As we head into the colder months, and possibly bemoan the sometimes icy grip of winter, there lots of positive news out there. And it’s as simple as drinking a hot drink. Let’s face it, very little in life can’t be improved with a hot drink. They can warm us or cool us down. They help numb pain when we’re ill. They even help us see the best in other people.
*Hot drinks are relied upon for waking up, punctuating workdays, welcoming home, relieving poorliness and lulling to sleep. They can be cheering, reviving, relaxing, cooling (if you’re hot) and warming (when you’re cold). And they soften the pace of life. You can’t guzzle a hot drink, it has to be taken slowly (making it the perfect way to measure out breaks), and while you’re sipping and blowing and waiting for that optimum comfortable drinking temperature, you can inhale and warm your nose with the aromatic vapours.
It seems there’s scientific proof that feeling warm on the inside can not only make you seem a friendlier person to others, as apparently if you’re seen cupping a mug of hot tea, chocolate, coffee (or glühwein for that matter), it gives the impression that you’re more approachable.
Warms you up, cools you down
Imbibing hot liquid can be cooling and warming. If you’re hot, it may warm you up a little, but when it reaches thermosensors in the oesophagus and stomach, these react as though the entire body is as hot as the drink, and turn up the sweat flow so much that, provided your clothing allows it to evaporate, you’ll end up cooler than when you started.
Piping hot placebos
In 2008, Professor Ron Eccles of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University decided to study the effect of hot drinks on colds. He gave bunged-up sufferers cups of either hot or room temperature Robinson’s apple and blackcurrant cordial. “What surprised us,” says Eccles, “was how effective the treatment was. Both drinks were beneficial, but the hot drink was much more beneficial.”
It provided “immediate and sustained” relief from coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness.
It’s all about the mug
I don’t know of many people that don’t have a special mug and ‘ware anyone else who puts their grubby paws on that mug.
We become attached to our own drinking vessel of just the right degree of chunkiness, weight, feel and hue; although it’s been shown that heavier crockery generally makes its contents more satisfying.
With all of this good news come the colder months, things are definitely looking up. Even better news is that we at AquAid have plenty of hot water (not hot air) to keep you warm and fuzzy and apparently more approachable (which is good news to those around you) throughout winter. We have a selection of hot water boilers to fit into any niche whether it’s at the office, a construction site, clubhouse or school. Cheers! (Just don’t nick my mug).
*excerpts from an article at The Guardian
I know we bang on a lot about water (no surprise there, Murphy Brown) and most of it’s to do with keeping ourselves happy and hydrated (and our children and the elderly and the animals), but seeing as there’s a whole planet out there that needs water to survive, I thought I’d focus a little on water and growing stuff – like plants and gardens and shrubs and the like.
Here’s a few how to’s for these glorious summer months:
- Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.
- Pressure washers use a lot of water. Use them sparingly and think about what you are doing. If you must use one to wash your patio furniture or bike, do it on the lawn so the water gets recycled.
- Use mulch and bark in your garden to reduce evaporation by up to 70%.
- Think about mixing some drought-resistant bedding and perennial plants to your garden to add diversity. Examples of these perennials are African or French marigolds, petunias, geraniums or campanula.
- Don’t waste water by using a hosepipe to clean your paths, patios and driveways. Use a broom, rake or outdoor blower or vacuum instead.
- Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
- Try not to cut lawns too short. When mowing, cut only the top third of the leaf area, leaving it three centimetres or higher. Reduce water loss even further by saving your lawn clippings to use as mulch on your lawn or garden.
Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add a little postscript here when I remind you to try to avoid using your water cooler to water your shrubs, perennials and gardens. That water is for you, that is!
Lighthouses have long held a fascination for many people, me included. Perhaps it’s to do with the analogy between the wild seas and the shining beacon and staidness that a lighthouse offers; the fact that many lighthouses may have started out in the era of exploration as nothing more than a pile of wood built on the highest point of a promontory, but due to their importance, they were then built to withstand centuries of wild seas and inclement weather or because they signify safety in a wild, watery world.
It could also be because that there’s a dichotomy between the illusion of safety of a lighthouse and those terrible dark days when smugglers and the like used to light false beacons to lure trade ships onto rocky shores so they could pilfer the contents.
Whichever it is, the allure of the lighthouse continues. A few favourites are:
Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, Ireland. The elegant and beautifully waisted tower structure was designed by William Douglass, an engineer with Irish Lights, and was built from coarse-grained Cornish granite apparently came from the Cheeseswring quarry on Bodmin Moor. Over 2,000 blocks were cut and shaped to interlock one into another.
Whiteford Lighthouse, South Wales is the only cast-iron lighthouse in Britain which is wave-washed, although it can be reached on foot at low tide.
Bell Rock Lighthouse, Scotland – The world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse was built on the Bell Rock, 11 miles from the shoreline. First lit in 1811, it stands 35 metres tall and its light is visible from 35 statute miles inland. The challenges faced in the building of the lighthouse have led to it being described as one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.
The Eddystone Lighthouse, England is on the dangerous Eddystone Rocks, 9 statute miles south of Rame Head. The current structure is the fourth to be built on the site. The first and second were destroyed by storm and fire. The third, also known as Smeaton’s Tower, is the best known because of its influence on lighthouse design and its importance in the development of concrete for building.
Lighthouses seem to inspire thousands, if not millions of people – you’ll find more analogies than you can shake a stick at. For the poets among us, I find this quote particularly wonderful:
“What does a lighthouse do? I ask myself. It never moves. It cannot hike up its rocky skirt and dash into the ocean to rescue the foundering ship. It cannot calm the waters or clear the shoals. It can only cast light into the darkness. It can only point the way. Yet, through one lighthouse, you guide many ships. Show this old lighthouse the way.” – Lisa Wingate, The Prayer Box.