We had a bank holiday in the UK on Monday and the weather has been lovely, so I’ve been outdoors harvesting vegetables. Our courgettes have done really well this year. I think putting them in the ground and underplanting them with white clover has helped the nitrogen levels in the soil, which means the plants are big and have lush green leaves.
I’m reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport at the moment. One section of the book talks about the importance of solitude, which Cal defines as “a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds”. He argues solitude is disappearing in modern life because we’re so addicted to our smartphones. We fill moments where we used to be alone with our thoughts with a quick check of social media. The book suggests three practices that can help us reclaim some solitude in our lives.
- Leave your phone at home sometimes, you’ll be fine.
- Go for long walks, preferably without your phone.
- Write down your thoughts using pen and paper.
I read Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders earlier this month. It’s a fascinating look at the internal workings of something we use every day but probably don’t give much thought to, our gut. Here are some interesting facts I learned while reading it:
- Squatting results in better bowel movements than sitting. You can help your bowel movements by leaning forward slightly and putting your feet on a small footstool.
- Alcohol can multiply the number of gas-producing bacteria by a factor of up to a thousand.
- Tummies rumble between meals not because you’re hungry but because you’ve left enough time between meals for your small intestine and stomach to do some cleaning.
- Bacteria do more than just break down our food. They also produce completely new substances. Fresh cabbage, for example, is less rich in vitamins than the sauerkraut it can be turned into.
Finally I just wanted to mention what an exciting summer it has been for English cricket. First the unbelievable world cup final, including that super over. Who could have predicted a drawn match and a drawn super over, which meant the cricket world cup was decided by which team got the most boundaries. Poor New Zealand though, you have to feel for them. I hope in the future they modify the rules so that the teams keep playing super overs until there is a clear winner.
Then Ben Stokes’ incredible innings at Headingley last week in The Ashes third test, just 6 weeks after the world cup final, to take a monumental victory that seemed all but impossible after England went all out for 67 in their first innings. Hopefully the English batting lineup can take some tips from the way Stokes approached the innings. Defensive at first, not taking any risks, then building up to the point where every other ball was a boundary.