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Thursday, August 5

Staycations are in vogue these days due in large measure to the COVID-19 pandemic hence Michele and I decided to spend a few days in late July in deepest Norfolk.

We found a lovely Airbnb a few miles from Thetford. Our cottage was situated on the former estate of Lynford Hall, a spectacular mansion in the heart of Thetford Forest. There we were amongst lakes, parkland and thousands of acres of forest – a perfect chance to reconnect with nature.

Walking in green spaces has proven brain-healing qualities. Essex University research team Green Exercise found that walking within nature helps to reduce stress levels, improves mood, enhances psychological well-being and improves attention and concentration. Unlike urban spaces which can be mentally demanding, nature involves what is called a ‘soft fascination’ which means the brain is stimulated without being drained.  Well it was indeed fascinating and extremely relaxing. We also enjoyed a river boat cruise on the glorious broads and a visit to the pretty coastal village of Blakeney.

Norfolk has so much to offer but it was still undeniably good to get back home – a chance to reconnect with our children, wider family and friends.

Dwelling on the theme of reconnection it occurred to me that whilst Mosaic has done an outstanding job in keeping the fabric of our community together since the onset of the pandemic I can’t wait to reconnect in person with my many Mosaic friends. Moving in to our new home in Stanmore next year will be doubly rewarding. The prospect of new premises is very exciting in itself but perhaps more importantly, with COVID hopefully under control, we will once again be able to meet regularly – perhaps in a service or at a Kiddush or simply over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

In the meantime there is much to enjoy online each week. For example, next Tuesday afternoon, you can enjoy an interesting talk about the Jewish history of a medieval village. For more information about this and other events check out the Coming Soon section in this newsletter.

Phil Austin


August 5, 2021