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  • Sophie Dingwall

Just you me and the dog

Making the most of bad situation. It's all how you look at it, the glass is half full right?


So life is pretty surreal right now. I’m sitting on my little houseboat on the river, realising all the drafts that I have not yet excluded. My curtains and hanging plants sway from side to side with the breeze and combined with the motion of the boat it’s quite therapeutic but the chill that inevitably comes with, doesn’t make for the cosiest napping spot this Sunday afternoon. But at least the air circulation is good…

Being stripped of our independence and stuck inside with limited movement is new to most I guess, unless you’ve done prison time? So naturally it takes some getting used to. I feel most of society stick to their usual routine and this has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works. I’ve never really had much of any routine, so I’m quite adaptable and have been making the most of some time at home. The news and media has been dishing out death tolls and causing widespread fear and I thought it better to look at some positives.

These restrictions have allowed us all to slow down and is perfect time to reflect on what’s important. Now, if you are at home with four kids who are tearing the house apart and little Jimmy has just given his sister a haircut with the kitchen scissors, the dogs shit on the floor and your husband has left you to man the house on your own and escaped to clean the car for four hours then I imagine you think this is a nightmare! And fair enough…

But look around you, people are making the most of the little time they do get outdoors, walking, running. Communities are coming together, helping those in need, the NHS are getting the appreciation they deserve, families are cooking from scratch, making bread and nature is fighting back from what we have done to her.


Air pollution has decreased up to 50% in some major cities, rivers are cleaner due to less traffic so wildlife and vegetation is returning and greenhouses gasses have dropped significantly which is all good news for our poorly planet.

It’s a bit of a shame it takes such extremes as this to reduce our impact on the planet and the funny thing is, it’s us thats going to suffer from it but it seems as a race we are quite short sighted. Perhaps this is because we have other priorities in our busy lives… Maybe now in this pandemic more of us can think about the future?

It would be nice to think that after this is all over, we as a global collective won’t go back to the status quo.

It doesn’t take a genius, in order to make a difference and better our future we need to change our habits and lifestyle. Full stop.


So… reminiscing on my time on board eXXpediton and not too dissimilar to now confined to one boat, I remember thinking to myself all the reasons I love exploring the seas and islands are the very things that make these places special are in danger of disappearing. What if there aren't any more turtles popping up to say hello while I’m sat having coffee on anchor in Antigua?

The beaches are too full of plastic to sit on and be enjoyed?

Or the fish are too toxic to eat anymore?

Everyone has a part to play and I’m chuffed to see so many kids taking charge to make a change, certainly making more of an impact than I did at school.

Education is key in any revolution and don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a bunch of women on some crusade to change the world on a whim. Not doubting that there are of course, some eccentric ones amongst us but for anyone who would usually dismiss this ‘hippy’ stuff, I hope to change your mind.


So for those who have a bit of extra time on their hands and have watched all the funny videos that have emerged since the virus outbreak; which by the way I am thankful for the people that spend the time creating these for our amusement


Go outside, pot some veggies in your garden. Don’t have a garden? Grow them in a pot on your windowsill. Don’t have any soil? Ask your neighbour… and if they won’t lend to you, they really are sour and maybe then it would be ok to let your dog that shit in the kitchen earlier, into their garden?

But seriously, tend to your plant, care for it… it’s a little reminder of how much time and effort goes into the food we eat and waste.

Make a meal plan consisting of local, in season produce. Local farm shops have been overwhelmed by the increased volume of customers during these past few weeks so continue to use them. Avoid the rat race in Tesco on a Sunday afternoon where you can’t find a swede for love nor money that's not wrapped in a layer of plastic for your roast. Do some research, there’s so many changes we can make individually without it costing the earth.

Might even enjoy it…


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