Back in the beginning of March, the Teen and I started a bit of an experiment: could we survive two weeks without television without switching on iPlayer every night, bickering or resorting to poking each other with sticks for entertainment? Would we remain vaguely human-like in form and brain, or would we regress into Neolithic grunters, staring into puddles* and banging rocks together? So, once we were back from my parent’s house, I packed the tv away and waiting for the sky to fall in.
6 weeks later, I’m still waiting.
The space where it used to be has been filled with plants and the cupboard where it is stored now has gradually filled to obscure it. We sit most evenings with the radio on (god bless BBC6 Music and Radio 4), reading, crocheting (me only), revising (Teen only), chatting, doing coursework (both of us) and occasionally switching on iPlayer to watch something (hello Inside No 9 and Reginald D Hunter’s Songs of the South) that we really really want to see.
I’ve taken up needle-felting again, with the intention of creating another Brian. But hopefully without the Brian moniker**. Have drawn silly little sketches that will never see the light of day. Attempted the writing I kept promising myself I’ll do. Actually taught myself to be comfortable without a constant dribble of hypnotically coloured hyperbole being streamed into my home. Finally managed to read the entire Saturday edition of the Guardian from cover to endless supplementary cover (except for the sport bit – there are limits) in a day. We’ve adapted surprisingly quickly to not having it there.
What has been odd is the reaction of other people to our decision. These have varied from shock to dismay, incomprehension to outright irritation. Someone called me ‘tight’, assuming I’d done it to avoid the license fee (not true, still paying it in fact). Others have stared and said “but what do you do?”, rather like a royal must quiz one of the common people, as though the human race has evolved purely due to a daily input of soaps, quiz shows and detective series reruns. And some just think I’ve gone mad and the Teen must be suffering greatly under my reign of terror. I’ve been forced into defending a decision that has absolutely nothing to do with how social, free with my money or busy I may or may not be. I thought I might miss it on the weekends the Teen isn’t with me, especially on weekends I wasn’t occupied with friends and plans, but it didn’t turn out that way. One particularly black, weather-battered on-my-own-Sunday, after a grocery run, I came home and thought for a moment before getting back into my pyjamas, getting under a blanket and reading for a straight 8 hours, pausing only to make tea, get food or move myself so bedsores didn’t become an issue.
A great stretch of time with nothing but amazing stories for company is a rare treat.
Yes, there are things I’ve missed. Napping on Sunday afternoons in front of a Miss Marple. Aidan Thingie taking his shirt off in Poldark and rippling his chest like a mermaids tail. Possibly never knowing if Penny and Leonard finally make it down the Big Bang aisle. Coming home from a bad day and just letting the screen soothe me into a catatonic state. However, finding other things to soothe the day or set me daydreaming hasn’t been a problem. Sorry Aidan Thingie but you were always too hairy for my liking anyway. The telly is staying in it’s cupboard.
Added bonus: I’m missing most of the pre-election nonsense that every channel seems to want to force feed the general population. And my soul is definitely infinitely better for that.
Photos taken during an Easter Sunday walk up to an Iron Age hill fort with the Teen (the last time I was here, it was over 2 years ago, misty, with bare branches looming out of the gloom and Dog to keep me company). It was glorious, with a second breakfast of sausages when we reached the top. 2 days later, that pleasing achey pull in my leg muscles reminds me of it every time I move. * mind you, there is a lot to be said for staring into puddles ** the Teen has christened her Agnes. Sigh. Had been hoping for a more Thor-the-puny-human-slayer type of name, but no. Brian and Agnes it is then.