Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dealing with stress while watching autumn's setting sun

Autumn treasure indeed
It's supposed to snow later on this week but this weekend, the weather could not have been more perfect, in an eerie sort of way. In stressful times we all need to find our oasis and for me it's the allotment.
I was late down to the site as I had to remove a very large camellia shrub that had died from my garden, I suspect from drought. It could also have been a fungus as last year's winter flowering was not special but either way the shrub had to come out which meant I arrived at the allotment in the afternoon sun. And what sun it was, the heat was extraordinary, so everyone was sunbathing including our kingfisher on the brook and the odd, lazy fox.

The sun does wonderful things for the soul, it made me wonder what people who don't have allotments do with their anxieties. In fact, like blogger and tweeter Haypsych, Hayley Lewis, I am worried about people's stress levels, this piece 'Tick-tock, tick-tock: The stress level and well being time bomb" posted today reflects the growing trend of increased workloads for those still at the coal face and struggling under the load.

I have been struggling to recover from a nasty chest infection, working all hours and - aside from relentless direct messages on Twitter about a so-called 'bad blog' about me which I assume is spam, so never open - last week was a crazy week. All of which melts away as I once again wonder at the bounty of my crops. Having said that water shortage and pests are becoming a real problem, leading to my brassicas looking limp and becoming besieged by Croila, which are cabbage white caterpillars that, like the rest of us, are having one hell of a late summer. While the caterpillars are having a good munch, they have yet to affect the yield but I will have to keep an eye on them. I could spray but if a frost comes, that should do the trick.

My raspberries and blackberries are going on and on and even my strawberries are trying for a late second fruiting, which is really weird. I am trying not to worry about what all this means and like my kingfisher friend, I am loving the late harvests, stocking up for winter and enjoying such sights as my allotment neighbour Boos' Delphiniums, which have been nothing short of spectacular this year.

It might be stressful within the world of social enterprise but I'm match fit, with an October pavlova loaded with homegrown soft fruit. You simply can't beat it.


  1. Thanks for the mention, Allison. I still can't believe the amount of people who don't get how beneficial nature can be for lowering stress levels (in spite of countless research pieces extolling the virtues of getting outside even for just 10 minutes!) I'd like to see more organisations think about this, particularly those businesses in urban/built up environments. How can they create that oasis of calm in the hubub, noise and clag? When I worked at the BBC, in White City,a lovely little garden was created behind the new Media Centre. A fantastically peaceful and calming spot literally a stones throw away from Wood Lane and the flyover. Althoug, if I'm wishing for stuff, it'd be more time away from work so that I can enjoy some of that lovely pavlova!

  2. Thanks for that Hayley, as ever good sense. I agree, I think happiness is directly related to how much time we spend outside. In my travels around London I always try to stop and enjoy London's many oasis of green space. I am also a fan of meeting outside, as I did yesterday, when Steve Moore from the Big Society Network and I hooked up in the square of Somerset House. It was a joy watching teenagers running through the fountains and although breezy the sun was a real treat. it was good to hear what the Network are up to including working on the stunning social enterprise hub at Somerset House, very exciting.

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