I have been loving the sound of the rain on the veranda recently,
and the smell of the plants that gets so much stronger and fresher after they’ve
been doused. Being under shelter as the rain falls on the roof reminds me a bit
of camping at festivals, and a bit of being really young and in my dad’s workshop
out the back, with its corrugated roofing and smell of cut wood and glue.
The sound of the rain also made me think about the news items there have been about forest-bathing recently, the Japanese practice of immersing oneself in nature, and research which has shown it’s good for us to have time in the wild.
Night buses in London are wild – on busy nights you’re just grateful
to catch one that isn’t full up but the things that go on in them are sometimes
really sketchy. I once saw someone showing off a gun to his friends. I don’t
live in London anymore but I had many a night bus journey when I did, travelling
back to Camberwell in the early hours.
Melania Geyonat and her girlfriend Chris, were a couple amongst those travelling home on a night bus recently, only they got attacked on their way home, because they were two women in a relationship. The couple were verbally and physically assaulted, and they spoke out in the news about it.
There’s been a run of programmes about different sorts of mental health problem recently, and different ways of helping. I had a week where I watched lots of them: Louis Theroux on experiences of postnatal depression and psychosis, Alistair Campbell on depression, Nadiya Hussain on anxiety and David Harewood on psychosis.
Just as mental health is a spectrum, so is its coverage. The purpose and filming practices of these programmes are in stark contrast to reality TV shows that have also been in the news lately, in relation to their effects on participant mental health: Jeremy Kyle’s show in particular, but also Love Island.
Leadership has been splashed all over the papers this long weekend, in various contexts, one of them being the ever-increasing numbers putting their hand up to be considered in the running for leader of the Tory party and the top job in government.
A study published last week by UCL Institute of Education and the Nuffield Foundation found that over the last 25 years children aged 5-7 have 45 minutes less break time than before, and 11-16 year olds have 65 minutes less.
The erosion of playtime is unsurprising, given the increasing focus on exam results and school league tables over the last 25 years. I imagine it’s just a case of teachers trying to fit more and more into the school day.
I watched Eighth Grade last week. It’s a cracker of a film – and it has Enya in the soundtrack (personal teenage fave). One of the things I liked so much was how brilliantly it captures the awkwardness that I remember from a lot of situations you have to endure as a teenager. There’s a great example of this in a pool party that the main character goes to – and the whispered phone call she makes to her dad to come and get her.
When I was 17 I was living at home and going to Sixth Form in Devon. My friend Soph had passed her driving test and a carload of us used to go round the country lanes at night in her mum’s car listening to Velvet Pants by Propellerheads. Then we’d all go and get a take-away pizza. Smells of that era that take me right back include Lynx, Archers, CK One and Paco Rabane. Top nostalgic tastes are Pernod & Black (thanks to Han who loved it), scampi fries and cheesy chips.
Last week results from a survey of over 8000 teachers carried out by the National Education Union were released during their annual conference.
The survey included four questions about mental health, asking teachers if they thought there had been an increase in mental health problems since 2017, what provision they had to support young people with mental health problems, what prevents them from supporting children with mental health problems fully, and what mental health training they had had.
The views of the teachers are interesting by themselves, but how do their opinions compare to other sources of evidence Continue reading →