Last year, inspired by US outdoor retailer REI's #Optoutside campaign, we organised a walkshop in Stanmer Park. This year I'd been feeling tired and stressed, and it felt too much to organise something else, for another week or two at least.
But all week I noticed I'd been feeling a weird anxiety as Black Friday approached. A need to just buy something. A fear of missing out on a bargain.
Then I read this article by George Monbiot about how our relentless consumption is trashing the planet. It was a reminder that we need to break a cycle of relentless growth, fuelled by shopping, and I felt we had to do something to escape the Shopocalypse.
As the big retailers tried to pressure us into buying more things you probably don’t need - this year shoppers were predicted to spend more than £2.5bn - I scheduled a last minute Black Friday Optoutside walk again, and went to the woods with a bunch of like-minded folk instead.
We walked in silence through my favourite glade of Sycamore trees, shared shopping confessions amongst the fallen autumn leaves, and did a sit spot by the big beeches in Millbank Wood.
On the way back we found the site of an ancient stone circle, now long gone, marked on this old map of Stanmer Park.
Afterwards we sat chatting and drinking tea by the fire, inside the big house.
It was a calming and invigorating afternoon spent with some genuinely lovely people.
A real Black Friday experience to remember.