Sunday, 28 June 2020

What can I do?

I don't know why but this was a question I knew never to ask when I was a child.   I was expected to fill my time usefully.   I suspect my mother, one of eight, never had any spare time - there would always be some job she had to do to do with looking after the others and I think this made her feel that I should easily be able to fill my time without asking.   I never found it difficult.   It was like being an 'only one' although I was one of three - five really but two died in infancy before I was born - because we each had eleven years between us.   My sister was married before I was born and my brother was in France fighting in the Second World War by the time I was seven.

I never found it difficult.   I was always a great reader, I played the piano from an early age, along with my father we 'collected wild flowers', picking just one bloom, identifying it, pressing it and then I would put it into an album and label it.   Albums, hard-backed notebooks - anything like that I loved so people always knew what to buy me for birthdays and Christmas.   Craft work was not encouraged - my father's sisters were tailoresses or milliners and my mother, who always felt inferior because she had been in service, did not like the idea of comparison so I was never encouraged to do anything which involved a needle.

Since those days there has been a lifetime of filling every minute - music making, travelling, crafting, writing, gardening, reading, never enough hours in the day - and teaching as well of  course.   Now, suddenly, comes Covid 19 and the question arises again.   Arthritis means no more music making or travelling, there is only limited gardening, writing my blog each day is a life line, reading means a steady supply of books (anything I fancy from Amazon - no money spent on lunches out means I dont feel guilty about this) and when there is nothing else to read I go through my bookshelves to reread something I fancy.

Which is why today, for at least the third time, I am going down Africa from Cairo with Paul Theroux.  ('Dark Star Safari').   What do people in lockdown who dont read do with their time?   I know a lot of you are crafters (as I used to be before arthritis set in) and a lot of you are cooks and bakers.  Now I live alone the latter would just mean more weight gain so is best avoided.

So please tell us - what are you doing to fill your time during lock down?   If we all pool the information then perhaps we will all find something new to hold our interest.

40 comments:

Heather said...

If your arthritis is bad obviously crafting is not for you, but could you perhaps start a scrap book of favourite images? I have a subscription to Landscape magazine and love their beautiful photographs. They are too good to throw away so I cut out the best bits and put them into my books. That way I have a permanent reminder of all the lovely images.
Without crafting I think I would be climbing the walls by now. My eyes get tired if I read too long and I get fed up with watching DVDs after a while. It must be awful for those who have no interests at all. I hope someone suggests something you would like to try.

the veg artist said...

I'm doing what I always do - painting. Needlework, embroidery, crochet, knitting - all encouraged in my home (but not on Sundays!), and I was often given a craft compendium for Christmas, with different things to try. We were taught to use a sewing machine at my acadamic girls' school too, so I can make clothes and curtains. I've taught myself macrame from a little book in the past. If your hands are OK, why don't you give sewing a go now? You might love it. An easy cushion kit would be straightforward to start.

Jennifer said...

I'm having a lot of fun watching my bird feeder!

George said...

Although my wife and I take the coronavirus very seriously, and avoid restaurants and public gatherings, I still have more things to do than I have time. I walk about seven miles every day; I work on my property almost every day; I spend time with my rambunctious, one-year-old puppy; I go birding almost every day; I pursue my love of photography; and I remain committed to reading books (versus just the news) for at least an hour a day. For anyone who's bored and looking for a great read, I would highly recommend the book I'm currently reading: The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson. It's a wonderful account of Churchill and London during the blitz between May10, 1940 and May 10, 1041.

Jules said...

I have plenty of time just now, but very little all to myself. I'm teaching, baking, gardening, reading, getting outdoors (when the weather permits) and generally keeping a small person entertained. I've had a good clear out, and this week I intend to decorate the bathroom. X

Joan (Devon) said...

For me knitting is always on the go, but I can't knit all day as my left arm starts aching and I get backache with being in the same position. For variety I do a bit of sewing, making greetings cards and also small envelopes for my grand-daughter's weekly pocket money. At the moment I am putting all her previous class school work into a file for my daughter. If your hands are up to it and you have postcards from your travels why don't you make an album with them or a scrap book making a note of something that stands out for you on that 'adventure'. It will be something for you to look back on.

JayCee said...

I have been spending my time reading, dressmaking, doing crosswords, keeping up with people's blogs and walking if the weather is fine.
Sorry, but probably not much help there though?

crafty cat corner said...

I ask myself the same question about those without any hobbies. I would go into decline if I thought that the day was just going to be filled with tv.
I have trouble fitting all the things in that I want to do. piano, uke, crochet, sewing, reading, blogging, playing scrabble and keeping the garden tidy.
I have a friend who used to do all these things but has given them all up and I can see her getting more and more moany.
You are good inspiration to get to your age and still be interested in everything.
Briony
x

Sue in Suffolk said...

I've often wondered what people with no hobbies do when they retire. I never seem to have enough hours to fit in everything I could do - even over the last few weeks.

Reading, doing puzzle pages from the local paper, gardening, baking, cross stitching, watching all sorts on TV and blogging of course.

I hope you will keep writing your lovely blog with so many interesting things to think about

Christine Hancock said...

What to do when you have plenty of time?? I am now into the routine of home all the time, altho' I was home all the time before.. I shower and dress later, which I am trying to break.
I read a lot, miss the library I visited it every Saturday, now I buy, I knit, quilt, garden, and we always have a jigsaw on the go. Mondays we clean upstairs, Wednesdays we clean down stairs, Friday we tidy and clean the lounge again. You might think how boring to have this routine, but if we didn't, we wouldn't get much of anything done. We are growing veg again altho' we said as we were older, when we moved here 3 years ago, we wouldn't, but old habits die hard. So we have a raised bed, chock a block of all sorts of salad crops plus pots. Why not, we're not going anywhere, cancelled our holiday and my husband built the raised bed and I sowed the seeds. We don't go out except for our walk, I have Rhett, you have your Percy.. and that's our life in this present time. We have each other and thank the Lord most days for our many blessings. I have the occasional down day, but don't we all.. at the end of each day, we have a very comfy bed; we read turn off our lights and I say, 'Thank goodness we don't have to get up to go to work tomorrow.' It's our silly joke because if we didn't have days set out to do housework we'd be busy all the time, because there's no weekends off work when you're retired. Kinda bliss isn't it?

justjill said...

As you know I paint, walk on the Prom and watch birds. You have a gift of memory and words to draw pictures for your readers. I am sure many other than I would read so how about writing a book.

The Furry Gnome said...

Blogging is certainly a lifeline for me.

Rachel Phillips said...

Thinking and looking and doing nothing is perfectly acceptable to me. I can't read and study the whole time. That Dark Star Safari is an excellent book as you and I know - we have discussed it in the past.

Sarah Dee said...

Gardening, gardening, gardening, walking, reading, knitting, sewing, making cards, collating photos, phoning friends, watching birds and then more gardening. Fortunately I live alone so no cooking, very little cleaning or washing. Wish I could do crosswords and sudoku but haven’t a clue.

Ellen D. said...

I spend a couple of hours each day reading and commenting on blogs (thanks so very, very much for yours!). It has been a very important part of my socializing as I am staying at home. I also have been quilting, READING, watching TV, recovering from surgery, and will start gardening and walking again now that I feel better. You are keeping busy with your walks with Percy and your video chats with friends too. I am often inspired by your questions and thoughtful posts. I appreciate the time you take to put up your blog. Thanks again!

Bovey Belle said...

Gardening, walking, reading, sewing and quiltmaking, birdwatching, puzzles, baking and cooking, domestic economy (my least favourite of the list!), watching intelligent tv, family history. Since lockdown, I have begun to draw again and

Why not set some memories down and see where it takes you. I loved your recent posts about how farming was when you were growing up.

busybusybeejay said...

Some interesting replies.I craft a lot.I am finishing off anElizabeth Bradley Bell Pull which I started years ago.I knit .Socks at the moment.I crochet.I am using up odd balls from my stash to crochet a blanket for charity.I always have a 1,000 piece jigsaw on the go.I listen to Woman's Hour on Radio 4 every morning plus other programmes on there.I do the crossword in the paper and attempt the hard sudoku.I read.I can recommend Hamnet by Maggie OFarrell and also the Beekeeper of Aleppo.I potter in the garden and am growing some tomato plants germinated from a slice of tomato on compost.Six plants are racing away.I find the weekends are the hardest.They just seem very long days.I don't do a lot of cooking because my OH likes to cook.He has done two OU free courses in lockdown.One on the French Revolution and one on the History of the Blues.He plays ukulele and is continuing his U3A Philosophy on zoom.We spend most of the days in different rooms pursuing our hobbies!!!!

Stay safe

Bonnie said...

I can honestly say I have never been bored even in lockdown. I stay busy enough that I have many things I want to do but do not get around to them all. I will admit to a bit of laziness since the lockdown started as I seem to have lost some of the incentive to get started on things. I spend a lot of time reading blogs and books, surf the internet, do some sewing on quilts or smaller projects and I have an ongoing challenge of organizing and scanning many old family photos. I occasionally watch a program or movie on TV and I try to keep up household chores, laundry and cooking. There is nothing exciting about my days but I do stay busy.

Granny Sue said...

I read novels now, something I quit doing when I was in grad school. Now I have time, and have followed up on many of your suggestions.

Boredom isn't a problem for me--there's gardening, cooking, working on furniture to sell, researching and listing glassware and china on ebay, getting things ready for my booths, keeping up with the blogs I enjoy, and porch-sitting. That last is such a pleasure. I noticed in England and Ireland that porches are not common, and I cannot imagine living without that roofed outdoor space. We have two rockers, a porch swing, and a fan that hangs from the ceiling to keep a breeze going, and can sit out there for hours if we want, just looking at the gardens and making plans.

The other thing is that I am not alone. I have my husband, and he makes plenty of messes for me to clean up! Joking, but there's truth in that. He's good company, helps with cooking and kitchen cleanup and even laundry sometimes. So that's a big difference.

Meanqueen said...

Just popping in to say hello. Sorry, can't stop, too busy ;o)

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

I fear, too much daydreaming is occupying my time.
Dragging out scrap wood, I've been saving for years, to make sinage for my walls has me spending less time daydreaming. The pain in my fingers aside, the exercise feels good. The only issue thus far is deciding on what words, title or name to paint.

Tom Stephenson said...

I am lucky enough to still be able to work, and I fill the times in between with the same things that Rachel does - thinking, looking and doing nothing has always been my favourite way of passing time. I have always believed that it is actually impossible to waste time, no matter how much we have left to us.

Derek Faulkner said...

Lock down never really affected me that much. I still patrolled the nature reserve I Vol. Warden on every day. Still did my gardening, still went out on my bike when I wanted to, still shopped at the supermarket. When I wasn't doing those things I simply sat indoors reading or doing nothing. I probably considered lock down finished before other people and certainly don't consider it still in force but then I don't mix with hundred of people every day, creating risks for myself.

The Weaver of Grass said...

So interesting reading all your replies. I didn't mean to give the impression that I couldnt find enough to do. I fill my days quite happily - I forgot to add all the Mind Games in The Times every day - I try to do them over my breakfast, which often means I don't have my shower until about ten in the morning - but the there is no rush is there.
And reading The Times from cover to cover takes another hour. But thank you so much for letting me have a glimpse into your lives during thia strange time.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I had decided to begin water color painting again before Covid-19 and had gotten the supplies...Now I read, watch tv, talk to my children on the phone for the most part, and watch YouTube videos on watercolor and paint. and blog. I am not bored. I also garden on the deck and read a lot of mysteries.

Bea said...

I have found that I really enjoy participating in the yoga and pilates classes that I find on YouTube. My attention for reading has waned in that past few months, I read the paper on occasion, draw, blog (of course), walk and futz around with a crafting of sorts from time to time. If I had a garden, then I would like to think I'd be tending to it quite often.

Joanne Noragon said...

Sometimes I weave on my loom. Mostly I just waste time.

carolyn said...

I love Theroux's books also. Riding The Iron Rooster is one of my favorites. Reading is filling a lot of my time.

donna baker said...

It is beyond me, but out of everyone's blog that I follow, your blog is the only one that lets me leave a comment, including my own blog. I have always loved to read your posts and I'm glad to hear you are well. I think the world of you. Donna

Margaret Butterworth said...

Donna, re commenting on blogs:
I can only comment if I access from Chrome, as opposed to Safari. This includes my own blog. I am an iPhone user. This is a mystery to me! If anyone else has thoughts on this, please post a reply.

thelma said...

I will have to think about this one Pat, because weirdly since lockdown happened rather than speed up I have slowed down.................. but it could probably be to do with age rather than laziness.

Barbara said...

I've been greatly enjoying lockdown, no commitments and lots of lovely time to indulge in gardening, reading, decluttering and generally pottering. No need to watch the clock.

Such a lot of lovely comments, they were all interesting to read and it's kind of people to take the time to reply to your question.

Well almost all interesting except for one (there's always one isn't there?) I can't understand why someone (Meanqueen) would just say Hello I'm busy. There's no need to be so abrupt, surely if so busy then the better alternative is not to comment. But hey it takes allsorts as they say.

I hope you enjoy your day and your week.

Rachel Phillips said...

Barbara, I don't know you but I do know Meanqueen and I can assure you she is a lovely person and her comment is said with a touch of good British humour.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Barbara - I think Rachel is right - good old British humour at work with Meanqueen's commentr. ##Thanks everyone.

A Smaller Life said...

Barbara ... Ilona, aka Meanqueen has not got a mean bone in her body ... but she has got a wicked sense of humour.

So what do I do with my days. As my role in our company has all but disappeared now, I spend far too long blogging and blog reading. I read books intermittently but I seem to have been going through a lull of wanting to do that recently (so much for my 100 books in a year challenge!!). I've watched far too many boxsets of DVDs than can possibly be healthy, I've weeded when the weeds look bigger than the veggies and I am putting off housework whenever possible. BUT ... Van Life is now back on the immediate horizon and I can resume a much better, much simpler and much less stress free life and hopefully it will make me pull up my socks and get stuck into something properly again.

Eleanor said...

I so envy Granny Sue being able to sit and relax on her porch, but alas we just don't have the weather to have them. Have been reading a lot and have a huge bag of books to take to the charity shop when they reopen. I also play Words With Friends (like Scrabble) on facebook with lots of people from around the world, mostly America. You can leave messages to people you play with and it's interesting to hear how they are coping with the pandemic. I am a crafter (cards, knitting & sewing) but funnily enough have not been in the mood to do any of it at the moment.

liparifam said...

Unexpectedly, because of the virus, as of two weeks ago I've had to step up and start keeping my 6-month old granddaughter every weekday. I'm no spring chicken anymore, and with no help it's tough. I look back fondly on "the old days" when I filled my time with reading, gardening, cooking, needlework, napping, etc., but we do what we have to...

wherethejourneytakesme said...

Even more gardening than usual, a little sketching, knitting and sewing. I also have long phone calls with both daughters, my mum and an aunty with dementia. I have also been watching the re-run of Downton as I missed many episodes the first time round (no TV at the cottage if we happened to be up in Scotland) I find I don't really have much spare time. I usually read in bed for half an hour before sleep.

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