Family camping near Glastonbury, Wells and Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK

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  • 24-Nov-09 Mud is Good

    Mud is Good

    I knew that a blog post was long overdue, but the camping season is at an end and our house building complete so I was struggling to get started. A train journey to London always creates some time for writing and my complimentary copy of The Times today provided a spark of inspiration. In her article Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud, Chloe Lambert reports that American research scientists have discovered dirt can actually benefit children, that germs are good for us after all.

    Finally there is some clinical evidence to underline what many of us have believed for a long time – trying to wrap-up our little ones in an antiseptic blanket is doing them more harm than good.

    Our immune system – how our body fights disease – is a complex thing that benefits from exposure to a broad range of bugs and germs. By learning how to fight them it becomes stronger and better equipped to tackle the real nasty ones when they come along. In some ways this is no different to any other form of exercise, except this "body-building" is microscopic. And by denying children exposure to a natural mix of bacteria and viruses we increase the risk of their bodies developing allergic reactions on contact with pets, pollens and similar triggers.

    So could the world-famous Glastonbury mud be a magic elixir for long life? I think that may take a few more years of American research to prove, but I've met lots of people who believe it's true. Maybe that has something to do with the mushrooms that grow on it though!

    At the peak of this year's monsoon season (aka summer) the children on our campsite certainly revelled in their puddle splashing and making mud angels, so maybe we should leave them to it. Everything in moderation of course – there are dangers lurking even in the countryside. Parents need to be very careful about close contact with animals and make sure hand washing is strictly enforced. e.coli bacteria are particularly nasty and can devastate young kidneys.

    When the festival is very muddy Trench Foot disease sometimes puts in an appearance, just as it did in Flanders in WW1, but thankfully we never need to worry about that at Greenacres.

    So let's celebrate that our outdoor camping lifestyle really is the healthier choice! And next time it pours down for the whole holiday, send your young 'uns outside and tell yourself it's to give them a better future J

    Best wishes,


    Note: Greenacres blogs are now published on the blogger web site

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