Times are certainly strange right now. I’ve been working from home since Tuesday and let me tell you, it’s boring. It turns out my cats are the most invasive micro-managers you could ever come across and I miss those chats with the IT team around the coffee machine.
The best thing about my work is the students and they’re obviously not turning up to my house because a) I live 75 minutes away from my work, and, b) that would be all kinds of wrong.
Today is my last day of work before I’m officially on holidays and I’m itching to get to grips with that stash of wool and fabric that I’ve been stockpiling for the past few years. So I can’t go out except for essentials? That’s OK – I have all the essentials I need right here.
Several hundred books? CHECK.
Three spare packets of leaf tea? CHECK. (I only wanted one, but I should have known better than to send the Chef into the tea aisle. Don’t worry – he wasn’t panic buying. That’s how he always shops for tea.)
Knitting projects to finish and plans for twenty-seven more? CHECK.
Two dresses to finish off and hem? CHECK.
A freshly-replenished store of gin and tonic water? CHECK. (Four Pillars gin and Fever Tree tonic. Expensive tastes: I have them.)
And of course, we have our Netflix, Stan and Disney+ subscriptions. Who needs to go out anyway?
Here’s the thing, though: those subscription services are going to chew through bandwidth like nobody’s business. So while I’m watching Father Brown (my current OBSESSION), I’m gobbling up bandwidth and adding to the problems that will make it difficult for GPs to use telehealth or for students to access online classes and resources, which I am sure the latter are desperate to do.
Let’s think about this way: we’re kind of at war. With a virus. Unlike other wars, most of us are on the home front, so it’s our job to keep the home fires burning (I’ll pass on a literal interpretation, though – our flue hasn’t been checked in ages and I’m pretty sure the top of it blew off in a bad storm last year).
When you’re at war, it makes sense to ration what we have. Such as trying not to scoff down my entire supply of hot cross buns. Or only having a G&T on the weekend (n.b. weekends start on Friday here). So why not ration my streaming, too?
In fact, there’s one easy way to take the load off our
completely rubbish well-planned and forward-thinking internet services.
Save Bandwidth & Read a Book!
You could also dust off your blu-ray player and plug it in, but most of us haven’t been buying physical copies of movies and TV series lately. Books are much easier. If you don’t happen to have a stash of them at home, you can still order them online. Freight and delivery services have been deemed essential and I feel there are few things more essential than a stash of books.
With the possible exception of my accidental stash of leaf tea.
Incidentally, a good cuppa is the perfect companion for your reading session.
When it comes to choosing what to read, isn’t it fortunate that many of the most popular TV series and movies came from books in the first place? It’s easy to encounter your favourite characters and plot twists in their original book form.
Game of Thrones, Outlander, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Good Omens, Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Fault in Our Stars… the list goes on. And on.
Imagine being able to enjoy your favourite series without having to deal with low-quality streaming or annoying glitches. Instead, it’s projected directly into your imagination in high res quality and guaranteed technicolour!
You could even get ahead of the curve and read some books before they’re adapted for Netflix or Amazon Prime. Dive into the sci-fi action of Aurora Rising or strap yourself in for all fourteen volumes of the Wheel of Time series.
Let’s not forget graphic novels and manga. You can breeze through My Hero Academia or Assassination Classroom (my current favourite) instead of streaming the anime, or pick up Black Panther or The Avengers without having to open up the Disney+ app.
Libraries are still there for you
Most libraries have closed their physical doors, but they’ve been building up online collections for years now. Check out the ebooks in your local library’s collection. If you’re at school or are a parent, find out if your school library has ebooks on offer (most do). You can enjoy access to ebooks at absolutely no cost to you.
If you’re not already a member of your local library, you can sign up online.
Sit back. Relax. Open a book.
I know: it’s easier said than done right now. Lots of us are worrying about whether we’ll be able to get the supplies we need or what’s going to happen to our jobs. Books really are the antidote we need. When you dive into the world of a book, you have permission to shut off your thoughts and worries for a little while.
So tell me what book you’re going to read or share some recommendations. And let me know if you need some tea, because I can probably help you there.
Stay well. Stay safe. Keep reading!