The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

our tellyI love watching telly. It’s seductive. We don’t have cable telly or a digi box, so it’s just the five UK terrestrial channels.

A year or so ago Danny set up a sideline business and I started writing this blog. How would we create the time to accommodate these ventures? The simple answer was to give up watching telly (August 12th 2006 is engraved on a small invisible gravestone that sits just below the telly in our sitting room).

It was worse than giving up coffee. So much light conversation is about telly and I couldn’t join in. And even worse, when kind people tried to encourage me to join in I had to admit that I didn’t watch it. The shock was palpable.

Also I genuinely missed the mog-out and still mourn the experience at the end of a very hard day.

Christmas is different. My mum is invited and telly is part of each day’s je ne sais quoi. The Christmas before last, my mum and I wrapped ourselves around the telly. I was happy to watch anything. I remember a documentary about the Royal Ballet School and a wonderful production of Nicholas Nickelby.

This Christmas I was poised for viewing,
“Let’s hope there’s some Dickens.”
Danny thumbed through the Radio Times. Twice.
“There’s no Dickens.”
I was so disappointed.

Then I noticed an advert on the back of the Sunday Times supplement that was lurking on the stool in the loo. I shot out to announce my discovery.
“They’re showing The Old Curiosity Shop on Boxing Day evening!”
Danny perked up but my mum wasn’t impressed.
“Do you know what the story is about?” She asked.
We didn’t.
“Well it’s very grim and I will not be tuning in.”

My mum was leaving after the racing on Boxing Day so luckily she would not be subjected to the horror. When Danny had run my mother home we made a simple supper and switched on.

Derek Jacoby was the perfect man to play the part of the perfidious Grandfather. A brilliant actor with a delicate touch. The story was harrowing. I was on the edge of the armchair as the Min Pins nestled behind my back (they’d seen it all before). Thank goodness the grandfather wasn’t living now when every postman’s sack is weighed down with offers of new credit cards and spurious hope.


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15 Comments

  1. It’s hard to believe that we have been a TV-free household for over three years and also that we really do not miss it. Occasionally we decide to eat supper from our laps in front of it as a special treat. That is enjoyable, I must admit. I watch rugby internationals and Match Of The Day (we do not have satellite).
    This holiday season we decided to chill out by watching the three back-to-back CSI shows on Ch 5 on Saturday and Monday. We now feel fulfilled! The scariest aspect was watching the commercials and realising that many of the products being advertised were things we had never heard of. But, reading through the schedules, I see that there is so much pap being presented that I am glad we kicked the habit.
    On the night of the 25th I was snared by the final of Strictly Come Dancing when I surfed the BBC web site on my laptop. I think it was almost two hours long but I was hooked and watched through to the end. That is good. X Factor leaves me cold, though. Must be a generation gap thing.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Martyn,

    What a canny and generous move buying Moby a DVD recorder!

  3. I lost custody of both our tellies when I got divorced (mine was the hi-fi – hurrah!). That was fourteen years ago and I never felt the need, what with DAB radio and dvd’s on the pc. However, when the new (Christopher Ecclestone) series of Doctor Who was announced, I very kindly bought my girlfriend Moby a dvd recorder. Risky – it could have been rubbish…

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sarah

    I am so pleased that you are enjoying the site! Chickens are great fun to have in the garden. They give me hours of pleasure.

    Quite often I work in a house that has a TV in every room! People seems to use the TV more like a radio, MTV etc.

    I would never throw out the telly but I wouldn’t want to be wrapped around it every evening. Having not watched it for so long, it’s quite easy to be selective now.

    Hi Louisa

    Don’t beat yourself up. I don’t watch because I don’t have the time! Good luck with the diet. Happy New Year.

    Hi Kate(uk)

    Yes, good point. I wouldn’t want a telly in the bedroom ever.

  5. Kate(uk)

    Am I alone in finding a TV in the bedroom makes me feel like I’m in hospital, which is not relaxing at all!

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