Back from the North- A Thought for the New Year by Fatma Sabet
I travelled with my family to the Lake District where we spent Christmas holiday playing chess, cooking, hiking, climbing and exploring new fells in mesmerising Cumbria. We climbed Catbells, a child-friendly fell with spectacular views over Derwent Water lake outside Keswick. At the end of 5 hours, we had an incredible sense of achievement, and it certainly was the ‘highlight of Christmas for us.
We spent the last few days of the year enjoying a bit of history and finding out about the Vikings in the beautiful city of York. It was fascinating to experience live how Vikings lived in Copper Gate, a Viking age street that has been reconstructed based on archaeological findings in Jorvik Viking Centre; a must do if you are in the area. We were able to go back to 10th century and see how their houses looked like inside out, their pass times, diet, and how rich their life was in terms of arts and craftsmanship, music, poetry and traditional story-telling.
I have always been fascinated by the life and culture of these Norsemen, their creativity, bravery and art of living and self-care. Having said that, I have learnt that Vikings didn’t have it easy at all. It’s bizarre how we can become too fond of certain parts of history and be oblivious of other parts.
In my case, my imagination was full of images of candle-lit homes, beds covered in sheepskin, whole grain bread and slow-cooked stews, hand-made wool garments, leather shoes, combs made from antlers, as well as smell and sound of music and legendary tales around fires. There is another brutal side to reality, however. Archaeologists found evidence of premature deaths, traces of parasites and worms that although a healthy person can withstand, they killed the young and the elderly, people suffered illnesses and ailments that are unheard of or fully curable in our age due to medical advancements.
Looking back in history, the view from here and the now makes me realise how blessed we are to be living in this part of the world, and in this age.
Most of us, with the knowledge we’ve got today can make great choices like eating real food, going out exploring nature, sharing quality time with family and friends, making our own or buying quality hand made products instead of eating beige, fast food void of any nutritional value, becoming blue light addicts and growing insatiable lazy and wasteful consumerist habits.
This realisation is what I am starting the new year with.
Today, I cherish, more than anything, the ability to create a life that is rich, meaningful and fulfilling for myself and those around me. With fresh eyes, I am grateful for being handed this power, which is also a test that comes with a fear of failure, yet with the determination that I am not going to completely mess this up.
Today, I am holding my golden entry ticket in my hand and stepping into the best of two worlds.
How about you, how are you taking the first step into the new year?
About the author: Fatma Sabet
Fatma is originally from Cairo, she moved to Exeter from Paris to be nearer to her husband’s family.
One of Exeter’s wonders, she runs the farm school at Shillingford Organics and is passionate about organic farming, living well and sustainably and being healthy.
Fatma is currently studying for her Masters at Exeter University.Tags: Fatma Sabat, holiday, Keswick, Lake District, new year, shillingford organics