A reason to enjoy the rain


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.

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Why it’s so hard to speak up about assault

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.

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Psychology Gogglebox

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.

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What if PMs had job interviews?

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.

It’s a funny type of recruitment process.

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Where have all the playtimes gone?

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.

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What can we learn from Eighth Grade?

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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.

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