On Sunday morning I woke up feeling a bit ‘what’s it all about’. Not a serious, full on, can’t get out of bed mood, but there was a definite heaviness about me as I struggled to full conciousness. Those of you who have had the misfortune to have suffered any kind of depressive episode, from low mood to clinical depression, will know that at the top of all the advice lists around are three things – distraction, exercise and fresh air. In fact one of my own (many) home baked mantras is ‘occupation is the enemy of depression,’ as I do know that when left completely to my own devices I could be very correctly accused of naval gazing, and we all know that no good ever comes of that.
So, I undertook a quick Dr.Dorset Divorcee self diagnosis:-
Q: Had I woken up feeling a bit blue?
Q: Was I so bad that only prescribed chemicals would help?
A: No – this was not a Prozac moment
Q: Did I need to shake my arse and do something lovely with my children and my dog until the feeling passed?
Diagnosis – Sometimes life gets on top of you
Prescription – Fresh air and exercise (see, I told you that’s what they always say)
Two hours later we were all three (plus dog) up, dressed and loading the car for a trip to one of our favourite Dorset beaches, Studland, near Swanage. Studland is the most fabulous beach, a sweeping sandy bay backed by soft sand dunes thick with coconut scented gorse and long elegant grasses. Further on behind the dunes you head into beautiful woodland with a network of paths and loads of hidden places for making dens and camps. The whole area is owned and operated by the National Trust, so it is really well maintained and operated, and members get free parking which is always a bonus.
We had packed some sandwiches at home and we found ourselves a sheltered patch of sand to sit and eat our lunch. It was a lovely sunny day but the wind was cold and as we munched we were totally entertained by the quintessentially British tableau around us. Every aspect of the clothing scale was covered. There were people swimming in the sea, yes actually swimming, and not in wet suits either. There were groups of hikers striding out in chino shorts and walking boots, maps proudly held in a plastic wallet hung round their necks like some sort of orienteering talisman. There were dog walkers wrapped up in coats, scarves and wellies, and teenagers in teeny tiny shorts and crop tops. J Boden esq. was well represented in the stripy clothed Yummy Mummy department, and there was a fair smattering of silver foxes strolling along, cashmere sweaters draped casually over their shoulders. It was odd and funny and interesting and somehow made me glad to be British in a strange sort of way.
We strode out along the sand, stopping when we reached the naturist section of the beach. I wasn’t wearing my glasses (thankfully) but the teen reliably informed me that yes, there were some wrinkles in the nuddy sheltering behind a wind break. We struck out inland through the dunes and on into the woods making a full circle back to the coffee shop for our first beach ice cream of Summer 2015.
As we sat, eating our ice creams feeling the sun on our faces, I took some final lungfuls of sea air and could feel my mood lifting. Operation Cure for a Blue Morning was complete. Those lists were right, godammit.