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The Village Breeze EDITOR Sheila J. Bethell MOBILE 0753 441 3055 SALES 01283 814214 EMAIL info@thevillagebreeze.co.uk

Welcome SEPTEMBER 2020 / ISSUE 108

VISIT www.thevillagebreeze.co.uk

Contents 3

HELLO and Welcome from your Editor

4

PARENTING Back to School

8

GARDENING Autumn Show

8

LOCALLY Measham Gardening Group

10

TRAVEL A Hidden Gem : Ramsgate

12

MOTORING Best Locations for a Road Trip

14

MURRAY CLARKE The Curtain Twitcher

20

HOME INTERIORS Outdoor Dining

22

ANIMAL TALES Dolphins : Heroes of the Sea

24

PUZZLE EXTRA Time Trial

24

COOK Peppered Pork Steak

25

BAKE Crispy Topped Apple Pie

26

HEALTH The Importance of Posture

28

COFFEE BREAK Take 5!

29

FOOD FACTS Potatoes

30

TECHNOLOGY Back to School Tech

DISTRIBUTED TO... Appleby Magna, Donisthorpe, Linton, Measham, Moira, Oakthorpe, Overseal and Snarestone. DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE... 5th September, 2020 DISTRIBUTION... 8,000 copies monthly.

Our cover image... We’ve had some glorious weather during lockdown, admist it all there is still much to enjoy!

H

ello again and welcome…

Happy 9th Anniversary The Village Breeze! Here at The Village Breeze, we are celebrating our 9th anniversary this month! We are so grateful to all of our clients and to our readers for contributing to The Village Breeze magazine’s popularity and success. I cannot believe that we are now celebrating our 9th anniversary; time certainly flies when you’re having fun! I didn’t think when I started the magazine 9 years ago, that it would be as successful as it has been. I receive such great feedback from the readers of the magazine and the comments from my clients are fantastic, it makes me so proud that The Village Breeze is bringing them new customers. These are difficult times we are experiencing and our aim at The Village Breeze is to help the local business community achieve their full potential. Our readers are using local businesses more now than ever during these unprecedented times. So on behalf of our advertisers, I want to thank you the readers, for supporting them. And the thought I will leave you with this month:“There is no elevator to success You have to take the stairs!” Until next time…

Sheila SEPTEMBER 2020

| 03


KATE DUGGAN

PARENTING

Back to

M

ANY children are going back to school in September, some for the first time in months, and it’s natural for them to feel a bit anxious about starting a new school year.

School about. Children pick up on how we’re feeling, so if you remain calm and positive about them returning back to school, then that will really help them to feel reassured.” Get back into a routine Most children prefer some level of routine. Your child may have been going to bed later recently, not showering as often and having more screen time. Help them adjust to a more structured routine over a couple of weeks. Make sure they get enough sleep Work towards returning children to an earlier bedtime, including at weekends. Children need more sleep than adults – six to thirteen year olds can need up to eleven hours of sleep a night.

Prepare your child If your child hasn’t gone back to school yet, find out what will be different compared to before the pandemic. Explain to your child what to expect. Younger children may benefit from acting out some things at home, such as keeping their distance when queueing. Clinical psychologist Dr Emma Millar recommends asking if the school can “take pictures or videos of the changes so your child knows what to expect, as that will aid the transition process.” Talk to your child It’s important children know they can talk to you about their concerns. Some like to have your full attention while others prefer it when they don’t need to make eye contact, such as when you’re driving or cooking. Recognise that you can’t ‘solve’ their concerns, but you can discuss coping strategies. If your child doesn’t want to talk, try reading together and talking about how the character feels in different situations. Encourage excitement Don’t forget to talk about the positives of returning to school, such as seeing friends and playtime. Dr Emma Millar says, “Discuss what they’re excited

04 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE

Mindfulness and meditation Mindfulness and meditation can help children and adults to feel calmer and more in control. Older children might benefit from Headspace’s guided meditations. For younger children, try the ‘Sitting Still Like a Frog’ book and CD by Eline Snel. More information 'Helping your Child with Fears and Worries’ by Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts is worth reading. The book is packed with practical advice on helping children to deal with fears, worries and anxiety, and isn’t written like a medical textbook! The following websites have useful resources and information: • www.camhs-resources.co.uk • www.youngminds.org.uk/blog/supporting-a-childreturning-to-school-after-lockdown Extra support All children feel anxious and worried sometimes. However, up to 15% of children experience anxiety disorders, which can stop them enjoying day-to-day life and lead to more long-term issues. So don’t be afraid to ask for help: your child’s school may be able to offer advice, or your GP may be able to refer them for extra support.


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SEPTEMBER 2020 | 07


GARDENING

Autumn Show

N

OW that autumn is upon us, leaves, shrubs and climbers grab our attention with their change of colours, transforming to scarlets, reds and golds. So why not include some in your garden? Climbing plants with spectacular autumn colour include Parthenocissus quniquefolia, or Virginia creeper, a sizeable climber that can be used to clothe walls without a support system. In autumn the leaves are numerous shades of scarlet, orange and red. For less extensive covering, consider Parthenocissus henryana. Its divided leaves are a dark green to bronzy colour with pretty silvery white veins that turn to rich red in autumn. Another autumn climber, Vitis coignetiae, grows rapidly and has huge heart-shaped leaves with splendid scarlet and crimson colours come the autumn. It can be grown through large trees and over sturdier supports, and the colours often improve in poor soil! Amelanchier lamarckii (snowy mespilus or serviceberry) is a large shrub covered with lovely whitish blossom in spring. The emerging leaves change from a coppery colour to bright green, but in autumn the entire shrub almost appears to be on ďŹ re. The small-scale blueberry is an acid-loving, boggy-soilneeding plant that turns into a miniature ball of ďŹ re once it takes on its autumn colour, and two or more plants will provide a crop of delicious fruit.

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PIPPA GREENWOOD

Fothergilla major or Witch Alder is a smallish to medium-sized shrub whose bare stems will be covered with scented creamy-white spiky flower clusters early in the year. The foliage changes from pale green to shades of yellow and orange in the autumn. It needs a lime-free or acidic soil and does not do so well in a tub. Cotinus or smoke bush also has fantastic autumn colours, and is a shrub with attractively rounded leaves in shades of green, pinkish-orange or purple. The fluffy seed heads look just like little clouds or plumes of smoke.

For smaller gardens it’s hard to beat one of the Japanese maples with their stunning divided leaves turning rich purples, reds, oranges and yellows, depending on which one you have planted. They do well in large tubs and are perfect for a sheltered back yard or patio, and look great in a bed or border.

Making the Best of Autumn Colour Potential • To help choose plants for autumn colour, why not visit local garden centres or an arboretum? If possible, buy autumn colour plants now so you can see the precise shades that the various plants have to offer. • Check the ultimate height and spread of trees or shrubs you’re considering – there’s no use planting something that will outgrow its space in a couple of years’ time. • Planting at this time of year works well but wait for better conditions if your garden soil is very wet. In dry soil plants still need watering well, and the soil around the roots must be kept moist once the plants are in the ground. Visit Pippa’s website (www.pippagreenwood.com) to book Pippa for a gardening talk at your gardening club or as an after-dinner speaker. SEPTEMBER 2020 | 09


TRAVEL

SOLANGE HANDO

A Hidden Gem :

T

UCKED away on Thanet, an 'Isle' only by name, Ramsgate has everything you would expect from a traditional seaside resort (without the crowds) and a few surprises to keep you on your toes. First, Ramsgate claims the only Royal Harbour in the country, a title granted by George IV when he sailed across the Channel in 1821. The memorial obelisk is still there but on a bright sunny day you'll be blown away by one of the largest marinas on the south coast. Rigging tinkles in the breeze, yachts in all shapes and sizes glisten along the pontoons and you can book a harbour cruise or a fishing trip, sail to see the wind farm or the seal colony on the Goodwind Sands, or just wander along the quay when the last fishermen bring in the catch. Peep into the tiny sailor's chapel dug in the cliff, below Jacob's ladder, then head for the listed Clock House, home to the Maritime Museum, and enjoy the vibrant café culture all around, ice cream, cool drinks, fish and chips and more. The jetty is right there, a lovely place for fresh air and stunning views, harbour on one side, vast golden sands on the other dotted with parasols, buckets and spades, where little Victoria, the future Queen, spent many happy summers. When the tide is right, you could walk all the way to Broadstairs, the next resort, along the promenade or on the sand. Up on the cliffs, the town is well worth exploring for

Ramsgate its Georgian and Regency buildings and superb esplanades looking out to sea. On the beach side, the Marina Esplanade leads to the bandstand (a musical treat in summer), the historic War Tunnels and George VI Memorial Park, which is part of the Viking Coastal Trail. Take a break in the restored Italianate Glasshouse and look out for the mysterious parakeets squawking in the trees, having escaped, some say, from an Indian ship. In the other direction, red-bricked Victorian arches climb above the harbour to the Royal Esplanade, lush lawns, rose garden, boating lake and a 'wild' sandy beach meandering below white cliffs. Any more surprises? Indeed: a fair walk or a quick drive and as you reach Pegwell Bay, would you expect a Viking ship glowing in the summer light? 'Hugin' sailed from Denmark in 1949, a life-sized replica manned by fifty-three men whose only instrument was a sextant, a heroic deed even today, marking 1,500 years since the invasion and the betrothal of the Viking princess to the King of Kent. Continue along the coastal trail and you will find a country park laced in cycling and walking trails, an enticing spot to watch the birds (hide provided) and gaze at myriad species of flowering plants, including wild orchids. Meanwhile a tiny spark of history beckons just inland, a lonely Celtic cross dedicated to St Augustine who landed long ago on this glorious stretch of the Sunrise Coast.

Solange Hando...”Be a Travel Writer, Live your Dreams, Sell your Features.” 10 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE


SEPTEMBER 2020 | 11


MOTORING

Best Locations for a

Road Trip

T

HIS year brought unprecedented changes to our freedom to travel as we wish. However, we can now turn our attention to what we'll do with the relaxation of lockdown. With that in mind, here are a few road trip ideas.

Scottish Highlands. The Scottish Highlands are famous for their endless rolling hills and otherworldly mountainous landscapes, including Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest peak. Renting a car at Glasgow airport for the drive to Fort William lets you take in the gorgeous Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Snowdonia. It’s a similar story in Wales, with epic scenery along with some of the most exciting roads in the UK. Keen drivers should try to take in the roads around Bala.

Nurburgring. Nurburgring is known as The Green Hell, with the formidable circuit winding through the beautiful Eifel forest for a ludicrous 12.9-mile stretch. It’s open to the public or it’s free to park up by the track and watch others have a go, or perhaps take in one of the official races. Route Napoleon. Loosely following the route taken by Napoleon in his 1815 escape from Elba to Grenoble in France, this is a 200-mile stretch of twisting tarmac close to the Alps with breathtaking scenery.

About an hour north, Anglesey offers more picturesque views and some fantastic ocean drives.

Lake District. Climb Scafell Pike along with Snowdon and Ben Nevis and you’ve completed the Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the tallest spots in Scotland, Wales and England. With hills, lake and forests, the Lake District is steeped in history and there’s something for everyone.

The roads are largely well-sighted, meaning you can enjoy driving without being concerned that other vehicles could appear out of nowhere.

Stelvio Pass. The Stelvio Pass is situated in northern Italy close to the Swiss border. It’s ideal for hairpin fans because this mountain pass snakes its way down steep Alpine mountains via seemingly endless switchbacks. There can be no arguments that the Stelvio Pass is pure bucket list material.

Trollstigen. Driving in Norway is a unique experience, with scenic fjords, mountains resulting in fun-to-drive roads and some of the world’s longest road tunnels. Wild Atlantic Way. The 1,500 mile Wild Atlantic Way is a tourism trail on the west coast of Ireland. Unless you have three or four weeks to spare it’s probably best to pick the section that appeals most rather than cram it all into a week or two. There’s plenty to see, with highlights such as the Skellig Islands, the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher and Killary Harbour. 12 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE

The main attraction is Trollstigen (Trolls’ Path), which features a steep incline of ten per cent with eleven hairpin bends and waterfalls cascading down the roadside rocks. Just remember to go in summer, because it’s closed during winter.

Bruges. Bruges might seem like an outlier in this list but is the perfect city break location, and is just 90 minutes from Calais. The ideal choice for a weekend away in Europe!


SEPTEMBER 2020 | 13


MURRAY CLARKE

SHORT STORY

The Curtain I’m a twitcher. Apparently. But not in the popular sense of the word. I’m certainly not one of those oddballs who spend their time on the look out for rare birds. Oh dear me, no! I like observing . . . PEOPLE! The other day, in Aldi’s, I just happened to overhear Martha McGinty from number 7 talking to Mrs. What’s-Her-Name at 25. She had the cheek to refer to me as a “twitcher”! Me! I ask you! Anyway, I get a real thrill sitting by my lounge window sipping a cup of strong tea and nibbling on a choccy biscuit or three. Skulking behind the floral curtains. Watching the world go by. “There’s nowt wrong wi’ that” — as they say in Yorkshire! Since retiring from my lifetime job at the local hosiery factory last year, I find I have time on my hands. My hubby, Fred, is often down the village bowling club with his old cronies — so: “Put the kettle on, Hilda,” I tell myself. Now let me see . . . How long does it take to deliver three pints of milk? He’s been across at number 12 for ages! Samantha Wagstaff — what are you like! Bet she has gold top! Mind you, he is very handsome! Have you seen his biceps! I see the Smythe-Manns at number 18 have bought another new car — one of those fancy convertible Range Rover things! Beats me how they can afford it! Mind you, have you seen the state of their kids? Dressed in rags! It’s easy to see what they spend their money on! Still, I wouldn’t mind a sports car like that myself! But on our pensions — no chance! Oh, would you listen to that — those poor dogs barking again at number 21! Two large Alsatians. Left alone inside the small terraced house since seven this morning! Yesterday, the owners didn’t get home until after six-thirty! Almost twelve hours. Makes me so angry. I ought to report them to the RSPCA. These chocolate biscuits don’t taste like they used to. Much thinner. Less chocolate. I’m sure they’re

Twitcher made abroad now . . . somewhere like China, or Bangladesh, or Glasgow. There she goes again — Lottie Lancaster from number 14. Where’s she off to this time, dolled up like I don’t know what! If her skirt was any shorter she’d be flashing her… Teenagers! In my day, Dad would’ve given me a cuff around the head for dressing like that. Young girls today don’t know they’re born! The Burns family at number 5 must have money to burn — oops, sorry about the pun! That’s the fifth delivery they’ve had from Amazon this week, and it’s only Wednesday! You should see the size of some of the parcels! So much cardboard! I often wonder what’s inside them. The long plastic bags with coat hangers — they’ll be dresses. How many clothes can one woman wear? Last week a humungous white van pulled up outside their house and the driver carried a package no bigger than a matchbox to the front door. How eco-friendly is that! Did I ever tell you about the Cuthberts at number 15? Marge and Lou. Got a small son aged about ten. Recently, they were always popping out on their own, without him — often ‘til late at night. Disgraceful. I was about to go round and give them a piece of my mind, when an ambulance pulled up. Turns out the boy’s been seriously ill in hospital for over a month; almost died. Well, they could have told me! You’ll never guess — we had a murder in the village last year! The nice bloke at number 13 strangled his wife! Can you believe it? Blood everywhere, so Jean from next door said. He caught her having an affair with Paddy the postie — the wife, not Jean, silly! There’s certainly never a dull moment living in this village. But here’s me chuntering on . . . Fred‘ll be back from his bowls any minute. Better go. He’ll be wanting his tea. Now, what’s that hoodie doing with that bicycle...

Murray Clarke is one of our local contributors. Email: murrayclarke@btinternet.com 14 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE


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SEPTEMBER 2020

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KATHERINE SORRELL

HOME INTERIORS

Dining Outdoor

W

ITH comfortable, practical furnishings – and a dose of good weather – there is nothing nicer than eating al fresco.

These days we treat our outside spaces more as an extra room, with dining chairs and a table plus sofas and armchairs, side tables, lighting, rugs or outdoor kitchens.

Placing your dining furniture Pick a place near to the kitchen door so that you can get food and drink in and out easily, making sure it enhances the overall setting. Make sure there is enough space, the ground is level and dry, there are no overhanging branches and it is not too sunny or shady.

What to choose? You could have: a bar set that takes up little space; a large table with six or eight chairs for formal dining; a casual dining set with a sofa and lower chairs; or a small bistro set for two. Options include dual-height tables for both dining and lounging, or a gas-powered fire-pit table. Modern outdoor furniture is comfortable, low maintenance and durable, and available in a huge

Luxurious touches Outdoor cushions add comfort, colour and pattern. Consider a side-post parasol that raises, lowers, tilts and rotates, and has a light and a Bluetooth speaker. Lighting could be an oversized garden chandelier, a giant floor lamp or a row of torcherès. Perhaps add an outdoor rug made from weatherproof polypropylene or a tabletop pizza oven.

Flexible lighting External lighting lets you enjoy your outside space later into the evenings, highlights interesting features, helps guide you safely in the dark and provides additional security. Outdoor lighting circuits must conform to Building Regulations, so use a qualified electrician. • A floodlight with a wide beam, set at least two metres off the ground, is effective at providing general light.

number of styles and materials. For a more traditional feel, opt for natural rattan, Lloyd Loom, teak or oak, in generous, curving shapes, while a more modern space might incorporate steel, aluminium, outdoor wicker or upholstered, weatherproof fabric, featuring slim, angular forms and a minimal outline. 20 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE

• Wall lights are ideal for passageways and either side of entrances. Security sensors can switch lights on when a visitor approaches. • Use spotlights to highlight specific elements. • For a party atmosphere, wind strings of lights around trees, posts and trellises. • If you have no outside power, consider solar lights or battery-operated LEDs. They are inexpensive and easy to install, and available in a range of styles.


SEPTEMBER 2020 | 21


KATE MCLELLAND

ANIMAL TALES

A

Dolphins : Heroes of the Sea

T the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, USA, Kelly the Dolphin has been causing quite a splash.

As part of the institute’s training programme, these much-loved marine mammals have been taught to pick up any litter that drops in their pool in order to swap it for a fish reward. The system was working well until one dolphin, known as Kelly, had other ideas. After finding a large piece of paper floating on the water, she hid it under a rock at the bottom of the pool instead of giving it to her trainer. She then tore off bits of the paper, getting a fish for each new piece she presented and thus maximising her fish quota.

The ancient Greeks believed them to be messengers of the sea god, Poseidon, and they were also sacred to the gods Aphrodite and Apollo. Killing a dolphin was considered a sacrilegious act. The Romans took their spiritual connection with dolphins one step further by imagining them to be guides who led the souls of the dead to the Islands of the Blessed. There have also been many stories that describe dolphins as rescuers of ships and drowning humans.

By hiding the paper in the first place, Kelly showed that she was able to delay gratification, and researchers have admitted that her scheme to split the paper into separate pieces shows quite sophisticated thinking on her part. The shell trick A recent study published in the scientific journal Current Biology shows just how resourceful dolphins can be. In Shark Bay, Western Australia, a whole pod of dolphins has been observed using empty shells as spoons. This activity, which has become known as ‘shelling’, involves a dolphin chasing a fish into a giant shell then trapping it by pushing its nose into the opening. After that, the dolphin will take the shell up to the surface and shake it to release the excess water. When the water has poured out of the shell, the dolphin tips the trapped fish into its open mouth. Dolphins in legend Our relationship with dolphins goes back as long as people have fished and travelled the seas. They were familiar in Greek and Roman art, where illustrations on coins, pottery and mosaic floors show leaping dolphins ridden by gods and demigods.

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A dolphin hero One such dolphin, nicknamed ‘Pelorus Jack,’ was famous for helping ships pass through the dangerous waters of Cook Strait, New Zealand, between 1888 and 1912. Despite the rocks and strong currents, no shipwrecks were ever recorded when Jack was present as a guide. Named after a nearby coastal area called Pelorus Sound, he was so important to shipping that he became the only individual sea creature to be protected by law in any country in the world. Mankind has long believed that dolphins are gifted with a rare intelligence and studies such as those carried out in the USA and Australia are helping us understand just how brainy they really are. No wonder we feel such a strong bond and sense of kinship with these lively, graceful and resourceful sea creatures.


SEPTEMBER 2020 | 23


COOK

SERVES 4 • READY IN 35 MINS

Steak

Peppered Pork

Pork steaks are great value and quick to cook. Try them with this tasty vegetable and apple topping for a filling midweek meal. Serve with steamed broccoli and potato gratin, if liked.

YOU WILL NEED... • • • • • • • • • • • •

4 thick-cut pork steaks 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried oregano 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced 2 small turnips, peeled and diced 1 tbsp olive oil 15g butter 1 onion, roughly chopped 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced 100ml apple juice 1 tsp Dijon mustard

HERE’S WHAT TO DO... 1 Place the pork steaks in a shallow dish. Mix together the pepper, thyme and oregano, and sprinkle half the mixture over the pork steaks, turning to coat. Set aside. 2 Parboil the diced vegetables in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain well. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and vegetables and sauté for 6-8 minutes until almost tender, stirring frequently. 3 Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Add the pork steaks and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until seared and just cooked through. Remove from the pan, cover tightly with foil and rest for 10 minutes. 4 Add the diced apple to the sautéed veg and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until tender and golden, then stir in the remaining pepper and herb mix along with the apple juice and mustard, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve the pork steaks topped with the sautéed veg and any pan juices.

TOP TIP...

You can use butternut squash or courgette instead of the parsnip and turnips – you won’t need to parboil them before sautéing.

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BAKE

SERVES 8 • READY IN 100 MINS PLUS CHILLING & COOLING

Crispy Topped

Apple Pie Make the most of the abundance of homegrown apples at this time of year with this delicious deep-dish apple pie. Serve with cream, custard or ice cream.

YOU WILL NEED... • 500g ready-made shortcrust pastry, thawed if frozen • Flour, for dusting • 1kg eating apples, peeled, cored and diced • 100g caster sugar • 2 tsp ground cinnamon • 1 tbsp lemon juice • 1 egg, beaten • 40g unsalted butter • 40g light soft brown sugar • 50g toasted flaked almonds

HERE’S WHAT TO DO... 1 For the pastry case, roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a greased 23cm round spring-form cake tin (the pastry needs to come right up the sides of the tin). Chill in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 1900C, 1700C fan, gas mark 5. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up. 2 For the filling, place the diced apples in a bowl and stir in the caster sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case. Brush the rim of the pastry case with beaten egg. Roll out the rest of the pastry to a circle large enough to cover the filling, and drape over the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal then trim off any excess pastry. Brush the top with beaten egg. 3 Bake the pie on the preheated baking sheet for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is pale golden. 4 For the crispy topping, heat all the ingredients in a medium pan and let bubble for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and gently spread the hot mixture over the top of the pie. Return the pie to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until the topping is crunchy. Serve warm or cold.

TOP TIP... Replace the apples with diced pears if liked, or try a mix of both. SEPTEMBER 2020

| 25


CATHERINE ROSE

HEALTH

The Importance of

P

Posture

OSTURE is the way we carry and position our body throughout our daily physical activities. Poor posture can lead to a variety of muscular-skeletal issues including chronic pain and joint degeneration, so being aware of best posture is important. If you have had bad posture for a long time (and most of us do) it will feel very alien at first when you try to correct it, as the body wants to keep doing what it is used to. However, perseverance, with regular exercise to strengthen muscle tone, will result in your posture improving without you having to constantly think about it. For a good seated posture your knees should be slightly lower than your hips, so you need to position your chair height accordingly. If you work at a computer, ensure that the screen is at a comfortable eye level and you are not having to hunch forward or bend your neck. Sit with your feet flat on the floor facing forwards, a hip-width apart, and straighten your back so that your tailbone ‘sticks out’ rather than your back being rounded. Your spine should form a gentle ‘S’ curve. Finally, make a conscious effort to lower your shoulders, slightly pushing your shoulder blades back and down at the same time. You may need to do this more than once as we all tend to naturally carry our shoulders in a raised, rounded position, which over time can lead to muscle tightness, tension headaches and back or neck pain. Exercise and core stability are important when maintaining good posture. Muscles weaken and muscle fibres shorten without regular movement and exercise, leading to potential joint and ligament issues. Stretching exercises two or three times a week will

26 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE

help relieve tension, increase circulation and maintain muscle condition. Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise that are excellent for improving tone, flexibility and posture. There are classes available for all levels. Ergonomic furniture and aids can help with best posture, for example a lumbar support cushion. Always ensure that your furniture supports you. A squashy chair that is too low and difficult to get out of may not be the best thing for your posture. Likewise, your mattress should properly support your back when you sleep. To check this, notice if your spine is straight when you lie on your side. If not, it may be time to change your mattress. Your pillow should also cradle your neck so that it is in alignment with the spine. Bad posture not only physically impacts on our body, it has also been proven to have a detrimental psychological effect. Charles Darwin first scientifically documented the link between movement and emotion in his studies of humans and animals. If you have concerns about your posture and suffer from chronic pain, visit your GP who can refer you to the appropriate health professional, such as an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor.


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SEPTEMBER 2020 | 29


TECHNOLOGY

Back to

T

School tech

ECHNOLOGY has always been an important tool for schoolchildren and students, but it’s even more important now: during lockdown it became clear that children and teenagers with access to appropriate technology were better placed for remote learning than those without. Lockdown may be over, but if infection rates rise again then we could go back to ‘blended learning’ where some or all of the school week has to take place at home – and older children are expected to use technology for homework even when things are normal. And of course, technology isn’t just for studying. It’s also for having fun: video chatting with friends, playing games, bingeing on TV box sets and taking advantage of apps. And that means buying tech can be a challenge: what should you buy if you want something that’s useful for school or college work as well as leisure time? We think these products should be in your tech shopping list. Apple’s iPad has no real rivals, so if a tablet is your preferred option that’s the one to go for: even the cheapest one is incredibly powerful and flexible; however, it’s also eminently breakable, so consider a protective case and gadget insurance too. Apple may seem like the go-to choice for laptops too, but its Mac laptops are much more expensive than equally powerful Windows PCs. There are lots of really great Windows laptops for very good prices, and Microsoft’s Surface range is stylish as well as powerful. We’ve also given some thought to getting online when there isn’t good broadband available, and to something that’s as important as any PC’s processor or tablet’s tech: the backpack it’s going to be carried around in. 1. iPad Apple’s world-beating tablet is portable, powerful and has all the apps you need, and with the latest software update it’s also a real alternative to many laptops. It’s £379 from Apple.com. 2. Microsoft Surface Go 2 Many schools and colleges are based on Windows apps and require a Windows computer. Microsoft’s Surface Go runs the full version of Windows 10 and is desirable, portable and very affordable – it’s £399 from Microsoft.com. 3. Fjällräven Kånken Laptop Backpack A sturdy, padded backpack is important for carrying tablets or laptops around, and while the Fjällräven Kånken is one of the more expensive ones it’s beautifully made and very fashionable. Be careful, though: this brand is widely counterfeited so only buy from reputable retailers. It costs from £71 at Amazon.co.uk. 4. Huawei Mobile Wi-Fi dongle. If your child can’t get a fast, reliable internet connection for studying this dongle connects to the 4G mobile phone network and creates a Wi-Fi network you can connect multiple devices to. It costs from £22 per month at three.co.uk. 5. Logitech Crayon Logitech’s tablet stylus is as much fun as an Apple Pencil but it’s an awful lot cheaper. It’s great for drawing and note-taking, and it works on the current iPad and the iPad Pro. It’s £65 from Logitech.com. 30 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE


AUGUST 2020 | 31


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The Village Breeze - September 2020  

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