Downtime- What I Do Offline to Recharge

Isn’t if funny how nowadays being “on a computer” is no different to being “online”? Of course, using the term “nowadays” marks me out as a bit of an old fart, but you know what I mean?! When I was a teenager computers were rarities and in our high school there was ONE single computer that we used in Maths and we had to work in groups to use it. I didn’t actually put fingers to keys until I started work at the age of 17, and even then it was on a VDU not a PC. Home computers came much later and the internet was in its infancy. It was so far removed from today’s broadband-connected constancy (Facebook, online gaming, bingo, Twitter, news websites, blogs etc) that it still makes me step back and think when questions like the one as per my post title are raised.

So, let’s get on with the answer.

I suppose my downtime can be split into two types of activity: The must-do and the want-to-do.

The must-dos are the usual kind of things that have to be done around the house – meals, cleaning, laundry, sweeping, tidying etc but it’s the want-to-dos are the things that make me fizz.

My first love was reading and I do tend to read a lot even now. I love building my collection of books and I can easily lose myself in the contents of my bookshelves. I have got them roughly grouped: my “thinking” books (poetry, philosophy, spiritual tracts, my journals and notebooks etc), my “classics” (Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare etc), my “good books that I’ve read and want to read again” (my Rebus series, The Time Travellers Wife, my True Blood series, Christopher Fowler “Bryant and May” series etc) and my “reading list” collection which is my stack of books I have recently acquired and am aiming to read next.

My second love is music and before I got ill I used to practice my cornet at home as well as go to band practice twice a week. Now that I can’t blow I have replaced my playing music to conducting it so I spend a fair bit of time preparing music for the Middleton Youth Band to play. I love arranging music for them and other ensembles and I’ve got a list of “to do” pieces that grows all the time. I have also arranged some music for my brother’s group to play – he has a Mexican/Herb Alpert tribute group – and my all time favourite was an arrangement for orchestra and brass band of “May God’s Blessing” which I dedicated to the memory of a friend of mine and was performed at the Bridgewater Hall.

I enjoy handicrafts – cross stitch and crochet mainly – but I enjoy other bits of sewing like dressmaking and so on. I’m a bit of a dabbler in oil painting and sketching as well. I don’t consider myself very good but I do love the process, as I do with photography. When I’m up to going out and about I love going out with my camera, but it’s not very often these days. Here are a couple of my “home” shots to show you and a picture of one of my favourite paintings.

When the house is quiet I like to take advantage of it by meditating from time to time but in this house total peace is almost unheard of so that’s a rare treat!!

My other downtime activities fall into the category of “when I’m well again” – walking/hiking, cycling, swimming – and I’m content to bide my time for now and just plan my next outing. Whenever it may be!!


Why not describe your own downtime activities in your own blog? Please link back to mine so I can see how other people use their time! Thank you.

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