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Inside looking out

Usually my inspiration for writing these blogs comes when I am outside walking. It's not peculiar to me of course, plenty of creative people talk about how both walking and nature help them to feel inspired. A recent project, borne out of lockdown walks has just launched their online galleries with a range of artists covering virtual walking, walking and activism, even indoor walking. I really recommend taking a look to browse through the different projects to get inspired yourself.

So the week that we launched our second nature advent(ure) calendar, was not a great time to find myself stuck indoors. I've long talked about the various ways that you can connect to nature when you can't go outside, but if I am absolutely truthful, I don't think there has ever been a time when I have spent so long indoors. Last winter when it was so cold that going for a walk was more like ice skating, I still managed to get outside in the least icy parts of the day, or just walked well-gritted routes, so I wondered if this week might be a challenge. So here is my 5 day report on being indoors.

Just before the dreaded "ping" we'd hosted an online event with Go Jauntly, the walking and nature connection app, to learn tips and tricks for uploading tempting and interesting walks. (If you have any Lanarkshire based walks that you think would be a great addition to our collection, please get in touch.) The session reminded of the app's nature notes function which prompts you to notice nature, based on research by Derby University. After twenty four hours indoors, I realised that I hadn't really looked out of the window at all. I switched on the notifications for nature notes, and immediately received a picture of a beautiful oak tree, and a suggestion to notice street trees. The picture made me smile, the blue skies in the background, the vibrant green of the leaves and the glossy acorn, a stark contrast to when I looked out at my closest street trees, a collection of 3 lime trees which have been entirely bare for the last month. These trees bring me joy all year round, apart from the month in late Spring where they tend to drop sap over anything that comes within about 200 yards of them. In late November, the council hang Christmas lights from them, so even in winter they bring happiness. This year the usual date for the lights, came and went. Neighbours muttered about their absence. Then late one evening two chaps in a cherrypicker came along, and I was so excited. The trouble is, they have not hung the decorations correctly. Yes, I am aware that I sound like a petulant child, but only one of our wonderful trees has lights, the other two stand naked. I oscillate between laughing at myself for being cross, and just being cross. I don't know if I feel bad for me, for the people who won't be able to see the lights from their flats this year or for the trees. I guess maybe the trees are actually happy that they've not had their branches interfered with this year. Who knows?

I have also made a point of taking time to look out the window at the sky every day. I've seen some amazing lenticular clouds, blue skies when I wasn't expecting them and some fearsome storm clouds. This morning the sunrise was a beautiful ombre event highlighting the skeleton silhouettes of the lime trees. Finally, I have continued to notice the weather. I am a relentless advocate for going out come rain, snow or shine - unless there is a risk to life and limb, but instead I have reveled in staying indoors under a blanket while the wind howls and the rain lashes the window panes. I've become more interested in what the weather forecast says and what our windowsill thermometer is measuring. I have also opened the window each day to breathe some fresh air and feel the breeze on my face. As a result of all this, I have been able to continue to complete my 3 good things diary every evening.

Finally, and this might not be strictly nature related, I have missed seeing my morning dogs in the park every day. I have continued to enjoy the various dogs that pass by our house, but I felt I needed more, so I have resorted to dog videos. You can check out my current favourites here. There is plenty of other online nature content too, and I very much recommend checking out the Highland Green Health Partnership website, where amongst other things you can go on a virtual tour of some of their nature reserves. Even when I am able to go out, this would not be readily accessible to me, so it's great to be able to travel there vicariously; and of course there are places even further afield that you can go online without the need to jump on a plane. I recommend the Blue Mountains in Spring, but maybe not if you don't like heights. Please do follow along on our nature advent(ure) on our and let us know on social media if you do any of the activities.

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