It barely seems like any time since 30 Days Wild started – though also seems a lifetime ago, While I’ve been embracing living ‘wild’ for a while, it’s safe to say that I upped my game a little for 30 Days Wild.
This means my month has been full of happy memories – and my kitchen has been full of bottles, steeping flower petals and herb leaves all over the floor (it’s near impossible to strip carrier bags full of thyme without getting some on the floor. Lemon balm was considerably more controllable, by comparison. And then there’s the stickiness of enthusiastic fizz…).
I ‘brought the outdoor indoors’ almost every day in June, and a post-#30DaysWild clean is definitely in order. Nature can be messy, though that is half the fun too…
My flat is now full of happy memories. The bottle gardens made from the plastic bottles I litter picked now line every window sill.
The glass bottles I litter picked are now filled with elderflower and rose petal, lemon balm and redcurrant champagne with ingredients picked at my local community allotment.
The egg shell ships and pressed flower pictures made in my efforts to avoid waste during 30 Days Wild are waiting to find a home.
After going wild for 30 days, I need to take a little time to be calm…
That’s not to say I have any regrets. 30 Days Wild added colour to my life. I liked my flat at the end of May, not least because it has an excellent view of the canal.
However, now I love it. It’s full of rainbows wherever you look: a cocktail making collection every colour of the rainbow; a miniature festival full of faerie folk on my living room table; a desk that’s got wilder and more colourful with every passing day and so many crafting projects that I’ve lost count.
I’ll share some recent photographs of the above (it’s all grown…) once I’ve had a chance to get my drinks into decorative bottles, my table festival properly lit and my desk ‘litter picked’. I got so many photos on day 30 that there isn’t the space to include them in this post!
The final day of 30 Days Wild 2017 started with an appointment at the pain clinic. I was in a rush so didn’t get a chance to connect with nature first thing.
However, I made up for it by telling my clinician about 30 Days Wild when he asked about my coping mechanisms. He was impressed by the way I managed my condition – to the extent that he said he’d love it if I could talk to his other patients – so I gave him the citation for the 30 Days Wild research, along with a recommendation that he read it.
On the way home from the hospital, my partner had planned something special. I’d asked him whether there was a Wildlife Trust nature reserve anywhere near the hospital, so we could visit it on our way home.
He’d not only found one – Cossington Meadows – but also suggested we stopped at Watermead Country Park on the way back. I was a little concerned about time as I had work to do, but as it was day 30 of 30 Days Wild, I couldn’t turn down a chance to connect with nature.
I’m glad I didn’t. At Watermead, I met goslings for the first time. I fell in love. They are bolder and more vocal than ducklings, and were clearly used to people.
The geese were adorable too: something that surprised me as I was terrified of them as a child, thanks to passing some mean geese that hissed on my way to school.
After today’s experience, I can only assume those geese had been treated badly or trained to be aggressive.
The geese we fed were sweet, if noisy, and gentle when they surged towards us for food. It seemed as if they were honking a polite, ‘feed me’ – and feed them we did.
After that, we headed across the car park to look at a mammoth. It was at the top of a hill, which was a little too demanding for me to climb, but I managed to get a picture.
It started to rain but we were undeterred. We headed to Cossington Meadow regardless and were gratified when the rain stopped almost as soon as we got out the car.
I took the opportunity to splash in a puddle.
Even on a grey day, Cossington Meadow was idyllic. There was a wonderful ‘tree guardian’ at the entrance (or at least I could see a clear face in it – Can you?)
Once we were in the meadows, there were wildflowers galore, including some with seed pods that I’m sure must have inspired Maleficent’s costume. I’ve never seen monochrome plant life before, and am glad I have now.
I found myself admiring the stamen in the flowers. I’m intrigued by the way they are all such different shapes.
I need to look deeper into it to find out why stamens come in so many shapes and sizes: I suspect it’s for the simple reason that nature is wonderfully diverse (something it would be good for people who label others ‘unnatural’ to remember…)
I also admired the pebbles. There was a real mixture of stones and I couldn’t resist picking up a flint that looked like an arrow head.
It seemed naturally formed rather than shaped, and I want to try turning it into a blade, though I need to investigate the best way to do it (if anyone from the Wildlife Trusts is reading, my apologies for taking something away from the nature reserve, which is technically against the Countryside Code. I think everyone should be taught the Countryside Code as a core part of their schooling and try to respect it. I promise I’ll use it my flint for helping nature.)
I was saddened to see a cigarette butt on the floor, and picked it up. The rest of the meadows seemed thankfully litter free – aside from a few pieces of ‘litter’ left by thoughtless dog owners.
I have to draw the line somewhere, and cleaning up dog mess without a carrier bag is a step too far, even after all my random acts of wildness. However, I’m hoping the offenders feel ashamed of themselves (the humans, not the dogs: I’m sure the dogs would clean up after themselves if they had opposable thumbs).
My partner and I spent some time chasing butterflies in the hope of photographing them.
He managed to get a few shots but I wasn’t fast enough (aside from one that he is photographing above – can you spot it?) He also managed to get a photo of the greenfly that befriended me.
I mostly learned that butterflies move fast (to be fair, I’m not sure whether they were butterflies or moths – or, of course, fairies. If they were the latter, it’s no wonder most people are rubbish at finding fairies, given the speed at which they move )
We headed home – though we did stop at a supermarket where I bought three plants for £5, to complete the floral rainbow I have growing between my various containers.
On my return home, I looked at the kitchen – with a sink full of litter-picked bottles that I was soaking the labels off, ready to fill with foraged drink.
I looked at the living room, which has natural crafting materials almost everywhere you look (and fairyland on the table).
I looked at my desk, which was piled high with nature books I’d gathered together to inspire my 30 Days Wild activities, only to leave unopened all month because nature was so inspirational.
And I knew that not only was I going to go #365DaysWild, but I was #WildforLife. I’ve planted the seeds of many ideas during 30 Days Wild. I can’t wait to see how they grow by 30 Days Wild 2018….
It’s National Meadows Day on July 1st. I didn’t realise this when I went to Cossington, but am pleased I have meadow pictures I can share that show how important it is that we protect – and invest in – meadows.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to donate all July profits from my book Go Wild: Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature to the Wildlife Trusts. I’d planned to donate June profits, as I don’t have huge amounts of money.
However, I do have lots of words inspired by 30 Days Wild, and I decided one month’s profits wasn’t a big enough donation to recognise the joy #30DaysWild has brought me. I want to raise lots of money to help the Wildlife Trusts continue to inspire other people – and protect the wonderful world we live in.
I’m also going to be trying to stay in touch with the people that I ‘met’ through 30 Days Wild, whether through blog swaps, trading ideas, collaborating on projects or simply following on social media.
I’m hoping that Transition Loughborough and/or The Crop Club will be interested in the idea of a #MidlandersGoWild gathering of some kind in Loughborough (comment on this if you’d like to be informed of any gathering.) I’ll be looking for other ways to maintain the nature connection with other nature lovers too, so do get in touch if you have any ideas. And if you took part in 30 Days Wild, please do continue to share your wild adventures with me on social media. Together, we can grow the nature love.