Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

A walk by Loch Lomond

loch lomond

I grew up by the sea - in a coastal village in East Lothian. It wasn't a proper sea really, more a tidal river, Fife is visible just across the water, but it was the seaside and I spent a lot of my childhood paddling and ambling along the sand, beach combing, bird watching, building castles.

Even now - if I want to clear my head, I head for tidal waters, to watch the waves, calming myself in their rhythm. Most holidays are taken by the sea, it is a recuperation, an energising, a cleansing.

My phone is full of video clips of lapping waves, saved for times when I just need to even out my brain.

And yet, when we came to choose somewhere to settle, we were both drawn to the shelter of the hills, the slopes and folds of grassy pasture, the navy and purple mountains as a backdrop.

Here, by Loch Lomond, always felt like home. It was funny - when I was about 7, at school in Edinburgh, lots of my peers would head off for Bank Holiday Weekends to their house in 'The Trossachs' - the idea of a holiday house was not something I'd come across before and, in my head, the exoticism turned it into 'The Tropics' with visions of Edinburgh schoolgirls, pith helmeted, sweating through the jungle.

loch lomond

Now that we live right at the edge of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, I realise that the Trossachs has very little in common with my imagined tropical climes - not much heat, no pith helmets, no machetes.

The small hill across the track from my home is the terminal moraine of Loch Lomond - the furthest edge of the Ice Age loch, the border of the current National Park. I love that idea, that once upon a time, our garden was part of the loch.

loch lomond

So when I feel in need of water to brood by or splash through, I head to the east side of Loch Lomond - usually parking in Balmaha and walking along the loch side, past the little sandy beaches, the fields of Highland Cows, and I sit and watch the sky on the water.

loch lomond

It isn't all about water though - one of the attractions of the walk by the loch is that there are beautiful old trees on the banks - mainly alders, birch, oaks.

Over the past decade the Japanese have been researching the scientific evidence behind their practice of forest bathing - a very ritualised walk through a forest, with music, movement, meditation built into the experience.

One thing that they have found is that the phytoncides (plant oils) given off by the trees reduce stress hormones and blood pressure, so that as well as having the benefits of fresh air and exercise, people who walk near trees may have extra health benefits.

loch lomond

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Engagement, connection, community, regeneration, celebration, magical, possibility.⁠⠀
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Words matter.  Words matter so much. ⁠⠀
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Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
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The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
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I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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It is really funny how having a Pay What You Can option for membership has made me feel that I can talk about what you get in the Studio Club without feeling all 'exclusive' (I hate that word because, when you think about it, it actually means that some people are excluded and that we are fine with that).⁠⠀
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The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
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I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website - snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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(This is why I created the Plan your Dream Life workbook for myself - just so that I would have a list of things that I knew I had chosen to do when time appears - if you don't have this workbook already you can get it by signing up to my newsletter list Snapdragonlife.com.)⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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If you want to engage more with the natural world, live a more seasonal life, learn how to grow things, make things and also hear good news about inspirational people making a positive difference to the world - then this is the Club for you! ⠀
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There are now three ways of becoming a member - a Full Membership which includes physical products, a Digital Membership and a Pay What You Can Membership. You can find out more about them by clicking though my profile or at Snapdragonlife.com. ⠀
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In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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