Exercise makes you smarter and Robert Burns

I wasn’t thinking very clearly last week and I did a lot of dumb things. I blame a lack of physical activity. Busby was out of action for a few days due to frozen brakes and when I did go out for a bike ride I had to cycle very slowly because of the ice. Yesterday it all melted and I not only went running, I also went for an exhilarating cycle ride with a full load (two children) when we went into town for dinner last night. I raced up the hills and flew down the other side and it felt terrific. It’s great to be able to go out for dinner and eat a huge meal but then cycle home afterwards and put some of that peak in blood-sugar to good use. I’m very fortunate to be able to live somewhere where we can cycle to and from the centre of town.

Physical activity improves brain function in areas like memory, planning, scheduling, and inhibition. It also helps to prevent cognitive decline as we age and improve academic performance in children. This is in addition to all the physical benefits we get from exercise.

Last Friday afternoon I went to unlock my bicycle to collect the kids from school and I couldn’t find the key. I hadn’t used the bike for a couple of days and it turns out I had left the key in the lock: practically an invitation for someone to come and take Busby. Although one of my friends here pointed out that everyone in Aberdeen knows that Busby belongs to me now so it would be silly for anyone to try to steal him. Then as I was cycling to school and laughing at myself for being so careless I realised that I cycled off without locking the front door of our house. Not only had I not locked the door, I hadn’t even shut it! Thank goodness Aberdeen is such a safe place. Or so it feels anyway.

Today is Burns Night in Scotland: an annual celebration of Robert Burns. Daniel had to learn a Robert Burns poem off by heart to recite to the class. We had to rip all of Daniel’s teeth out of his mouth to get him to learn just the first two verses and gave up after that. Then Friday afternoon he came home with this note:


Ben and I were like:

I asked Daniel how he managed to recite the last two verses when he hadn’t learnt them? He said that some of the other kids went before him and so he remembered what they said. Well if it was that easy …..

Elizabeth on the other hand is a model student at home and *wants* to do homework. After reading her reader to me the other night she asked to read it again. I initially said no because parents are supposed to say no, right? Wait! I realised my error and let her read it again 🙂 Then this morning she got up and hopped into our bed and began discussing negative numbers. She’s five for goodness sake and it was Sunday morning. This is not normal. I blame the father.

In celebration of Robert Burns, I give you A Red, Red Rose.

A Red, Red Rose

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.


And lastly, the lake at Duthie Park yesterday looked like this:


20 responses to “Exercise makes you smarter and Robert Burns”

  1. I realised that I cycled off without locking the front door of our house

    Well done, Daniel.

    1. Thanks. We’re very proud of him 🙂

  2. I think your kids sound so lovely and your love of living where you do shines out of all your posts.

    1. Thanks. I really do love living here. I’ve always thought it takes about 18 months to feel like you’re at home in a new city or country. I already feel like I’m at home here.

  3. What an entertaining post. That’s such a lovely letter from Daniel’s teacher. You must have been thrilled. As for Elizabeth, maybe it’s time she learnt to play chess. 🙂

    1. Good idea. I haven’t thought about teaching her chess but I’m sure she’d pick it up really easily.

  4. Well done to Daniel 🙂 Learning off by heart is very boring, especially if your interests lie elsewhere.
    Also, Aberdeen sounds a great place to live, if you leave keys in locks and doors wide open and no-one takes advantage 🙂

    1. It is quite a safe place to live and a really great place to raise a family. I love it.

  5. Your kids surprise you sometimes. In fact they surprise you many times. Kids are one big surprise party. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing 🙂

  6. Enjoy my post, especially if you read it today, that’s one poem your kids should learn?

    1. Was thinking the same, if that was the poem, no wonder Daniel was not interested. Then in class he was motivated and quickly learned.

      1. I quite like that poem and it has a bit of repetition in it which makes it easier to learn. But some of the words would be quite foreign to him and I guess 7-year-old boys aren’t very interested in love poems.

  7. Eberdeeeen….it’d been 15 years since I left the granite city but I return often to visit my folks. Its nice to see some of the photo’s of the city that you post though…..they do make me nostalgic in a rosy tinted sort of way…..

    Your photo of the pond at Duthie Park had me laughing…as a kid I used to cycle round and round that place and latterly took up skateboarding down the hill nearby with my brother …happy times. I managed to walk across the ice in a really cold winter to the island that the ducks like to gather on, only to get hissed off it again by a big sharp beaked goose that gave ne a few nasty nips!

    Well done to Daniel – he must have a pretty good memory to catch the verses so quickly – not easy with good ol’ Rabbie!

    1. Has anyone ever gone ice-skating on that lake? It looks like a really nice spot to do it but I’m guessing it doesn’t cold enough here to completely freeze.

      1. I doubt it – it was a bit of a dare for me to walk out to the island – never mind skate on it.

  8. […] But there are some things he really struggles with. Spelling, for instance, and memorising Robert Burns 🙂 Here’s an example of a recent conversation I had with […]

  9. A lot going on here Rachel! We were invited to a Burns Night dinner with our lovely, elderly neighbours last Friday, he is Scottish, she South African. We had a wonderful time, our first time for such a feast, haggis the lot! Glad that you are so safe where you are…I’ve done things like that too, I blame it on hormones, ha!! Well done Daniel and Elizabeth…both your kids are going to go far, I just know it! Lovely photo too…very wintery 🙂

  10. […] are required to learn one of his poems as part of their education. Last year we had to rip all of Daniel’s teeth out to get him to memorise the poem which is appropriate given that this year he has to learn the […]

  11. […] children were very chuffed to come third. Daniel has come so far. When we moved to Scotland and Daniel had to learn his first Robert Burns poem there were so many arguments about why and how. We practically had to pull his fingernails off to get him to even try. Now he learns them without […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: