Need a place to do some serious relaxing? Justin Newcombe explains the virtues of having a hammock at home and shows us how it's done.
There is something soothing about lying back in a hammock and gently rocking to and fro as the day drifts gently by. My advice to anyone about to embark on a landscape design is to do the research and you may as well do this in the bottom of a hammock rather than on your feet. I can't see why this doesn't apply to other things in our lives, like buying a car or shopping for clothes; choosing a dog or a life partner. Let's face it, there are plenty of things we politely stay awake for that we would in all honestly rather sleep through (the current financial crises - yawn).
When I decided to write this article, for example, in said hammock, I promptly fell asleep and almost missed my deadline.
The history of the hammock is pretty much tied to fishing and sailing. Columbus brought the hammock back to the old world after his first visit to the new world as evidence of his escapade. His sailors immediately realised the self-righting qualities of a hammock meant a much more pleasant sleep in big seas. Columbus realised he could jam more bods below deck at night, then stow the hammocks and resume operations in the morning, something the British navy soon adopted, with a high-sided seaman's hammock.
A hammock is a great way to keep off the ground in the bush or jungle. The jungle hammock eradicates insect and snake bites as well as the unenviable sleep on bumpy or uneven ground, great for your next expedition to the Amazon.
The other frequent user of the hammock is the slacker.
Always poised and ready to do nothing much, the slacker has adopted the hammock as the primary tool of trade. Flexible, portable and cheap, the DIY slacker hammock can be quickly assembled from whatever material you have on hand, used in many locations and can be easily packed away.
And when you're swinging gently in the breeze and someone asks you to do something it simply answers for you.
Do it yourself.
Take the end of your hammock cloth and fold into a small loop.
Fold the rope in half then slide the middle section through the material loop.
Fold the rope right around the hammock material and tuck it under itself. You should have a small noose poking out from under the rope.
Hold the tying end in one hand (the bit that gets tied to a tree) and the hammock material in the other and carefully pull to tighten the rope around the material.
Slip the tying end through the little noose and repeat the previous step at the other end.
Hang the hammock securely. It should be hung taut so it doesn't sag in the middle. Test it by leaning into it, gradually adding more weight. Don't just jump into it. This much I have learned from experience.