This blog isn’t about how hard the Covid-19 situation is for everyone. You all know that. This is about some of the fun or stimulating things I’ve found to do while on lockdown and an online reading I’ll be part of next week. You may already be engaged with several of these already but I hope one or two of the listed items might be of interest.
As well as buying a good number of e-books during my convalescence, I’ve been happy to have access to Leeds Libraries’ e book and audiobook service, Borrowbox. I’ve read Jackie Kay’s Trumpet (brilliant) and Caitlin’s Moran’s How to be Famous (funny) and listened to Kelman’s Pigeon English (what a voice). I’ve just started R J Palacio’s Wonder.
The Leeds Library is offering a similar service to its members. And Hyde Park Book Club is delivering wiped down free books to people locally who need something to read.
I’ve been meaning to get into audiobooks for years but never got round to it. Listening gave me something to do when I was too ill to read and helped me slow down while I was recovering. Speaking of pace, listening at a faster speed feels stressful at first but your brain adjusts. I’ve found I can manage 1.5 speed but I couldn’t have done that with my favourite so far, which was Eimear McBride’s A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing. Read by the author, it is a breathless and devastating work of genius and should be listened to exactly as presented.
3. Online Theatre and Films
I didn’t think online theatre would work and it’s obviously not the same as the live experience but one of my favourite lockdown activities has been watching wonder play out on my husband’s face as we watched The National Theatre’s Twelfth Night. Many of you already know that TNT release a film of an old production once a week. Other productions of interest have been Mind The Gap’s Zara; Slung Low’s, The Good Book and The Forgotten Women of Wakefield’s, Clara – one for the Alice Cliff Scatcherd fans.
I’m also interested in looking more closely at the BFI. They have 1000 films you can access for free and also a subscription service of 4.99 per month. A great alternative to Netflix or Amazon Prime.
4. Learning a Language
This week, I’ve dabbled in BSL and returned to Duo Lingo to refresh my neglected and minimal Italian. I plan to keep it up.
I’ve been going to Pilates classes regularly for years and have been missing it terribly. For health reasons, I’ve not been able to practice much lately but have gained huge benefit from these practitioners’ free classes when I have done so. Do click on the links.
a) My Australian cousin Gemma
b) For Zebras (those with joint hypermobility syndrome)
6) Ian Duhig
Ian has been keeping many of us smiling through the bleak times with his ongoing social media joke thread. Follow him here:
7) Poetry Events
Until this week I’ve been too unwell to become a Zoomer. I’ve managed to work most mornings for the last few weeks but afternoons and evenings have been tricky. I’m now looking to brave some events.
On Thursday at 12.30 pm I’ll be at the virtual Dylan Thomas readings at The Leeds Library and will be contributing by reading a favourite Thomas poem and one of my own. Register your interest now and join us here.
I will leave you with a gift of bluebells from the woods local to me. Since being told that I can no longer be contagious, the walks I have taken there have been so healing.