respects she is not a problem, it’s more temperature related. Yesterday her small sister announced to me, “I don’t like Sophie any more. She opens her windows wide and makes us all cold.” We had to convince her that she really does love her big sister but in fact she has a point.

Sophie has always had an odd relationship with temperature. As a small child she would instantly start taking layers off whenever we entered a shop, usually the coat and hat we had had to fight to get her to put on in the first place before venturing out into the cold. She dislikes hot weather and even if persuaded to spend time outdoors on a sunny day does not tan but remains a very pale white. Paradoxically what she says she likes about winter is being able to snuggle up under her duvet with a good book. So she likes to be all wrapped up but at the same time opens her windows wide as she works away at college assignments in her room. And of course, this sends icy blasts through the rest of the house, much to the discomfort of everyone else! Maybe she will choose at some time in the future to live independently in an unheated house on a hilltop somewhere!

Choosing where to live is much researched thing apparently. Last week some time I came across this:

“In recent years, stressed-out urbanites have been seeking refuge in green spaces, for which the proven positive impacts on physical and mental health are often cited in arguments for more inner-city parks and accessible woodlands. The benefits of “blue space” – the sea and coastline, but also rivers, lakes, canals, waterfalls, even fountains – are less well publicised, yet the science has been consistent for at least a decade: being by water is good for body and mind.
Proximity to water – especially the sea – is associated with many positive measures of physical and mental wellbeing, from higher levels of vitamin D to better social relations. “Many of the processes are exactly the same as with green space – with some added benefits,” says Dr Mathew White, a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and an environmental psychologist with BlueHealth, a programme researching the health and wellbeing benefits of blue space across 18 (mostly European) countries.
An extensive 2013 study on happiness in natural environments – to White’s mind, “one of the best ever” – prompted 20,000 smartphone users to record their sense of wellbeing and their immediate environment at random intervals. Marine and coastal margins were found by some distance to be the happiest locations, with responses approximately six points higher than in a continuous urban environment.”

Now, I grew up within shouting distance of the sea. You couldn’t actually see the sea from our house but in about half an hour you could walk to the beach. What you could see from our house was an expanse of farm land and very flat countryside. I always used to say that I wanted to live by the sea but in fact living within minutes of a walk in the moorlands (my father-in-law always used to declare that the Saddleworth area is bot “countryside” but “moorlands”) does just as well. In fact, when Phil once suggested selling up and buying a flat in central Manchester I wholeheartedly rejected the idea. 

Funnily enough, our son has ended up in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, right one the edge of the town, where he can look out at rolling hills. This is a location he chose, he once told me, because he had grown up with hills (Saddleworth) and wanted to settle in a place with hills, having lived for a while before that in the bustle of Tooting. It sounds logical to me.

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