At the end of September I won a North Hertfordshire District Council competition organised to celebrate ‘Waste Less, Live More’ Week (22 – 28 September – put it in your diary for 2015).
To cut a long story short, I can now call my pallet table ‘prize-winning’ and I’ll be swimming in our local leisure centre for the next ten Fridays for free!
I’m more of a runner than a swimmer, but this week I learnt from a great little British Heart Foundation booklet on physical exercise for the over 50s* that 30 minutes ‘moderate intensity’ swimming burns the same number of calories as 16 minutes running’.
So ten free swims is a valuable prize.
This Friday was my first free swim. I hadn’t been to the pool for a couple of years (it’s not cheap) but happy memories soon came flooding back. I go early and it was the usual 6.30am crowd – older swimmers standing in the shallow end chatting and the ‘speedos’ ploughing up and down the lanes, power drinks lined up in bottles poolside – very intimidating.
I am neither a chatterer nor a speedo – I did my 20 lengths in slightly fewer minutes – but it gave me the time to reflect on the joy of some routines, such as chugging up and down a swimming pool. In fact I got so carried away I lost count of how many lengths I’d swum so I might, in fact, have done 18 or 22 lengths.
How different from the world of social entrepreneurship – in which I’ve been immersed over the last 12 months – where we’re urged to constantly innovate and, more recently, be disruptive (whatever that means). It’s as if doing things differently and being creative in always a good thing. My wife works in the NHS and, like in education, she works in a world of constant change, re-organisation, and energy-sapping disruption. She suffers from people trying to ‘innovate’!
Yes – there’s a need to find new solutions to enduring problems, and urgently, but maybe we should also value the idea of ‘sticking to the knitting’ (as a now notorious ex-government minster suggested recently), doing what we do well, following tried and tested, reliable routines and – like my plodding up and down the swimming pool – allowing ourselves the time to slow down and think.
*Be active for life http://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/view-publication.aspx?ps=1001242 download for free from the British Heart Foundation website.
Waste less, live more is at www.wastelesslivemore.com
Reflecting and sharing will be the theme of an early November blog post