Thursday, 26 July 2012

Light and sleep

Standard paleo/primal advice is roughly alone the lines of things like when it starts to get dark start to wind down for bed, sleeping in a completely dark room.

I'm not going to argue with the completely dark room bit.

But I do have a problem with the whole when it starts to get dark bit. I live in the UK. I live in the south of England actually so our problem isn't as bad as the likes of Scotland. The difference is noticeable actually. A friend of mine lives near London and regularly travels back up to Scotland. When we spoke last night we talked about light levels and the difference it makes just with that short distance.

According to google Glasgow is about 56 degree N. Where I live is about 50/51 degrees N. Contrast that to 34 for LA. 41 for NY.

What this means is that at this time of year, the height of summer, well I'm sat here about ten past nine and there's still plenty of light for reading outside. In the middle of the winter "dark" is from about mid-afternoon and doesn't clear until a fair way into the morning either!

Summer is actually with us here in the UK at the moment. Which means a couple of weeks of muggy sunny weather. Sunshine is lush but the mugginess is horrible. We don't really do air-con here in the UK because, well, it would probably only get used a couple of weeks a year. So at the moment we're struggling with stuffy over-warm houses that make it difficult to sleep. I heard on the radio this week someone saying that they got so hot they decided to sleep in a tent in the garden. I have considered it myself this week to be honest but it's a bit difficult to sleep in complete darkness when it gets light by half 4. I don't own proper blackout curtains so I'm using blankets over the normal curtains. I've been sleeping badly.

If, for the first time in years, we get a summer that lasts more than a couple of weeks I might try and organise myself so that I get some sleep in when I get home in the afternoon and then do stuff like dog walking and cooking in the middle of the night before getting some more sleep. Because I've been waking up in the middle of the night anyway.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Welcome to urban. paleo. simple

My life has been, and continues to be, complex. I am drawn to a simple life where I can get on with being happy and healthy. My journey started years back where I first encountered ideas of urban homesteads, living simply, and more recently of eating and moving in an ancestral way to promote health. It's been a meandering path and I am by no means near the end. I live in a town that is surrounded by countryside that is a mixture of farmed land, woodland and moorland. I attempt to eat and exercise "paleo". But most of all - I just want a simple life. 

I work a full time job that involves more than an hour's commute each day. It's a challenging job but I love it and would only swap it for a closer job if it was for the same organisation. 

I also suffer from depression and anxiety. This sometimes causes sleeping problems that mean that I struggle with having "enough" energy. 

So much of my time, and a fair wack of my income, is invested at the moment in paid work. My income is modest, below national average but not minimum wage. My only debts are a mortgage, my student loan, and a few hundred quid I owe to my mother from when she sold me her car a few months back. 

I am still learning to budget. Not that I have problems managing my money, but I want to develop my skills further so that I can save more than I already do. I would love to be able to overpay on my mortgage and pay it off early. I dream of the day when there is no rent or mortgage to be paid. 

Moving into my own home last year has been the first time since I was a student that I have had a garden. Sadly, this my first summer has seen a horribly wet summer cause slugs to consume nearly my entire harvest. I've just bought and assembled a chicken coop, but am now wondering whether they're going to end up costing more than than they'll pay in eggs. We'll consume all their eggs and then some, but perhaps I will be able to barter some of the resulting compost for stuff. 

So my challenges at the moment revolve around budgeting, learning to care for chickens, designing and running a very small garden that will still provide food, space for chickens, space for the dog to lounge in the sunshine, and maybe for me to lounge around in as well, and declutter the house whilst living with a hoarder. The person I live with is my ex. We separated because he's straight and I've transitioned from female to male. We're still great friends and enjoy living together. Plus there's the dog to consider. He is self-employed so is useful for practical stuff if and when he can spare the time. Which isn't often. 

My plans for this blog is to share my ongoing journey, my mistakes, my successes, a  few pictures, a few recipes. Recipes will be paleo, but generally fairly frugal. There might even be the odd post about raw feeding my dog too. I like fairly simply things. I love the handmade bowls in my cupboard, the handmade soap in my bathroom, my meals cooked from scratch, picking berries from my garden. I also love F1 and my computer and my DS. I covet an ipad. I would buy new books all the time if I had the money.