Forces of nature and 10 remedies for gloom

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Weather: it is what it is. I love the shadows created by the sun and the feel of it on my face; I love the wind whipping up the sea and watching birds ride the updrafts along the cliff edge; the thrill of spotting a rainbow; the mesmerising cloud formations; the rain sweeping in and watering the garden. And I love that I can see more weather living here and get out into it on long dog walks. In this crazy, high-tech, man-made mess of a world what I love most about it is that we can’t control it.

A recent Office of National Statistics study has revealed that people in middle age are the least satisfied with their lives. Christina has written about it here and there was extensive coverage on Radio 4 recently. I fall into this age group but I’d say that right now I am the most content I’ve ever been. I am extremely fortunate in many respects and I know that many people have big, serious issues to deal with in their lives but, for what it’s worth (and I’m probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs), here are my 10 Remedies for Gloom:

1. Get a dog.
2. Walk the dog as often as you can. If you can’t get a dog, walk anyway.
3. Do some other form of exercise too (yoga, running, kick-boxing, whatever).
4. Grow plants. Properly look at these plants. Notice their beauty.
5. Read books. Lots of them.
6. If you fancy a piece of cake or a chocolate biscuit, have one (just one).
7. The same goes for a gin and tonic. Or a glass of champagne (perhaps two of those).
8. Spend time with the people you love and who make you happy.
9. Make something (a cake, jam, a jumper, a quilt, a massive sculpture in cheese, anything).
10. Do something nice for someone else.


Before Imogen whipped herself up into a fury on Sunday (if we’re naming storms we may as well have fun anthropomorphising them), David and I spent a few hours tidying up in the garden. We cut back the raspberry canes, weeded the beds by the greenhouse and mulched them with compost. There are two empty-ish beds (one recently vacated by gooseberry bushes) and we’re mulling over what to plant. I’d like one for flowers to cut and bring indoors and I think we’ll plant more herbs, salads and beans but it’s still in the planning. Whatever we manage to do in the garden at this time of year is a bonus and it lulls me into thinking we’re on top of things before the rush to keep up when all the plants are growing like mad.

In other news… You may recall that I had some rather lofty intentions at the start of the year. Um… Well… I’ve not done much (apart from in the garden). I’ve managed a basic chain link crochet thingy, I’ve thought about decorating schemes for the front room and moved the furniture that’s waiting to be painted, but I’ve decided to scrap the idea of getting a new job for now. I periodically decide to get a ‘proper job’, rejoin the ranks of the permanently employed and enjoy a little security but these bouts tend to be short-lived. I applied for a couple of local jobs in January, nothing to do with anything I’ve ever done before, but didn’t get anywhere. Oh well. Never mind. I do love my independence, long walks and being able to wander out into the garden during the day, so I’ll hang in there with the freelancing. Phew.

Right. I’ve got a poorly teenager at home, so I’m off to check he’s ok. We’ve had a few fallings-out recently but his teenage force is temporarily crushed by a stinking cold. He’s a poppet when he’s not well.

Hope you’re having a good week.

30 thoughts on “Forces of nature and 10 remedies for gloom

  1. I agree, getting a dog is really good for the soul. I can’t go for long walks most of the week but when I do, it is fabulous. I am not surprised our twice weekly dog walker has this job! Teenagers are so unpredictable. We have lot of falling outs here but even worse, we have to deal with teenager fighting with pre-teen hormonal daughter…. Hope yours feels better soon. Thanks for the mention 🙂 Cx


    1. Ah, yes, we have that joy too (my daughter will be 12 next month). The rest of us sit back and watch while they ding-dong across the dinner table. It’s a veritable melting pot of hormones in our house 🙂 x


  2. I too fall into this age group! I too enjoy my life and try to also look for good things in life, there are certain aspects that have got me down! I have taken courage in my hands to change these things and I will definitely be doing all those items on your list and having fun! Sarah x


  3. Great remedies for gloom, but in fact great things to do anyway!! I am middle aged and I don’t think it is better or worse than any other time in my life I have had so far, perhaps I have had a hard life, or perhaps it just isn’t really that bad! xx


    1. It’s taken me years to realise that you have to take matters into your own hands and make the best of whatever situation you’re in. Wish I’d got a dog years ago! x


  4. How neat the garden is looking, perfectly ready for the start of the season in a few weeks. I hope your teenager is better soon. I fear my tribe are about to be wiped out by a cold as well. I’m taking note about the dog, it’s a good tip! CJ xx


    1. Hope you avoid the lurgy. My other two are teetering but I’m keeping them going until Friday (half term). Lots of oranges and lemons, ginger and garlic! Dogs are fab 🙂 x


  5. I agree completely with your suggestions. I am retired now, but when I was in mid career, and had a young family, I do remember feeling that it was ”all work and no play” but the small things kept me going..


  6. Hello Sam. What a gorgeous post. I feel I may be a few years younger than you but this is wise advice, for any age! I especially like the idea of a cheese sculpture. Your landscape and garden is just so postcard-like and serene. I know I have said it before but your world looks beautiful. Hooray for appreciating the beauty and the environment around us x


  7. Lovely post Sam, and proud to say I tick every one of your list. Perhaps that’s why I’m generally quite chirpy…
    But whilst my empty nest means more time for me (and especially the garden), I do miss my lovely two. The banter has definitely gone downhill in their absence.


    1. It’ll be a while before mine all leave home as my youngest is 11. I try to remind myself that I will miss them terribly when they’re being obnoxious. Hope you get to see yours as often as possible.


  8. Mine is a grumpy bugger when he’s not well. Hope yours is on the mend soon. I loved your list of ten, Sam, and heartily agree with all of them. I am tres content these days too so that’s two of us in middle age who buck that particular trend :o) Have you considered a wildflower patch for your spare areas? (apologies if you already have one) or flowering herbs like marjoram and thyme- you’ll get stacks of insects using them. As to the job, I do get where you’re coming from with it, balance is the key I always reckon (and easier said than achieved) XX


    1. Thank you, CT. My eldest went back to school yesterday to finish his art project but is off again today. He must be ill because he’s missing a cinema trip. Good job it’s half term next week. We do have a wildflower patch at the bottom of the garden (we sowed a chalk grassland mix last May) but more flowering herbs is a great idea. Perhaps borage and marjoram to go with the thyme and chives we already have. Balance in many areas of life is good 🙂 Have a good weekend x


  9. You nailed the 10 remedies for gloom. I wouldn’t change one of them. Well …. maybe I’d change “champagne” to “wine” … but I agree on the Gin and Tonic. As far as your start of the year intentions–it’s only February. Go for another walk with the dog.


  10. I do agree with your remedies for gloom, although sadly I think we may gave missed the window for dog ownership, but today is so gloomy … Hope you have a lovely half term Sam, I miss these pauses.


    1. Thank you, Sarah. It’s never too late to get a dog – really. You could get an older rescue dog who needs a loving home… I was fairly ambivalent before we took on Cassie but now I can’t imagine life without her. (And you have a lovely big garden at your new cottage.) x


  11. that is the best list. ever.

    hope the teenager is better soon.

    and don’t despair about the job. I applied for one recently which I didn’t even get an interview for, I guess there’s someone out there with more photocopying experience than me,,,,,,,,,,,,,


    1. Job-hunting can be the most depressing and frustrating task. Plenty of cake and g&ts required 🙂 Hope you find what you’re looking for Tess. x


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