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Is sunshine good for office workers?

Is sunshine good for office workers?

When the first sustained period of sunshine comes after the long dark winter, people tend to go a bit mad, and gobble up as much of the sunshine as they can. We even went for an impromptu picnic on Sunday – although onto a piece of green land surrounded by busy roads, so it’s rather arguable how close to nature we got.

However, during the week, what can I do to take advantage of all this sunshine? Sure, I could go out and sit on the lawn – but then what? My brain won’t switch off from worrying about emails, and it’s not as if I’ll be hanging out with my team – i tried to organise a work celebration lunch three times but scheduling conflicts always seemed to get in the way. And going further afield for a spot of good lunch seems rather impractical.

So I end up grabbing a lunch from somewhere, and sitting back at my desk – with the brief exposure to noon sunshine enough to convince me that it’s bloody hot out there, and I should head back inside to the safety of my desk and emails.

Oddly, I then started IMing my wife, asking if she and our son had been outside for a bit of sun yet. Why is it that I’m eager for our baby son to have some sunshine (albeit with protection) when I tend to run and hide from it?

Britain’s collective summer amnesia

Britain’s collective summer amnesia

Why does it always rain on me??

Every summer, Britain seems to get collective amnesia at the first sight of substantial rain. Even now, on Twitter, lots of UK people are lamenting Where has our summer gone?.

This somewhat neglects the fact that less than 6 weeks ago, we were in the middle of a summer heatwave, with hosepipe bans and weather health alerts posted. For days and days it seemed as if the weather would do nothing but bake golden sunshine.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but it happens EVERY YEAR. And without fail, people will come back to work in August or September and lament where has my summer gone. It hasn’t gone anywhere – we had it, and we loved it at the time. Remember?

Total eclipse of the sun…

Total eclipse of the sun…




Solar eclipse

Originally uploaded by mclarenjk

Ten years ago today, the UK went solar eclipse crazy, knowing that one faint corner of the British Isles (Cornwall and Devon basically) would be seeing a total eclipse.

While Mr McLaren (who I didn’t know at the time) took pics from his student union, I was a bit older – earning a wage in fact. So I decided to splash out and get to Cornwall the only way that was possible from London.

For the princely sum of £100 (which was very expensive in those days, but now is the average price of a ticket to Leeds), I could get a seat on the Solar Eclipse Express, a specially commissioned train that would get people from London Paddington to Penzance, in Cornwall to watch this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. (The next UK total eclipse being in 2090.

Of course, what we got for our £100 was a knackered ye olde train that had probably previously seen service during Agatha Christie’s era. Full of very sleepy, slightly grouchy passengers who weren’t looking forward to a six-hour train ride to Cornwall.

But somehow, the train wheezed past Paddington, and eventually arrived in Cornwall – to incredibly cloudy skies. You couldn’t really see much of anything in the sky – and the landscape was full of day-tripping tourists like me looking upwards for any sign of sun.

And when the time of totality came, it got dark. It got darker. People oooh’ed. Birds stopped crowing. Street lights came on – finally answering the question as to whether they had light sensors or not. People whispered.

Then it got lighter again – far more quickly than when it’d gotten dark.

And that was the solar eclipse. I was also trapped in Penzance for another six hours before the train back – and there’s only so many Cornish pasties you can munch on.

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