Ben Fogle is best known as an adventurer, but during lockdown, the 47-year-old has been at home in Oxfordshire – where he credits a daily run and some log chopping to help with his mental and physical wellbeing.
What are you missing most this time round in lockdown?
My family. My parents are both isolating in London. They just got their first vaccines, which was surprisingly emotional. I am also missing travel. I love visiting new places and meeting people – it is my job and my hobby.
How has your daily routine changed from pre-lockdown?
I am now with my family 24/7. We have all our meals together. We do home schooling and work in the same room together and we watch television and play games.
We also walk together. My hour’s run each day is the only time I have alone, which I find important.
Have you done anything new together?
I have been teaching the children different skills. This week it is log splitting with a very large, heavy axe. We have built dens and fires and collected firewood.
How has work changed – are you adapting to Zoom?
I miss real human interactions. I miss laughing and being with people.
The internet has been a great way to bring people together digitally, but it is nothing like the real thing. I can’t wait to be with people again.
Had any interesting ideas for new projects?
I am working on a book. I wrote my last one – which was called Inspire: Life Lessons From The Wilderness – during the first lockdown.
I am now working on another book, this time it is about islands. I love islands and have been dreaming of them. Shortly before lockdown I found an opportunity to build a life on an island in Scotland.
What have you been doing to keep fit?
The run once a day is essential to my mental and physical wellbeing. But I also do a great deal of gardening and it is surprisingly physical.
I find the lifting just as effective as the gym. I recently shifted 30 tonnes of topsoil into the garden by wheel barrow.
What did you learn to do from the first lockdown?
Gardening. We had just moved to Oxfordshire and we were able to grow our first vegetable patch. We grew tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers, carrots and pumpkins.
This time around we have invested in a greenhouse so that we can propagate our seeds, too.
Did you stock up on anything or panic buy?
We made a point of not stockpiling anything. It is highly selfish to buy more than you need. We do a weekly supermarket shop and that was supplemented in the summer by our vegetable patch.
Have you taken up baking sourdough bread or followed any lockdown trends?
I love baking. I have been creative with baking bread, which I love. I have perfected my Irish soda bread and we are expanding to our own pizza bases. The children make a brilliant banana bread, too.
Do you ever treat yourself?
I love my coffee. I drink it strong and black.
Does being eco-friendly come naturally to you and your family?
We do try our best and we have always made an effort when it comes to recycling at home. But I have to admit that it can sometimes get a bit confusing.
I actually recently partnered up with Cushelle for the launch of their Double Roll packaging, which is now made from 85 per cent recyclable and renewable materials.
Ben’s Lockdown Survival Kit:
- A sunny disposition. I am a positive person and I try to remain hopeful and upbeat. I try not to read newspapers nor watch the news, I have tried to surround myself in a bubble of hope.
- Good TV. There is so much great TV about out there. We are currently obsessed with Succession. It is brilliant and cringe worthy and takes us to another time and place. We loved The Queen’s Gambit as well as Once Upon A Time In Iraq.
- Running. I am using my hour of exercise to run in the local woods. We live in a rural area of Oxfordshire and I often go for days without seeing another soul on my runs – in fact I have seen more deer than humans recently.
- My ginger shot. I take a honey, ginger and cayenne pepper shot once a day to help boost my immunity. I have taken it for years and swear it has helped keep me healthy.
- My family. They are my rock. I am so lucky to be in lockdown with my wife, children, guinea pigs, (right) and dogs. Many aren’t so fortunate.