AS the clock turns back and the nights draw in, socialising outdoors usually becomes a mere memory of summer. But lockdown has turned tradition on its head and Brits are now looking to the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’ for inspiration.


It’s a bit chilly out there?

The temperature is dropping, but the pandemic is still in full spate. As a result, meeting people from other households in your home or theirs is banned - unless they are in you extended household. Meanwhile, the rule of six applies to outdoor gatherings, where you can meet people in groups of up to six from no more than two households, not counting under-12s.


So outdoors it is?

Gardens or parks, for gatherings or walks, are really the only option to catch up with family and friends, although social-distancing rules still apply outside, including staying two metres apart.


Outdoor entertaining in Britain?

It can be challenging even in summer, but it seems Brits are busy preparing their outdoor spaces for entertaining, as part of a coronavirus-related trend that is growing worldwide.


It’s good news for outdoors retailers?

Garden and furniture firms are reporting a rush in sales of the likes of patio heaters, fire pits and gazebos, with some products selling for triple their price as demand surges. BRIQ Furniture are among retailers reporting massive sales - director Laura Hodgkinson said: “When we released stock of patio heaters it sold out within three hours. The rise is a 400% increase on previous years.”


It’s not just home-owners snapping items up?

Restaurants and bars have been buying such products, while even schools have been getting in on the act to allow more outdoor learning.


And it’s all very ‘friluftsliv’?

Pronounced “free-loofts-liv”, the word is an amalgamation of the Norwegian words for free, air and life which is what it literally translates to - “open-air living”. First coined by Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen in the 1850s, he used the term to describe the importance of spending time with nature outdoors for physical and mental wellbeing and it has been a part of life in Norway ever since.


It’s the new ‘hygge’?

Hygge - the Danish word for an atmosphere of cosiness and comfortable contentment - is used to acknowledge a feeling or moment that is charming and heart-warming, but with lockdown forcing us to be social outdoors, friluftsliv focuses on being outside whatever the weather. It covers everything from snow sports to having a cup of tea or a beer while wrapped up warm in your garden.


As the saying goes…

The Nordic saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”, applies during the pandemic-hit winter months in locations not as used to the outdoors in winter as countries such as Norway. Lasse Heimdal, secretary general of Norsk Friluftsliv, an organisation representing 5,000 outdoors groups in Norway, said: “Friluftsliv is more than just an activity, it’s a kind of lifestyle. It’s social, it’s healthy. It’s good for your body and good for your mind.”