Finding love in, and of the great outdoors

The more time we spend outside, the better our relationship becomes.

 Mrs Blackwell’s Village Bookshop has a wealth of carefully chosen titles including many on improving personal relationships. But so far, Millie hasn’t found a book that deals with our own theory that the more outdoor activities we do together, the stronger our marriage builds. We’ve put years of fieldwork into this study and while it may not apply to everyone, we can report that gardening, reading, cycling, hiking or even cocktail hour outside creates more tangible, memorable experiences than being couch-bound. Getting out is seasonal to some extent, but we also love being well wrapped up for a brisk walk on a frosty morning to draw fresh air into our lungs.

 On obvious reason why being outside brings us closer together is that we’re usually exercising and as a rule, without a cell signal. That means we’re focused on what’s around us, breathing in nature and able to converse without distraction. Simple stuff, but perhaps those are basic building blocks for better relationships. Our backpacks or bicycle baskets usually carry a book so when we reach the half way point, we can give our brains a quick 30 minute workout and top up the conversation points for the return journey.

 As our love for each other adds more layers as the years go by, so too does our love for the beauty of the places we live in and visit. It seems like a natural progression; the more Millie and I learn about the world, how nature works and how interconnected all living things are, the more it simply makes sense for us to take care of it. My marketing instinct suggests that if we rebranded the earth to our home, perhaps we would have a clearer understanding of the need to protect it, look after it, keep it clean and be ready to pass it on in good shape to future generations. I know it’s going to take more than a rebrand to course correct on climate change, but everyone has something they can bring to the table.

Shane Kelly, our GM has spoken to many Blackwell and Sons visitors over winter who had purchased a cheap e-bike in haste during the pandemic, now facing problems that cannot be fixed because the parts needed from the factories that produced them were no longer in business. Those bikes are destined for landfill. For Blackwell and Sons, now turning seven years old in 2023, we’re more motivated than ever to encourage everyone to spend time outside gently exercising on quality bicycles designed to last a lifetime. And across our range of other outdoor gear, our suppliers are being encouraged by us to lift their standards of quality, reduce their waste and rethink their packaging. We’ll continue to recycle boxes for our online orders, ensure our shopping bags are fully home compostable and will look to replace our distinctive delivery van with an EV when that option becomes available.

None of this is politically motivated or radical. It’s simply my desire to spend more decades outdoors in our home with Millie so we can continue to build healthy lives full of love. Carefully preserving our home so that future generations can do the same seems like the right thing to do.

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