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Having waxed lyrical about the joys of apples and pears a couple of weeks ago, this week we’re going to look at some of the veg which are at their best right now. And for the next few months too. True, they’re not as exotic as some of the other produce you can find at your local supermarket, but they provide just the right mix of nutrients needed during the colder months of the year. 
 
So, without further ado, let’s start with one group of veg that doesn’t have the best PR. They’re seen as rather dull and boring, not helped by the traditional tendency of overcooking them. Well, let’s be honest, boiling them for hours until they resemble a grey green sludge in the bottom of the saucepan. In fact there used to be a standing joke that one of them should be put on to boil in November to be ready for a certain day in December… 
 
Have you guessed what we’re talking about yet? 
With everyone still being swept away by the ongoing madness at the moment – “Pandemic the sequel” aka “the new abnormal” – this week we felt it was time for something completely different. 
 
So, we’re going to follow on from last week’s beautiful poem by John Keats, with another one that perfectly sums up the qualities needed to ride the very strange times we’re living in. It may have been written over a hundred years ago but is still as true today as it was then. Here it is: 
It’s amazing how the seasons suddenly seem to turn and this year is no exception. We may only be at the beginning of October, but it feels as though Autumn is well upon us, due in large part to the recent storms and torrential rainfall. 
 
Despite the signs of the winter to come, there are still lots of local goodies to enjoy at this time of year. While the blackberries may now be over, rosehips and sloes are coming into their own, with good crops of both to be found in the hedges if you’re quick. For a reminder about their many uses, as well as the joys of foraging, click here
 
However, it’s some other fruits which are at their best at this time of year that we’d like to talk about this week. They’re the ones found in just about every fruit bowl, all year round, which is probably why we take them so much for granted. But, as with any fruit in season and freshly picked, there’s nothing to beat them. 
Having looked at the ongoing madness from several different angles in the last few blog posts, we had planned to write about something completely different this week. However, with the hysteria in the mainstream media ratchetting up yet again, it seems we’ve been overtaken by circumstances! 
 
For some reason, whenever there’s any kind of “problem” – big or small – many people seem to expect someone to rush in and sort it out for them. Someone in “authority” of some sort. The Government – a popular one (!) – the Police, Scientists, Doctors, etc, etc. If we ignore the religious overtones, someone – anyone other than themselves – to dive in and save them. 
 
However, giving away our power to others to make decisions on our behalf, is fraught with danger. Not least because it’s based on a number of assumptions which may not necessarily be true... 
We all seem to have our own particular habits and traditions, whether we’re aware of them or not (!). For us, September brings a post – or two (!) – looking ahead to the Winter bugs season. What you can do to help avoid any Lurgies doing the rounds AND what to do if the worst happens. If you want a quick reminder, here are the links to the two posts we did last year. Click here for what you can do proactively, ie, now (!) and here for what you can do if you succumb. 
 
However, with the mainstream media already gearing up for what some are calling “the Second Spike” or “Pandemic, the sequel”; we thought a slightly different approach was needed this year. So, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’re going to focus on one set of conditions which have been found to SUBSTANTIALLY increase the risk of ANY of the winter bugs. So called “Lifestyle Diseases.” Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and the like. All of which are linked to poor lifestyle choices. Diet, dehydration, smoking, stress, lack of sleep, to name but a few… 
There’s been much talk in recent months about the “new normal” and exactly what that may be. We’ve even mentioned it in our blog posts. However, having given the matter some thought, we’ve decided this is one phrase we won’t be using in future. 
 
Why? 
 
Well, for the simple reason there’s nothing remotely “normal” about what’s been happening in recent months. Or people’s reactions to it. Let alone what’s now being forecast for the months ahead… 
 
In our view, a much more accurate description would be the “new abnormal.” Now we appreciate this may sound a little harsh – or, possibly, cynical – to some people, so please bear with us while we explain why. 
If you’ve ever been stung by an insect – a Wasp, Bee or, if you’re really unlucky, Hornet – or wrenched a muscle, you’ll know just how painful inflammation can be. Or, put more accurately, the Inflammatory Response. With its telltale redness, swelling, heat and pain. And how quickly it occurs. 
 
It’s part of our basic Immune System response to ANY tissue damage, which can occur in a multitude of different ways. The most common, as we’ve already mentioned, are from trauma or injury. However, there are many others including infections, toxins and heat; to name a few. There’s also a “catch all” category which always makes us smile. Irritants. Which, if you stop and think about it for a moment, includes a great many other things… 
There’s something about this time of year. Perhaps it’s the last bank holiday of the Summer. Or the impending start of the new academic year. Maybe it’s the feeling that the seasons are turning, with the nights noticeably drawing in. Not helped by the ongoing uncertainty fuelled, in large, part by the near hysterical reporting in the media. Sorry to mention the last two but, sadly, it’s true! 
 
Whatever the reason, this time to year seems to trigger one of our more basic instincts. The need to prepare for the new season ahead. 
And, in the process, it’s easy to get caught up in it all. Rushing around more like a headless chicken than a productive – and happy (!) – little bee. Very busy but achieving little… If you need a reminder on why being “busy, busy, busy” is never the easiest way to get things done (!) click here
 
With a bank holiday this coming weekend – and many people making the most of the last few days of their summer holidays – it seems like a good time to take another look at one of the most pervasive summertime health myths. It’s repeated countless times every summer and goes like this: 
 
Sitting in the sun is dangerous; if you don’t use sunscreen your skin will burn and you’ll get skin cancer. 
 
Now if you stop and think about it for a minute, this message doesn’t make any sense at all. 
We know even raising this question may be considered heresy by some – or mark us out as Luddites by others (!) – but has our modern obsession with communication finally gone too far? 
 
And, yes, we know we’ve made this observation before. Well, in fact, several times but it’s one that does bear repeating… 
 
Have our phones transformed from being a useful tool – our servant – making life so much easier, to an insatiable monster without us even noticing? 
 
Are we so distracted that we don’t actually live our lives anymore? 
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