The Joys and Art of Sunbathing

The Joys of Sunbathing

Aah! To bathe in the sun
Can be relaxing fun
Sensing UV rays
On hot sunlit days
Soaking up vitamin D
(seems good to me)
But
Lying so still in the sun to bask—
Is it safe? You have to ask

Mark my words
Listen and learn
Staying out too long
You will blister and burn!
But
Sunbathing can
Give you a tan
Make you look healthy
Bronzy and wealthy!

Haha! Don’t be a fool
Stay in the shade
Swim in the pool
Avoid hot sun
Stay cool!

Lesley Scoble June 2021

Basking bathers on Hampstead Heath

Ladies Pond, Hampstead

Oil painting (detail 01)

There are lots of people who enjoy sunbathing. When the sun shines they are known to gather together, take their clothes off, and lie down on the grass (I hope they know all about the dangers of overexposure to UV rays).
Hampstead Heath Ponds are a great place for a swim (and a sunbathe). There are three ponds to swim in: Ladies pond, Mens pond, and a Mixed bathing pond.

Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond (detail) | Oil on canvas 80 x 60 cm | Lesley Scoble

Ladies Pond, Hampstead

Oil painting (detail 02)

This is a detail from a much larger painting showing a tangled sprawled mass of reclining communal non-social-distancing sunbathers lazing on the grass beside the pond (definitely a pre-Covid picture painted some years ago!).
I don’t sunbathe but love to wild swim in the Hampstead Ponds where the water is cold and you can swim with the ducks.

Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond (detail) | Oil on canvas 80 x 60 cm | Lesley Scoble

If you fancy a swim in a Hampstead Heath Pond here is a link

Face up to the sun

Self portrait

It has been said that we all need about 15 minutes exposure to sunshine everyday for the body to obtain it’s required dose of vitamin D. This image is my self-portrait doing just that!

Self portrait | Face up to the sun | iPad art | Lesley Scoble

Sunlight and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is obtained by the body from the UV rays of the sunshine and is vital for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. The vitamin facilitates absorption of the minerals, calcium and phosphate from the foods that we eat.

Most people can absorb sufficient vitamin D by being outside in direct sunlight for only 15 to 30 minutes each day (varying length of time dependant upon skin tone). So it’s no good sunbathing through the window! Windows block the necessary UV rays.

During winter months when the days are dark, vitamin D is harder to get! And is the time to ensure you supplement the lack of sunlight by eating the foods that contain the vitamin—such as oily fish, red meats and eggs.

Some birds like to sunbathe too!

This crow on a roof has sunbathing down to a fine art and is holding its wings up enjoying the warmth of the sun (while absorbing some vitamin D perhaps?).

Crow sunbathing on a roof | Photo: Lesley Scoble

This blackbird in a city wildlife garden popped out from under a bush to sunbathe and bask in the sun.

Blackbird sunbathing | Photo: Lesley Scoble
Blackbird sunbathing | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Blackbird sunbathing | Photo: Lesley Scoble

The sunbathing blackbird shifts position to do all sides. The crow on the roof also changes position to sunbathe his other side.

Crow sunbathing on a roof | Photo: Lesley Scoble

I knew that Corvids enjoyed a bask in the sun, but was surprised to see a little sparrow doing the same!

A sparrow sunbathing | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Tip: tomatoes and sunburn

If you overdo your 15 minutes a day and get sunburnt, you may like to try this tip to soothe your wounded skin. Cut a tomato in half and spread its juices along the burn. I don’t know why it works, but it eased my own sunburn! I have no scientific data to back it up, other than there is a magic ingredient in the tomato called Lycopene which seems to add sunburn protection to the skin. If you have been silly and overexposed yourself and are now the colour of a tomato—it’s worth a try!

Box of selected tomatoes | Photo: Lesley Scoble

More about the efficacy of tomatoes versus sunburn may be learned here

Get out there and grab some vitamin D!

Stay safe and keep cool 😎

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