Social-distancing and self-isolating bring unusual time indoors and are generating numerous ideas on how to spend time productively and enjoyably, realising an opportunity.
Sherbhert has a few thoughts on the subject. An earlier article (See Sherbhert https://www.sherbhert.com/covid-19-a-balancing-act-for-government-and-all-citizens-part-2/ ) suggested activities which could endure way beyond this phase of insularity – learning to cook and learning to exercise at home, these things can be solitary pursuits or undertaken with family and so become team and sharing events with fun and laughter.
LEARNING TO COOK OR LEARNING MORE COOKING SKILLS
We may have different objectives, depending on the level of prior experience. Assuming cooking is not a person’s normal lifestyle, a reasonable aim might be to become confident in producing basic meals from readily available ingredients, giving them taste. Simple recipes are a good starting place, plus of course tips in these pages. Experimenting and succeeding in getting satisfaction from eating your own work can inspire to carry on, and this is also true for children who learn to cook.
It is a great opportunity to increase skills – making bread, pastry or pasta, all from scratch maybe?
The greatest benefit will be to add cooking to daily routine because it is no longer a chore: replacing processed home deliveries or take-aways or ready meals with newly cooked or assembled fresh produce as a healthier and cheaper alternative in which the whole family can be invested. Save money, better health, better life.
EXERCISE AT HOME
While the gym can offer social benefits, it is not cheap, and can be time consuming. Yet it is possible with a home exercise routine to get the physical and mental benefits of a gym without equipment. Yoga or similar disciplines, even in basic forms and shortish sessions can bring extraordinary benefits, including de-stressing, better mental well-being, better physical well-being.
Or a simple but regular exercise routine, using mainly your own bodyweight, bits of furniture or steps, can be developed. Advice, with routines, is plentiful online, or even in Sunday newspapers. Professional advice is important here.
A simple and cheap exercise is skipping, where all that is needed is a rope: all the family can learn it, with tricks eventually to impress.
For advanced level exercise a YouTube workout video recommended to Sherbhert is Simple and Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline. As a result, a kettlebell, or more than one might be acquired, and used often – but only when the way to use it for physical benefit not damage is understood. Not for the fainthearted.
THE ENGLISH PATIENT
A timeless, outstanding film and a work of art. A romance originally released in 1996 and set in Tuscany and Egypt at the end of the Second World War. Look out for the moving scene in the church with the frescoes.
An action/comedy film, probably for over 12’s, originally released in 1994 with Arnold Schwarzenegger maybe in middle age but at his most robust and wittiest best, and Jamie Lee Curtis perfectly cast as the wife of a salesman who is in fact a spy. Peppered with memorable moments and memorable lines – look out for the scene with the water from the vase of flowers This is watchable more than once and will make you laugh every time you see it.
THE ENGLISH GAME – football of course-is a 6-part Netflix series, telling the history of football, from amateur to professional. It is an easy watch with lots of feel good moments.
BOOKS – PAPER, DIGITAL OR AUDIBLE
THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR by Ben Macintyre is a true story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent, who is in fact a double agent working for the British during the cold war. It is hard to beat real life told well. Gripping, and emotive, it is made the more real by the recent death of Valerie Pettit https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/valerie-pettit-obituary-c2vpg258k Veronica Price in the book. She was key in orchestrating Gordievsky’s escape but kept her role secret and it was only revealed after her death. This is an enthralling read or listen – the Audible version is also read by Ben Macintyre and is outstanding.
KOLYMSKY HEIGHTS by Lionel Davidson, a timeless thriller (see Sherbhert https://www.sherbhert.com/incidentally/).
THE COURSE OF LOVE by Alain de Botton, a moving romantic novel maybe for those who want to broaden their understanding of the deepest of relationships. It debunks, but does not decry, romance, but gives an honest insight into the course of love and lifelong friendship. Lots of food for thought and words perhaps of wisdom.
Whilst an anxious time, this is nevertheless for so many an opportunity for reflection and development, while remembering with gratitude all the time the more vulnerable and those who are working to care for the sick or to keep the necessities of life available for the people of the UK.