Facebook users were surprised this week with the revelation that we don’t see all the messages that are sent to us. You may be aware of your ‘other’ mailbox on Facebook’s Messenger system – this may actually be called ‘other’ or it may be called ‘message requests’ – Facebook seems to be changing everyone’s gradually.
If you go into your Facebook mailbox, next to the list of recent messages you will see a drop-down menu that says ‘more.’ Clicking on this will give you access to messages that weren’t initially shown to you, plus a further list of ‘filtered messages.’ If you use Messenger on your phone you’ll find this under ‘settings.’ These are messages from people that Facebook thinks might be spam, but you could find one from your long-lost uncle Cyril in Guatemala, who fled the country under suspicious circumstances and now wants to leave you his multi-million pound fortune. Well, you never know.
Forget uncle Cyril in Guatemala (I made him up). I’m rather hoping I turn out to be a secret Rothschild baby. Because… First visit of the year to a National Trust property took us to Waddesdon Manor, the fabulously opulent holiday home of the Rothschild family. Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bought the estate in 1874 when it was nothing but farmland, and from the grassy plain he created his French chateaux-styled dream holiday home, which now acts as a lasting legacy to good taste and opulence.
All that money: more than you could possibly dream of, partying with royalty, collecting treasures, travelling, success, fun, more fun, more treasures… I’d be okay with that. Yet was this man happy? Tragically his wife died in childbirth less than two years after the house was built and the Baron never remarried. He did seem to have a steady stream of gorgeous women visiting though, so hopefully he remained satisfied with a bachelor’s life.
After the cultural finesse of this outing, we went to the cinema to see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest film. I wouldn’t have chosen to see Grimsby; I was dragged along with the promise of some sort of chocolate wonderment to follow, but actually it was very funny. Crude, ridiculous, vulgar in parts and laugh out loud in others. I did get the chocolate treat afterwards, as always.
The following day was spent wandering through the perfect grounds of another Elizabethan mansion – Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Wild and windswept wooded areas lie adjacent to beautifully tended Tudor gardens and wild flower walks. I spend a lot of time here at the moment, either with dogs and wellington boots, or without dogs and with a tendency to veer off towards the courtyard café. Or both, although that’s not great if it’s raining.
I’m mentioning this because my life is now a lot more peaceful. Whilst I absolutely love the diversity and dynamism of London and all the city has to offer – especially the museums (I’m a gallery gal) – and its brilliant networking opportunities, at the weekends I feel at one with nature. And I’m mentioning it today because April is Stress Awareness Month, the time for health care professionals to band together and raise awareness of stress while looking at ways to combat it.
With two sons stressing about exams and a cat stressing about the local fox (he’s taken up residence under the laurel bush), my memories of meditation techniques comes in very useful. For me, if not for them! And a large box of chocolates always helps, of course… as does the odd glass of rioja.
Relieving stress is very simple: take time out. It may be a temporary measure, but it honestly helps. As Phil Oakey said, “Take time to see the wonders of the world, to see the things you’ve only ever heard of. Dream life the way you think it ought to be; see things you thought you’d never ever see.”
I’m seeing things in Hertfordshire – it’s very close to London. Come and explore with me? Or we can catch up over a hot chocolate and squidgy cake in Shoreditch. Arrange it here: @WeekendWitch.