Here at The Friends of Saintbridge Pond, we received a lovely request from a couple of students across the pond in Upstate New York. After carrying out some online research into common British birds, they discovered our web resources. Well done to you both and here is your link. How to Identify the UK’s 10 Most Common Wild Birds Speaking of birds……
This brings me to Bill Baily, author, musician, comedian, and ornithologist.
His most recent outing is Bill Bailey’s remarkable guide to happiness, out now published by Quercus at £20.00 in hardcopy or an ebook. Available below, or at all good bookshops and supermarket outlets.
If you are looking for a light but informative read, this is it. I’m not going to give the plot away, as there isn’t one but there is a theme – happiness and contentment. In his own words, here is an interview he did a couple of years ago about the subjects.
He is tackling the big stuff: happiness, and the divide between our life and our expectations of it:
“I think that generally there’s a pressure to live the best life you can. I genuinely think people want a connection, they want to be a part of something, and yet feel slightly pushed out of that by the pressure and the constant competition to have this ‘great life’. There’s a disconnect between that and how people actually feel and their internal lives.”
“Everything is about options. The person you want to spend time with? You just flick through a few options on your phone. You’re lonely? Here’s an app. And suddenly everything is quantifiable: there are dozens and hundreds of more options for the thing you want to do. It’s more confusing in some ways.”
Not that options would appear to baffle Bill, whose interests run from bird-watching to yoga, and from paddle-boarding to politics. “I’m one for new things: I like new technology, I like new music, I’m not entrenched in some view of what culture should be. I like the fact that it’s constantly changing and that language is changing, that behaviour changes.”
‘I think happiness really happens when you least expect it when you’re not trying to get the perfect holiday, the perfect life, the perfect body, the perfect existence’
Still, he doesn’t seem convinced that the constant change is making people happy, or that people are approaching their own contentment in the right way: “Happiness seems to be a kind of thing that changes to fit whatever the solution is: if it’s a state of a mind, then ooo, look, here are some books to deal with mindfulness. If it’s having a better balance in your life then, ooo, look, we have a book for that.
“I think happiness really happens when you least expect it: it’s when you’re not really thinking about it when you’re not trying to achieve it when you’re not trying to get the perfect holiday, the perfect life, the perfect body, the perfect existence.”
However, the section in this particular book I would like to focus on is Being in Nature…
Citing a quote and reference, these go back to the famous Biologist Edward O Wilson who stated that there is a humans instinct of emotionally connect with nature. Linked to this, the term Ecopsychology, the study of the mental health benefits of being in nature is credited to Theodore Roszak, in his book The Voice of the Earth, published in 1992.
I also want to give a mention to Chris Packham who also has a similar book out at the moment. Follow the link to his site as well as to the book. Check out our social media for more details about it. There are a couple of interesting videos too.
After reading through this section, I noted we had something in common, we’ve both been to Shetland, the most northerly point of the British Isles. https://www.shetland.org/ The sense of connecting with nature was limitless. Flying in from Edinburgh to Sumburgh Airport, a few hundred feet over the rolling waves crashing over the seashore. The high cliffs, the changeable weather, the light and finally looking at the milky way in unpolluted skies. Travelling from the south of Lerwick to the Isle of Unst, knowing that the next stop is either near some ancient brock (fort) or Viking settlement. That’s when you know when the sea fog creeps up the voe, past the bothy and engulfs the local houses and pubs. These trips, I made two, opened my eyes to what life is and the definition of happiness. I came back a changed man.
The final word I will leave Bill & friends…