As I write this there are subzero temperatures outside and, inside, the news is all about weather alerts and there is a general fear about introducing us to WINTER!!! This, for me, is a clear example of how detached we have become from nature. It’s almost as if we have become afraid of such things as the tide coming in, or night enveloping the day. Part of my traditional fight against the “winter blues” is to focus positive energies towards the natural and the inevitable. There is SO much to look forward to: the arrival from up north of skeins of geese and a myriad of wildfowl; the cheerful sounding flocks of redwings and fieldfares. There are also the traditional winter jobs in the countryside – hedge cutting and laying, coppicing and pollarding, the making of charcoal and the thrice warming task of producing firewood!!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes to unpack the woolly jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves that wait in the wardrobe – perhaps fearing redundancy from climate change? My walks in the countryside are only enhanced by cold, crisp conditions, and I usually managed one or two “frost” camps each winter – long dark nights, and certainly chilly too, but no better way of hearing the owls, foxes, badgers et al for whom this is the most active of seasons for it is courtship time!!
I am also feeling super chipper this winter because I have at last had my long overdue operation on my spine!! It took a few (frustrating) attempts to get it done but now I am, for the first time in many years, pain free!! This in turn means I can actually “plan” some work without the previous fear of potential cancellations due to appointments etc.
I will have vouchers available for Christmas as usual, but I am not going to do a BIG push on them because I still have a bit of a backlog to clear, I am planning new events all the time and, as a Newsletter recipient, you will know that I can be contacted any time for vouchers, to join an event or to arrange something bespoke! Hopefully 2023 will see plenty more of the “regulars”: the birdsong specials in Spring; the general nature walks; the foraging and bushcraft sessions. I will also be continuing the foraging walks with my good chum, and Mushroom Mentor, Paulo. We both keep our eyes to the ground for emergent edibles and, as soon as they show well, we will offer up some dates!!
I really want to be able to react to some repeated “requests” that have been made over the years too. One such things many people ask about is the possibility of a campout or expedition. I have been doing these with young people for donkey’s years but only a handful of times for adults – my only restriction being time itself. As a start to putting that right, myself and Paulo are hoping to offer three “Wild Wood Camps” for Spring, Summer and Autumn set in the away-from-it-all grounds of Elfwood near Rogate. Lots more details to come but if you would like to show an expression of interest do please contact me!
The aim of any campout or retreat will be to enhance our connection to nature, and also, of course, to have FUN!! We have a similar brief with our on-going Podcast – Father Nature HQ which continues to be enjoyed whilst hopefully teaching a bit, inspiring a lot and maybe raising a few eyebrows as we go!! Do please have a listen.
Have a wonderful Yule season and see you on the other side!!! Jonnie x
PS. IF you are still unsure of good Xmas pressies and you don’t want a voucher to take you on an outdoors experience, why not curl up with, or give a fabulous Nature book as a gift? My good chum and all round naturalist mate Stephen Frye has written this amazing book called “Our Accidental Letters”. It is essentially a book which shows how to pass on the wonder of nature via your observations to younger folk, plus there are challenges and quizzes galore! All profits are split between Teenage Cancer Trust and the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary.