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Potting and plotting!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 25 Oct 2019, 15:19

Another day, another interview or 2, and another 'we regret to inform you'.  Not that I really mind, I'm in no hurry back to the daily drudge and I'm enjoying my time out especially now that I have achieved, or rather acquired, something that I have wanted for some time now, an allotment!  I got it on Monday and had a great day out in the sunshine, I met so many people I know and hadn't seen for years but unfortunately, the weather has turned again and now it's back to the wind and rain. 

I was surprised how fit I was, it's a bit overgrown so I got stuck in clearing beds on Monday, I was there for a several hours and thought I would be wrecked on Tuesday but I was fine, a few aches in some muscles but that was it.  I was back over today as the persistent rain has given way to more showers but the ground is still too wet to do much and it gives rain for tomorrow again so that's another write-off.  But I'm crocheting a blanket at the moment and doing an oil painting, both presents for friends so that'll keep me occupied on wet days, in between job-hunting and interviews, of course!

Had the dog out for a walk up around the river on Sunday, it's amazing how everything has bloomed within the space of a week and fishing season is open again.  There are a few pools of water is some of the fields and they are full of tadpoles so the rain is needed as some of them were quite shallow and could dry out before they are fully grown.  I'm going to take a jam jar up this week and collect some.  I have a water trough in my back yard and might put a few in there, thought it would be interesting to show the grand-daughter how frogs grow, takes me right back to childhood too!

I am sharing the allotment with my nephew, I was visiting him and he was telling me he has started growing his own veg and showed me his trays of seedlings so as the conversation developed I suggested we get an allotment as it was something I always wanted but thought it would be too much to take on myself.  We initially agreed to take on a half plot but we're going to go for a full plot now as we want to get some chickens too and the half plot would be too small. 

We're going to follow the Charles Dowding organic, no-dig, method but we have to dig first to clear the ground of weeds and no chemicals are allowed anyway in the plots.  I got his book a few years ago and have been making my own compost with a view to improving the soil in my own garden which isn't great.  Once you get the garden planted, you just keep adding compost and nutrients to the soil and weeding regularly, and that's it, not too much hard work involved.  There's a lot of talk and interest now around the link between gardening and mental health and one of our other allotments has just signed up Paul Brady to help raise awareness around how gardening can help with things like depression.

Election day tomorrow too, another round of 1690 vs 1916!  This one could be interesting, it's a fairly safe Sinn Fein seat but people are fed up with the lack of government in Stormont so they might not get the result they're expecting, and why should they, when they're getting paid for a job they're not doing?  Not that the line-up of candidates is inspiring, no new ideas, same old parties and the same old claptrap and a serious lack of vision all round.  It's quite depressing because several of the candidates are in their twenties but still churning out the same old rhetoric their predecessors did and all the old self-righteous grandstanding, it's hard to listen to - I'm between a rock and a hard place!  There are several countries around the world which include the option None of the Above on their ballot papers and there is an online petition to have it included as a viable option on ballot papers in the UK too, just follow the link below if you're interested in adding your name to it.  I just did!


Ah well, sun's out again, back to some potting and plotting!

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Ritalin/The Observer

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 17:56

While I'm on the subject of articles in today's newspaper, there was a disturbing report on the quadruple increase in prescriptions for Ritalin for children in the last ten years (P4, The Observer, also see previous posting on Madness and Jon Ronson).

One interesting point in the article mentioned a report commissioned by the RSPB, which suggested an improvement in the behaviour of children diagnosed with ADHD, when exposed to outdoor activities in nature.

I remember reading an article some time back, not sure where now, but it was about patients in mental hospitals during the war.  Apparently, they moved them outdoors to make room for the injured soldiers coming back from the war, and what they found was, that being outdoors helped to restore the mental health of a lot of the patients, and in some cases, people improved so much that they were discharged and no longer needed treatment.

It seems like common sense that being closer to nature has a beneficial effect on our mental health, after all, we are animals and part of the natural world, even if we like to think we are in some way superior to the rest of the life on the planet.  Maybe, if we maintained our link to nature more, then we might have less stress and depression among the general population.  Unfortunately, when it comes to treatment  the medical model alone prevails.

It does require more of an effort to get in touch with nature these days especially for those who live in cities.  I was lucky enough to grow up in an area and at a time, when there was a lot less technology, fewer cars, and we had fields to run about in.  That same area now is surrounded by houses and industrial estates, and you couldn't move on the street for cars.  Which is really unfortunate for the children who live there now, they don’t even know what they are missing.  Another interesting statistic I read about a few years ago in relation to children’s mental health and well being, was that in the boom years in Ireland, that mental health problems in children increased in perfect correlation to the increase in wealth.  Maybe less really is more!

I also worked as an OTC assistant in a pharmacy a few years ago, and the two biggest sellers were Soluble Solpadeine and Nurofen Plus.  Both these items walked off the shelves daily.  Both contain codeine which can be addictive, and which can only be obtained with a  prescription in the US.  I also read an article not long ago, where a member of the Irish Parliament was calling for regulation to control the availability of these and similar products, because she said, the country was self-medicating with them.  As far as I know, nothing has been done about it yet.

This all makes for disturbing reading in relation to the health and well being of all of us and should really make us question what kind of society we are creating when we allow our children to be treated in this way.  If we continue down this road, then I think we are storing up some serious social problems for the future.  

I can only hope that the time is coming when we will start facing up to our social responsibilities and really start addressing the issues that are affecting the population, because if David Cameron wants to build a big society then he would do well to remember, that in order to build anything you need to start with a solid foundation, and the foundation for any society is the well-being of its people.



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