Back to Work

So we’ve now hopefully got through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, with such horrendous loss of life,that its now it’s a case of being sensible and making sure it doesn’t return with any kind of vengeance.

For us, it’s been a time where my better half has worked from home,while for me I had seven weeks on furlough and for the last four, I’ve been back at work. While having a lengthy break was nice,a routine was always lacking and even gardening everyday became a chore.

Now, I’m back in a routine of six day weeks fitting in a lengthy spell in the garden has been difficult. Spending all day on my feet at work,at least half of my day off has to be spent recuperating or catching some extra sleep.

The garden I just have to let tick over,doing the bare minimum to still keep it looking good. Finally after two months of dry weather, it eventually rained last week, giving everything a good soak,also the pond got a much needed top up too.

I think from now on unless heavy rain is forecast, I will have to water at least twice a day, as leaving things till the evening, just seems to put stress on the plants.

Naturist activities for the immediate future are on hold, as the club is now unfortunately out of bounds because of the pandemic,so any clothes free sunbathing pleasures have to be held at home,when the weather allows.

After seven weeks of being naked inside and outside at home,just a change of scenery would be nice, as work takes full presidence, fully clothed obviously, with no chance of body freedom comfort in the sweltering climate.

With most of the plants in the garden finally coming around in the normal British conditions, I have been able to add some plants to the collection.

The being namely a Bromeliad, some Dianthus as well as three various Gardenia,which have added some colour on the patio.

My climbing rose looks great with blooms everywhere and I’m also pleased with the vegetables in the planter down the end.

Staying safe and Being occupied

It’s now been over 4 weeks that we’ve been in lockdown. During this surreal time, I’ve managed to keep myself busy for the most part, while trying at the same time not to stress out about things in our lives, or things you see in the news. It been a sad time for us as we lost a dear friend just over a fortnight ago,while seeing many childhood celebrities and heroes pass away to this dreaded disease.

I won’t go on about it all now, but needless to say, I’m sure we will all probably know someone who’s passed away by the time its all over.

During the first week I was suffering from a really bad cold,or that’s what it seemed to be, this had been coming for weeks, so I didn’t do very much just rested.

From there on the pace picked up and now I’m at a point where I have got lots done. This is good to be frank as plants and weeds are growing like wildfire.

I’ve also managed to work my way through a mountain of things, that I’ve accumulated over the past 3 years and got them to use in the garden. This was for the most by reinventing them into something useful or altering them slightly.

Firstly I put together a raised bed that I actually prepared last year, but for several weeks it lay empty without the compost to put in it.

It sat on the patio for a couple of weeks as there was nowhere to buy compost, apart from B&Q and Wickes which both had four hour queues just to browse their websites.

Next up,with the leftover pallet wood,I decided to transform an old computer desk into a potting table,so I didn’t need to use the patio table anymore.

I put two shelves on the frame with a further raised shelf at the back. With a coat of staining I was pretty please with my efforts and haven’t needed to use the patio table at all.

Amongst the things I’ve collected were several packets of seeds,mainly free ones from magazines, which included vegetables and flowers. Over the course of three days I planted a varied selection these included:

Ageratum Blue Danube,Zinnia Edwardian Pink/Purple Prince,Nasturtium Black Velvet, Sweet Pea Old Spice,Black Eyed Susan Susie mix and Sweet Pea Heirloom Mixed.

As well as these I planted some tomatoes (Yellow Delight/Maskotka),chillies and a selection of herbs,I’ve not been great at growing from seed so far..so fingers crossed.

Inbetween times I weeded and cleared around the pond,move pots all around the garden, making it seem like mid summer, not mid April. Maybe this had something to do with the glorious sunny weather,which was at least in the mid teens every day.

I also cobbled together a netting frame from old greenhouse poles and pond netting for my raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and also planted summer bulbs which included Dahlias and Alstromeria.

The water supply around the house is now all sorted too, with the garden tap now feeding a hose end tap at the front of the house and a second down by the pond.

This is a godsend as it means I don’t have to carry watering cans from the house or get out a hose every time I need to water.

Also I scattered around the garden some other seeds these being Poppies (Mother of Pearl/Double Tangerine Gem/Pandora) some Rudbeckia (Daises Mixed/Rustic Dwarf Mixed) and also some Ox Eye Wildflower Daisies. Again fingers crossed these will appear later in the summer.

This week I managed to source some compost from Wickes (click & collect) and managed to fill the raised bed, with a combination of polystyrene and compost and then finally planted the remaining seeds.

These were Old English Thyme, Swiss Chard Bright Lights,Kale Dwarf Green Curled, Parsley Giant of Italy, Lettuce Lollo Rossa and Onions Red Baron.

I also managed to fix some netting hoops by drilling holes into the decking on the sides and slotting in the hoops before putting the netting over the top. The whole thing cost me around £30 which included the compost.

Thursday last, I managed to reuse some hanging trough baskets too, these had been left behind by the last tenants. In these I planted the remaining geraniums I had bought the day before. They look great in the troughs but also they break up an unappealing blank metal wall on the side of the potting shed.

On Friday I mowed the lawn and fed it, before feeding and watering all the plants, again with the correct plant food types which I’ve collected over the years.

Most of what I have achieved so far has been out in the back garden,so next week my attention will turn to the front.

It already has a good display of tulip,daffodils, primroses,bellis and geraniums which have lasted throughout the wintertime,but the weeds are coming through so it needs attention.

Its been a trying time for us all recently, but we just have to accept that we have no control over the situation really.

The best thing we can do is just relax putting on hold any thoughts of trying to plan to much for the next month or two.

Be Safe Stay Safe

More Importantly

With the country in lockdown and the world in turmoil, now is the perfect time to take a break. There’s very little going on and no where to go,but more importantly there are other things to think about, rather than the subjects that have graced my blog over the past eight years.

Added to that my study has been taken over and my PC dismantled,so that my beloved can work from home and do some real work. Needless to say during my enforced lay off I shall be staying at home and on the warmer days venturing out into the garden.

Some Spring Sunshine

As spring comes slowly upon us I’ve managed to get in the garden today, in between the showers and also plant a few perennials and shrubs too.

January and February have been very wet unproductive months all round and we haven’t been out visiting much, apart from seeing family from time to time.

March has started with some sunshine in spells, although the temperatures hardly climb above single figures. Luckily we’re getting enough time off together later in the month and will be making a few trips around the country so not all is lost.

Today is Monday 9th and I managed to get in the garden to get out some wintering plants, as well as do some weeding and also plant some shrubs.

Occasionally the sunshine appeared allowing a couple of clothes free periods, but once it disappeared it became decisively chilly.

I managed to plant into pots a Viburnum Eve Price as well as a Agapanthus Blue Umbrella and into the ground, a Santolina Chamaecyparissus and a Verbena Bonariensis. The Agapanthus may have to go into the ground, later in the month though.

The last two filled a space in front of the pond recently occupied by a strawberry planter, where as the pots will find a permanent home once all the overwintered pots start growing again.

I got all the pots out of the greenhouses this morning and gave them all a good watering and maybe in a few weeks I shall start planning where they will all go.

“Time for a Cuppa”

Naturist Camps

Caroline Chard really gets back to nature as she enjoys the benefits of holidaying as a naturist

I am a lifelong, though definitely part-time, naturist; I don’t go on naturist holidays in Britain because it’s frankly too cold! Naturism and nudism, are basically the same thing, but naturism is a more accurate description because of its emphasis on nature rather than nakedness. There is a long list of what naturism does not involve, chiefly any form of voyeurism or exhibitionism. It’s not usually a requirement that you get naked, unless and until you’re comfortable. Naturism is, as its name suggests, a way of getting back to nature in all ways, including dress. It is, in fact, the ultimate in green camping. Most naturist campsites cater for families, and the best ones pay attention to sustainability by recycling, upcycling, harvesting rainwater, and using alternative energy sources where possible.

One of my favourite examples of this is the restaurant at a site we stay at regularly, which is built around a large tree growing in the courtyard. The Dutch owner explains, ‘We simply respected the tree.’ Most naturist resorts encourage visitors to use environmentally friendly cleaning and washing products to support their green ethos. Obviously, when you’re not wearing many clothes on a day to day basis, the amount of washing you generate is dramatically reduced too!

It’s not all about nudity

Which brings me on to the main point: clothes. Many first time naturists are worried about clothes. Don’t be. It’s not about going naked all the time; it’s about wearing what you want or need to wear. Getting up in the morning is so much easier when you don’t have to get dressed in your tent! You can just grab a towel and wander over to the shower block. When it’s raining or cold, you’ll see people wearing an occasionally hilarious assortment of clothes, from nothing but wellies and a hat, to street clothes.

On a sunny day, someone with very fair skin might be wearing a t-shirt to protect them from the rays. A naturist up a ladder fixing a roof will be wearing safety gear, but may not be wearing anything under it! Naturists are a friendly lot, and will welcome you whether you feel the need to wear clothes or are immediately comfortable in nothing at all. This is particularly the case with teenagers. Even the teenagers who’ve grown up as naturists get self-conscious about their bodies and want to cover up. I know, I’ve been one. That’s fine; sarongs become standard teenage attire, for both boys and girls. The only place where there’s likely to be strict nudity rules is around the pool and in the sauna. And trust me, when you’ve swum naked or lounged in the sauna with only a towel to sit on, you’ll never want to do either with a swimming costume on again! Your skin will thank you too; it’s much healthier not to wear a swimming costume because your skin can breathe and will dry more quickly.

Child-friendly

Can you imagine anything more idyllic than a crowd of stark-naked children, happily charging around in the woods getting muddy, getting wet, making new friends? Children adore the freedom of naturism. No having to get dressed in the mornings! For obvious reasons, the sites are set away from main roads and not overlooked, and many are in woodland. My daughter loves to run wild with new friends, getting muddy with no risk of spoiling her clothes. If you’ve ever been camping with children, you can imagine that it’s much easier to hose down a naked child than to wash a load of dirty clothes. Of course, breast feeding on demand is much easier.

“Naturism is, as its name suggest, a way of getting back to nature in all ways, including dress”

Other guests are likely to be a wide range of nationalities though most often we meet French, German, and Dutch families. If your child doesn’t speak other languages, no matter. Kids swiftly develop a glorious polyglot, combined with sign language, which enables all kinds of play and of course teaches them about communication and cooperation. I remember my daughter, aged about five, coming to me with a book and saying ‘Mutti, can you read this to me, bitte?’ That day she’d been playing with some German kids, and had unconsciously picked up some vocabulary. The only problem is you’re likely to face some rebellion about wearing clothes again when it’s time to leave!

Diversity

One of the best things about a naturist holiday for children is the acceptance which it fosters. We come in all shapes and sizes. Seeing a wide variety of people going about their daily lives in a clothing-optional setting is a great way to foster positive body image in children. Scars, wobbly bits, even prosthetic limbs cease to be remarkable when you can see that everyone’s got something different about them.

Although I’ve always found it hard to be ‘out’ to non-naturists because I am very far from having a ‘perfect’ body, I take pride in the fact that it sustained my daughter for nine months of pregnancy and then 14 months of breastfeeding. Which actually makes it perfectly amazing.

So, what do you need?

Top of the list is, of course, an open mind and willingness to try something new and different. If you’re camping, you’ll need the usual things for a camping holiday, but fewer clothes! The rest of the list is quite brief: a towel or something to sit on when you’re in communal areas; a sarong, shorts, or sundress to slip on when you go into the resort shop (it’s good etiquette to cover up near food); plenty of suncream, and perhaps a hat.

Where to start?

The British Naturism website, bn.org.uk, is full of advice and encouragement for first-time naturists, Naturism is very popular in Europe, and there are many lovely campsites and resorts available. For a start there are two French associations with slightly different memberships but both with lots of lovely places to try: the Fédération Française de Naturisme (French Naturism Federation) (ffn.naturisme.com); and the Fédération des Espaces Naturistes (Federation of Naturist Spaces) (www.naturisme.fr).

The last word of encouragement comes from British Naturism, “When you shed your clothes you also shed just a few of the burdens of everyday life. The feeling of liberation, discovery and freedom is something that you cannot describe”.

TOP FIVE NATURIST CAMPSITES

LA PLAGE DES TEMPLIERS Bourg Saint Andréol, Rhône Alpes – The campsite La Plage des Templiers is set in the heart of a breathtaking area in Vallon Pont d’Arc in the centre of the Ardeche, just upstream of the Gorges de l’Ardèche. Surrounded by nature with a beach right on the river, this campsite is just the right spot for a relaxing family holiday… and some exciting canoeing trips. camping-templiers-ardeche.com

DOMAINE LABORDE Monflanquin, Aquitane – In beautiful and historic Perigord, 4-star naturist campsite Domaine de Laborde is settled in Monflanquin, in the heart of Pays des Bastides. Nestled in a beautiful setting with oak and chestnut trees, two naturist swimming-pools and two lakes. Perfect for nature lovers looking for quiet holidays. domainelaborde.com/en

RIVA BELLA THALASSO AND SPA RESORT Aleria, Corsica – 4-star naturist campsite Riva Bella in Aleria is set between the beach and mountains with sea water pond, long sandy beach and pack of llamas. naturisme-rivabella.com

CENTRE DE VACANCES NATURISTE LE COLOMBIER Saint Martin, Region Pays de la Loire – On the Atlantic coast, in South Vendee, discover 4-star naturist campsite Le Colombier. Explore the forest, stream and spa with massages and hammam for genuine peaceful holidays. lecolombier-naturisme.com

HELIOMONDE Cheron, Ile de France – On the outskirts of Paris, Heliomonde is the perfect destination to visit the capital. Relax at the campsite naturist swimming-pool after a day of sight-seeing. heliomonde.fr/fr

This is a repost the original can be found here:- The Green Parent

Alpine Time

February 1st

It’s the 1st of February today,Brexit is done and in the garden it’s time for work to begin. Today we went out shopping and I bought some Meteor Bicolour Primroses to at least add some welcome colour, although some of the spring bulbs, are starting to show signs of blooming.

February 2nd
On Sunday we went out and stopped off at an “ex Wyevale” garden centre near Brentwood where I picked up some Alpines,6 actually for £20 as well as some Alstroemeria bulbs using a voucher I’d received for Christmas. Hopefully I can plant them up today.February 3rd
Monday was by far the nicest day,with some sunshine and also the wind had dropped. After staying inside for an hour or two I ventured out and managed to cut the grass, prune the shrubs and move around the pots to give the back garden a more tidy feel. Then I took out the front some trough planters,which have bulbs in and which are already coming up.Once that was done and after a couple more cups of coffee I went back outside and planted the Alpines I’d bought the day before. They were:
Armeria maritima ‘Düsseldorfer Stolz’
flowering in May – July, Sempervivum x hybrid mix flowering in June – July Saxifraga ‘Pixie Rose’ flowering in May, Aubrieta Dr Mules Variegata flowering in Spring, and two Mixed
Sempervivum which flower all through from late Spring to late Summer.I planted them in an old kettle barbecue bought from Asda many years ago and after removing the clasps and the lid it was perfect. I did though have to drill some drainage holes in the base but it’ll do the job perfectly.Removing them from the pot I planted then in a 50/50 of John Innes number 3 and Perlite which gave it a good gritty, well draining mix which was good considering that they were still sopping wet from their time in the garden centre.There are some Irises already in flower as well as many other bulbs popping up all over the garden. I also have a amaryllis that is doing well inside too.I must get out this week and cut the lawn and also do some weeding and also sort out the collapsing fleece tunnels.I’ve new freebie pots and baskets to clean as well as the shed to tidy,hopefully though I’ve eradicated the rodent problem.Sunrise Time

Is nudism on the decline ?


In a word, NO !

It is a popular misconception that nudism is going the way of disco. These are the same people who believe the 60’s were one big Woodstock/orgy fest. But one historian argues (whose name escapes me), with a list of charts and graphs, that people were actually a lot more conservative during that time than we imagine.

What followed after the sixties, however, was the much more permissible seventies, where premarital sex dropped off the list of taboos and drugs came into frequent use (today, marijuana is legal in most states). But modern nudism has been around long before the sixties, since the Germans exported it to America in the 1900s. The resort I visit, Lake Como in Land-O-Lakes, FL, was founded in the forties. The only thing we can say about nudism during the sixties was that, thanks to print media, and magazines that allowed for nudity, like Playboy, public awareness about the lifestyle grew dramatically. But just like everything else attributed to the decade, there was a lot less casual nudity going on than people imagine.


The difference between now and then? Nudism is no longer news. It has fallen so far under the radar, in fact, that when Caliente, the largest clothing-optional resort in the country opened in Tampa, nobody noticed. Decades prior, there would have been police raids and neighbors protesting. But the lack of fanfare is precisely what nudists have long been striving for. Nobody wants to be counter-culture forever, unless you’re a rock band looking to grab headlines. Nowadays, nudism is so commonplace, you can visit any number of travel sites to book a “clothing optional” vacation, or “nakation.” According to Forbes magazine,

The nude travel business, while skimpy on clothes, is covering itself with profits. The Kissimmee, Fla.-based American Association for Nude Recreation estimates that nude travel is a $400 million global industry–up from $300 million in 2001. I was first introduced to nudism on the Greek islands in the nineties. Back then, the only option for going nude was at the beach. Today, three new resorts have opened up, Vritomartis Naturist on Crete being the most popular. Clothing optional venues have been popping up all over the world, in fact, from Mexico to the Caribbean to Thailand, each larger and more luxurious than the last. Castaway Travel even offers nude cruises, something that would not have seemed possible two decades ago.

Despite all of this commercialization, it is important to note that nudism does not and should not = venues. This would be like measuring acceptance of homosexuality by how many gay bars have opened. First and foremost, nudism is a social movement, not a marketing venture. Some people feel that resorts are antithetical to the movement (I know I do), that we should not have to hide behind concrete walls, far from other people, to live the way we want. The purpose of nudism is to change attitudes toward the human body, to rid the world of harmful, sexist, outdated taboos. In such a world, “clothing-optional” would be redundant. This is one reason why, in recent years, younger people have been moving away from organized nudism.

Another misconception posits that nudists are mostly aging hippies, people pining for the good ol’ swinging sixties. Once these hippies die off, it’s thought, nudism will die right along with them. But this is far from the reality. Truth is, nudists come from all walks of life, but are not always visible. At Hidden Beach Resort in Cancun, I met doctors, lawyers, and businessmen; atheists and Christians; liberals and conservatives; aging hipsters and athletic young couples. But most of the visitors were affluent, which only makes sense, when you consider the exorbitant cost of an all inclusive vacation. This leaves out people who may be interested but cannot afford the trip. Resorts are often located in remote places, far from those who might enjoy them, so if you’re going to school or if you have a steady job, driving distance is also a limiting factor.

Lake Como, Paradise Lakes and Caliente also serve as retirement communities, so they will naturally attract older clientele. Beside the expense and travel time, younger nudists have to worry about how friends and family will react to their lifestyle, and a good number of nudists risk unemployment. Parents with young children choose not to involve their kids in what might get them teased at school, and as any mom or dad will tell you, it can be tough going on vacation without the kids tagging along. Taking all this into consideration, it’s no wonder younger nudists (myself included) prefer staying at home, enjoying the backyard or the pool, or hiking through secluded woods free of charge.


To more accurately gauge the growth of nudism, it’s more useful to look at social media. On the Internet, young people who are too shy or frightened of being ostracized are free to express their beliefs anonymously. Lately, the number of nudist Facebook groups, Twitter feeds, and blogs popping up are more than I can count. One group I belong to, Young Naturists & Nudists America, boasts over 7000 members. Its founder, Felicity Jones, takes part in social activism, with the aim of promoting body acceptance, and has participated in public art projects by artists such as Zefrey Throwell and body painter Andy Golub. While the art projects themselves are varied, they have all had a single common connecting factor, which is the incorporation of public nudity.


Now consider the rise of non-sexual nudity in the general media. ESPN Magazine one-upped Sports Illustrated with its Bodiesseries, featuring athletes posing entirely in the buff. In HBO’s Game of Thrones, one of the most successful programs in TV history, actors go fully naked on camera, as does its star, Emilia Clarke, who portrays Daenerys Targaryen, arguably the show’s most important character. And on Discovery Channel’s Naked & Afraid, the “survivors” butts stay in full view, with only the genitals and women’s nipples being pixelated. Showing favorable ratings, Dating Nakedpremiered on VH1 followed by Buying Nakedon TLC. None of this would have been tolerated during the swinging sixties. Doubtless there would have been a public outrage, when you consider how, in The Dick VanDyke Show, which ran from 1961 to 1966, Rob and Laura, the main characters, had to be shown sleeping in separate beds, despite being married to each other, and in I Dream of Jeannie, which ran from 1965 to 1970, the character of Jeannie was forbidden from exposing her bellybutton !

OK, you may be thinking, tolerance is one thing, but acceptance is a whole other ballgame. The vast majority of people, most of whom are offended by nudity, will change channels, avoid certain social media groups, and steer clear of places where nudity is on display. Expose the general, unsuspecting public to the unclothed body, and out come the pitchforks, right? Wrong. I give you The World Naked Bike Ride! The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike ride in which participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles, but some on skateboards and inline skates), to “deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.”

The dress code motto is “bare as you dare”. Full or partial nudity is encouraged, but not mandatory. There is no mandate to cover intimate parts; this is a distinguishing feature of the WNBR against other cycling events. The WNBR takes place in 20 countries and in over 50 different cities, with very little outrage, and the number of participants has been growing. Lady God1va, who I know personally, organizes one of the more successful rides in London, with well over a thousand riders!


Is nudism on the decline? On the contrary, it is growing. We see it in the number of resorts being built, and we see it on TV, where more skin is on display, and it is growing through social media, which allows people to exchange ideas and to organize like never before. The nudism of the sixties was newsworthy, hence misconceptions about that decade, but thanks to changing attitudes and shifting mores, public nudity no longer elicits moral outrage, and therefore, is no longer news. In a few decades time, we may not need designated beaches or resorts. The children of today are born into a world of greater equality, greater freedom, and greater acceptance. If there is any truth to the notion that nudism is dying, it may be that the term itself is becoming unnecessary, a quaint throwback from a more conservative, racist, sexist age.

Original Article

Surrey Sunshine

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In Mid November I finally managed to convince my partner to take a trip around the M25to RHS Wisley the headquarters of the RHS in Surrey. Wisley was founded by Victorian businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson, who purchased a 60-acre site in 1878. He established the “Oakwood Experimental Garden”on part of the site, where he attempted to “make difficult plants grow successfully”.

Wisley is now a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres (971,000 m²). In addition to numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum, it includes small scale “model gardens” which are intended to show visitors what they can achieve in their own gardens, and a trials field where new cultivars are assessed. The laboratory, for both scientific research and training, was originally opened in 1907, but proved inadequate. It was expanded and its exterior was rebuilt during World War I. It was designated a Grade II Listed building in 1985.

The journey for us took about 2 hours but even though it was November there was still plenty to see and I for one was impressed with some of the redevelopment that is going on there.We stopped for a drink and cake twice and enjoyed also the glasshouse with all its splendid plants.

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Their new vision overall is a strategic vision for the whole society to hopefully get more people caring about the environment and gardening.The welcome building which we visited with was splendid with its ‘coups de théâtre’ and paved courtyard to function as a village square for visitors to meet, eat and drink.

It also has a new retail space and plant centre. Under construction is also a hilltop science and learning centre which will be once complete will be a scientific centre of excellence in horticultural science.