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Jez's Notebook

A Journey That Will Take 12 Weeks…

Autumn is a time of change – and loss.

Back in March at the very beginning of the viral pandemic I was a pillar of positivity. I sensed the social pain, frustration and challenges associated with the practicalities of lockdown, but from a behavioural perspective understood the significant underlying and unseen problems there would be from isolation, social starvation and disruption to routine.

Behind the positive videos we produced, blogs and content I continued to produce to help maintain perspective on the uncertain situation, things were extremely difficult. Most of my income relies on people coming together in the form of conferences, events, broadcast filming and workshops here at the farm. As a result of lockdown and the subsequent covid-19 restrictions, within 7 days I lost

Decisions, choices and being in control

Allow everything to happen to you.

As the dark evenings draw ever-closer, almost imperceptibly creeping in, and the mornings become more difficult to arise from, there was for me this week the sudden realisation that Autumn is very much here. With Autumn comes, for many, Seasonal Affective Disorder (rather appropriately abbreviated to S.A.D.), otherwise known as “the winter blues”.

It’s a real thing, and until only a few years back I had no idea it would have played such an important role in me discovering a greater sense of productivity; balance, and happiness, and in understanding changes to workplace behaviour.

Nature Works – isolation, lockdown, and distancing

Is it possible to reconnect to the things that really matter?

I continue to hear people referring to the “return to normal”; references to the “new normal”, and desperate pleas of “getting back to how things were”. There’s a fine line to understanding, I think, what people really mean though. I think we all yearn for our total freedom and to not have to think about the distance and protective measures required for interacting with others. However, to go back exactly to how things were would be a total tragedy. We are exercising more; more conscious of social interaction and wildlife and the environment are both thriving more than they have in tends of years because of the reduced human pollution. Surely we don’t mean to undo all the good we have – all-be-it unintentionally – done?

I predict we will soon see another rise in the need to connect with nature again, as further travel and social restriction sanctions are placed on more of the world due to the rising cases of corona virus; the fallout being a return to an especially isolating disconnection. But also a return to work and whatever individual “normal: looks like because with that will come different stresses and anxieties. And we’ll need an outlet for that.

Just like during lockdown, more of us will experience the frustration, anxiety, tension, and stress that comes as a result of our disconnection with nature. The desperation to be healed – all-be-it a largely subconscious desperation – was well documented

The Missing – and how to find them

I’m not a religious person, nor am I overly spiritual. I believe in people; in love; kindness; dignity and respect, so I suppose you could say I’m sensitive: I love wholly and, vicariously by default, the losses are painful.

I like science; evidence; facts and at school was that – with hindsight, utterly irritating – child who always asked: “why?”. Exasperated teaching staff would have to shut down the endless pushing with: “it just is, okay?!”. I had a suspicion then that they might not have known the answer to my interrogation.

Despite all this, Friday was a day I can’t help but keep coming back to in my mind, and one I’m certain my memory of will never leave me. Almost one month to the day on what would have been his 13th birthday, I had to say the final goodbye to my beloved dog, Zeus. He was truly my best friend; my wingman – my buddy. For many years he was the only reason I returned home. Growing up I’d had dogs all my life, but there was something deeply special about Zeus. Everyone who met him commented on his personality, and wanted to take him home with them. He had a mighty presence; a captivating sensitivity about him, and an uncanny ability to know when something wasn’t right. He’d slowly approach to sit closely beside you, offering his awesome amber eyes and, if needed, a gentle lick. I spoke to him daily; sought him out regularly to be with him, and felt his ready reassurance.

Nature Works – the impact on performance and culture

We’ve seen a marked increase in people spending time in, and feeling the benefits of, nature. Now is the time for organisations to embrace that fully.

The global COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in a widespread increase of individuals reconnecting with nature: walks in the park; gardening, and socially distanced outdoor meetings being just a few ways that we’ve been able to readily engage with the fresh air; green visual spaces, and plant life.

The surge of interest may well have initially been triggered by suddenly having time on our hands to get that garden sorted; grown your own to avoid reliance on overstretched supermarket supply chains, and providing something interesting and engaging to do while not being permitted to travel or socialise freely.

COVID-19 Workshops & Experience Days Update

Jez’s Honey Farm will hopefully re-open for workshops and experience days in September

My team and I have been keeping a careful eye on the Government guidelines for how businesses can prepare for returning to work following the Coronavirus restrictions, and we’ve put plans into place to help ensure the safety of those working here on the farm and for our guests.

However, our position is unique in as much that we aren’t a public outdoor space you simply wander around. Our workshops and experience days rely on interactive elements and handling equipment key to the success and enjoyment of the day, and while we’re able to mitigate some of the risks, I’m not comfortable with reducing the quality of the experience for you, and some of the perceived potential risk factors.

Naturally Proud

All over the world people are celebrating Pride Month; you might have seen on my instagram story the video I shared of Ellen Degeneres and the powerful montage of people coming out for the first time, and confidently declaring their sexuality. I don’t have much of a public voice; but I do have one, and I’m privileged to be in a position where I have a platform for speech and have people who are interested in what I have to say. If in the 15,000 or so people following me on social media what I am about to say helps just 1 person, I know the pain that it will soothe.

The World’s First Virtual Honey Tasting Experience!

We think we’ve created another world first!

Join us from the comfort of your own home for this brand new, exciting digital tasting experience, bringing the irresistible taste of raw, British honey directly to you in our unique Online Honey Tasting Experience.

Back in 2018 my honey farm became the world’s first certified Carbon Neutral honey farm, and since then we’ve welcomed hundreds of people each year to the farm on our workshops and experience days.

A message from Jez about Coronavirus, our farm, workshops and experience days

What’s Happenned

I sat down with my team last week at the farm (socially distanced, of course) and we began to hatch a plan as to how we could make our workshops and experience days work with social distancing measures, in preparation for an announcement from the Government, at some point in the future, that would allow us to invite you here again.

Many of you have purchased – or been gifted by others – places on our 2020 beekeeping, rural craft and gardening workshops and experience days, and we are immensely grateful to you all for your patience and for ‘hanging on’! 

The pizza oven is never ‘closed’ at this time of the year!

Much of the practical elements like how we would arrange the refreshments; changes we’d need to make to our ‘build your own’ pizza lunch, and how we’d ensure everyone was able to keep a reassuring 2 metres from others, were all simply thought out. I’ll be honest with you