Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Hobbies that heal

Glancing quickly at the main titles on the on-line newspapers this morning I saw that Knitting is good for depression. My Dad couldn't stand knitting, he thought it seemed a huge waste of time. That was probably because it used to take me about three months to make a jumper that wasn't anything special, and often shrunk in the wash. All those hours of work to make something you could buy for the equivalent of two hours work. There are many gifted knitters who can whip something up in no time that looks amazing, I'm just not one of them. One of my aunties is still knitting clothes for the premature baby unit at her local hospital, she is well into her eighties, and is doing a great job.
Anyway if it helps depression to knit then that's wonderful. It definitely helps to have something to do, if you have depression and I suppose with knitting then at least you've got something to show at the end. Depression would seem to be a modern concern and a lot is written about it. We have to be careful to distinguish between depression and a deep. deep sadness. I'm going to give you two poems that would make you think that the link between depression and having something to do has been around a long time. The first one was a favourite of my Mum's, she liked to say,"Oh, he's got the hump", when someone was in a bad mood, always flowed by a giggle.

The Hump, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

The camel's hump is an ugly hump
Which well you might see at the zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump that we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo
We get the hump-
Camelious hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
When we get the hump-
Camelious hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frown with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump-
The horrible hump-
The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo
If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo
We all get hump-
Camelious hump
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

Then there is this one, by the poet Robert Bridges, 1844-1930

Since health our toil rewards
And strength is labour's prize,
I hate not nor despise,
The work my lot accords,
Nor fret with fears unkind
The tender joys, that bless
My hard-won peace of mind
In hours of idleness.

Both of these poems are telling us about the importance of having something to do, and they talk about gardening as a great antidote for humps, bad moods or depression. Housework probably does as well, and of course knitting...



Spring Flowers by Norman Rockwell

On the front cover of Woman's Weekly

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