Weald and Downland Museum shows how far from nature we've come: OPINION

With autumn just around the corner, it is hard to believe that summer is drawing towards its meteorological close, especially with the recent hot weather and the stifling evenings.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:47 am
The Granary at Weald and Downland

Despite the spells of baking sun, the trees are already dropping russet leaves and the colours of the world around us are beginning to change and evolve.

I visited the Weald and Downland Living Museum with my family last week and overheard some people chatting about nature and, in the main, how we have lost touch with it.

For them, the museum was akin to one giant signpost signaling how far we have come, and not in a positive light. The buildings there and the ways in which they were constructed, highlight how involved with nature we once were, as opposed to technology.

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Seasonal diets, building materials, sources of heat and energy; all based around, and sourced from, nature.

It was fascinating to go into homes and see banisters made from beautiful pieces of wood, complete with natural nobbles and bobbles, as opposed to carefully honed identikit pieces. The quirks in the buildings were so much prettier and stuffed full of character, instead of standing in the regimented estates of nowadays’ new builds.

Gardens were full of edible produce and bread was being baked using the flour that is ground in the water mill, powered by, of course, the water.

Much as so many aspects of modern life have made living easier with opportunities to be healthier, it has also provided us with lazy routes and the temptation of unhealthy ways.

It is a shame not to strike a balance between traditional methods of living and the benefits of contemporary technology in the 21st century.

With the new approach towards plastics and certain non-recyclable materials, we are at least turning our heads in this direction, and thank goodness.

If we were to plow forth with our current disposable ways of living then the earth – as we know it – will no longer be here one day, and that would be an unimaginable shame, not to mention an atrocity on our own hands.

Those ice creams tasted so good at the beginning of the summer

Not only are the trees and plants around us beginning to hint at the approach of a new season, but the evenings are already giving in to an earlier twilight.

I do not mind the cosy nights of autumn but it is disappointing when the UK summer doesn’t kick into gear until around mid-June – right before the nights start getting darker again after the solstice.

It’s always a shame to be packing away the effortless clothing of shorts and T-shirts, ready to be constricted in layers and boots, skinny jeans stuck to legs that didn’t consider the effects of two months’ worth of ice-cream when they were let loose in the aforementioned shorts.

The autumn term is like a fresh page upon which to write

My children are preparing to return to school next week.

I still remember being a child and hating certain high street shops that insisted on putting up a ‘Back to School’ display during the week you broke up.

Talk about rubbing your face in it that summer really couldn’t last forever.

New lunchboxes, school shoes, stationery and uniform. A fresh page on which to begin again, recharged and refreshed.

Given the length of school days and extra-curricular activities, the hard work kids put in, and the hours of homework, I really enjoy seeing my children revel in spontaneity, creativity, and the freedom of youth.

Long may it last.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​