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Relaxing around the home.

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Relaxing around the home.

When you think of relaxing at home, you might think of crashing on the couch infront of your home entertainment system, watching a DVD or playing Xbox. Get up couch potatoes, and go outside! But you can still relax, like they did it in the old days. Try a hammock, swinging chair, or joggling board.

A hammock will transport you to that relaxing place where you can switch off the world. If you can string one up between two trees it’s ideal, as you will feel like you are part of nature, and swing in the breeze. If you don’t have two trees situated just the right distance apart, and the supports on your verandah won’t support your weight, then there are many freestanding options available. There is nothing more relaxing than a comfy bed outside, especially in summer.

There are different types of hammocks, such as the Mexican hammock, which is much wider, and you can even lie in it sideways. These are made from cotton, nylon or hemp. Mexican hammocks are also known as Mayan hammocks, and are known for their brightly coloured woven fabric, and individuality. Mayan hammocks originate from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and provide airy beds for the locals. South Americans have been sleeping in hammocks for over 1000 years.

Most large department stores will sell hammocks, as well as large hardware stores. These are more likely to be the regular variety, which could consist of a rectangular piece of canvas stretched out, or a type of mesh or weave strung between two poles. Cotton hammocks are also popular, for their natural fibre, however all hammocks, including cotton will deteriorate if left out in the rain. Hammocks will vary in price according to quality and versatility, so shop around before you decide on one. Some markets will sell Mexican hammocks, and there are lots to choose from online.

What modern Australian homes lack these days is a decent verandah out the front. Before air conditioning was around to cool down the home, people would live on their verandah in hot weather, to take advantage of the breeze. Relaxing on a verandah was useless without a swinging chair, especially if it was covered in a bright floral fabric. The swinging chair is something that should definitely be integrated back into Australian backyards, and save people from being swallowed by their couch and their television. Hammocks are not for everyone; some people find them uncomfortable, or hard to get in and out of. Others just want something more stable, with a few cushions. Swinging chairs are the answer, they start at about $100 or less if you buy one second hand.

What, might you ask, is a joggling board? A joggling board is a long flexible piece of wood that sits on two rockers, and you can sit on it like a bench. The difference is that it bounces, or joggles. This is supposed to be fun for the kids, and relaxing for everyone else.

The history of the joggling board is as follows. A legend of the Kinloch and Huger families states that the first joggling board was built at Acton Plantation in Sumter County near Stateburg, South Carolina. The plantation was built in 1803 by Cleland Kinloch of Weehaw Plantation near Georgetown, South Carolina. When Mr. Kinloch became widowed, his sister, Mrs. Benjamin Kinloch Huger, came to Acton to care for the household. Mrs. Huger suffered severely from rheumatism, and one day wrote her relatives at Gilmerton, the family estate in Scotland saying that she could not get any exercise.

In reply, her Scottish cousins sent a model of a joggling board which they suggested she could sit on and bounce gently, this giving her more exercise. The plantation’s carpenter constructed a joggling board from fine local timber following the model sent from Scotland. From this beginning in the early 1800’s, the joggling boards spread quickly to the yards and piazzas of the surrounding areas until it became almost as commonplace as a swing set or hammock is today. They were not made after the second world war due to the high cost of labour and materials.

Joggling boards are back in Australia, they cost $1750. Go to joggling.com.au to see more details. It might seem a bit excessive, but if you want something a bit more exotic for relaxing around your home that your family and visitors alike will never tire from, consider a joggling board.

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