Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Great Outdoors

Other Simple Pleasures, ones that can be enjoyed out of doors might include these, listed by the authors in this chapter.  I've grouped them:

We currently do
Running in the rain
Appreciating architecture (remember to look up!)
Foraging for mushrooms blackberries (I'm so glad Google added that strike over button)
Horticulture (food)
Gardening (flowers)

I would consider:

I've nothing against these in principle, but am unlikely to take up:
Playing tennis
Painting the landscape
Wood working

Let me say first of all that "The Great Outdoors" is only great if you are dressed properly.  I understand that the Scots have a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.  My running experience suggests they are correct, up to the point of ice (I'm not planning to take up cross country skiing, but I suppose it could be done) and natural disasters.  

Secondly, though I quite enjoy a stroll around the pretty area in which we live and I do get cabin-fever if I don't go out of doors for a couple of days, I'm much more of a homebody than an outdoors person.  I think I would do more outside if we lived in a nicer climate, in fact when we are away we enjoy eating outdoors at every opportunity, so I would add that to my list of simple pleasures.

Bill is more of a 'walker' than I, using the British definition of the term.  In American, 'walking' would probably be more 'hiking'.  One of Bill's plans for retirement is definitely to get back to the Ramblers

You'll notice I crossed out mushrooms; in no way would I attempt this!  Blackberry picking is much safer and an excellent way to appreciate the outdoors.  It is absorbing and captures one completely in the present, looking out for good berries.  It's also good exercise, climbing and stretching, not to mention one gets to take home free food.

Running along the riverside either in Newcastle or at the coast, one always finds fishermen (men and boys).  I stopped and asked one once if he ever caught anything, given it was near my house.  He said loads of stuff, and apparently that close to the sea, you don't need a license, only for further inland.  Then he proceeded to name a bunch of sea creatures I'd never recognise.  I wonder if I would ever have the nerve to pull something so foreign out of the water and touch it; only one way to find out, I guess.  I'll let you know if I ever have that experience, believe me!

I have done litter-picking in the past, but not here in Britain.  Litter is a real problem, and it is all too common to see people toss their empty cigarette or crisp package, their bus ticket, grocery receipt; let's not even mention cigarette butts.  From what I've observed, I'd say it's more often a rebellious than careless act and not limited by age group.  Some people will tell you they litter deliberately so that the council has to employ street cleaners (I think that's a hand signal to Margaret Thatcher, that).  

There are various groups like 'Friends of the Park' who schedule litter-picking events and the Clean Tyne Project gathers people for Riverbank Raids, which I'm told are good fun.  The author of this piece just started this as her own defiant hobby and her son started giving her litter-picking up devices for Christmas.  Britain does love its eccentrics, you know, but hey, I say 'well done' to her.  I completely understand why this would be quite a satisfying way to spend an hour or two.

I wish I could say I was an avid gardener; I absolutely have to make myself do anything in that direction.  I started to say I never regret it when I do get out there, but that is only partly true;  I do sometimes rue the sore muscles, ones I obviously only ever use when gardening.  Much as I love seeing flowers and having food to pick, gardening is just not my nature.  Perhaps I need to work on my clothing.  Or do more yoga.

What simple pleasures do you find in the Great Outdoors?

1 comment:

Jo said...

I like walking, in the neighborhood, around an RV park, or sight seeing. Like gardening, used to do vegetables until my father-in-law started sending home his excess. Had to quit at home to keep up with his extra! I just like being outside, even if it is just to sit and read.