12 ~ Simple Pleasures

~Q~

“Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.”

~ Elisabeth Elliot

~Q~



To many people, the idea of a more simple lifestyle seems to be a strange thing; such people accept what the modern world throws at them and accept it. Some things they don’t like, but for the main part they ‘go with the flow’. To such people, the idea that we should not be constantly aiming for a higher salary and more material goods is heresy! If they question their lifestyle at all, it is to lose a little weight or take up a new hobby, but the idea of totally overhauling the life one lives, and developing a whole new set of perspectives is not going to happen to them.

Assuming that you have stayed with the arguments thus far in the book (or perhaps you are just flicking through and your eye alighted here) then you are not one of these people and you are prepared to question those fundamental issues in your life. The difficult thing for you is to know where and when to stop, how far you can go and how far you can convince those near to you to share the journey with you.

The important thing is not to lose yourself on the way, to keep hold of those things that make you an individual and to stop yourself becoming a drudge to those important things that start as an exciting experiment, but all too easily become tedious chores. 

If I can use the example of keeping chickens; to start with, you build your chicken house. You fence off the run, you get the equipment and you arrive home with the chickens. Chances are it will be a nice sunny day and all the family will be gathered, expressing the opinion that these are indeed really fine chickens and that you are sure they will be happy and lay lots of eggs.  Three months later, it's raining. You have to make your regular morning visit to the chicken hut, it is cold and muddy, the rain is flying in your face and the bucket of chicken scraps is in danger of blowing away. When you get to the chickens they fly at you, eager to be first to get at the scraps.  You notice that some of the hens have been bullied and are losing feathers; you notice that rats have made a hole in the side of your chicken house, you realise that this weekend will need a whole morning spent cleaning out the chickens; you notice that you only have one egg today. On the cold, wet trip back you start to wonder whether it’s not a lot easier to pick up a dozen eggs next time you are at the supermarket.  Whilst your mind is wandering you drop your only egg of the day.


We all have days like this however we spend our time, so the important thing is to keep in the front of your mind not the trivia of daily ups and downs, but the real long term point of what you are doing. In order to do this you do have to spend some time thinking about your motivation and what drives you into simplicity.  Often this is hard to decide upon; many find themselves drawn deeper into a simple lifestyle as they get older; things which were once attractive now seem to be shallow and pointless while simple things seem to be more timeless and meaningful.

By chance I came across a blog about simple living; it helped me to see the bigger picture ~ the writer had simply made a list of what she wanted in her life.

(C) Wee Dragon http://weedragon.wordpress.com/

The interesting thing about this list is that so many things on it do not relate to the everyday and very practical nature of simplicity; they seem to be reaching for something much deeper; beauty, meaning, creativity, spiritual connection. We should be aiming for these things too.  A simple lifestyle should be very full of simple pleasures!

Happiness

~Q~

“…. It is important to remember that happiness is a by-product. It is, moreover, a by-product of activity, not of ease. It cannot be found ready-made. Nor can it be fashioned out of those things usually covered by the term ‘a higher standard of living’ – material comfort, more leisure, more money, more gadgets. Important as they are, these are static things. Happiness, which must not be confused with pleasure, results only from those activities which develop personality and character”

~ Eve Balfour

~Q~

(C) K and R Lovegrove
To be happy in your simple life really should come as a ‘side effect’ and not a major aim. So many things affect our happiness that we cannot control its appearance anyway; disposition, health, relationships, occupation and a dozen other smaller, but important, facets of our life. I think that simplicity can genuinely help you to recognize when happiness is with you; it is easier to be aware of happiness when digging the garden, cooking, playing with children or knitting, than when rushing to catch a train or preparing some monthly sales figures. We may, with increasing age, look back at our lives and say ‘I was happy then’, but this is very different from appreciating the happiness in the ‘here and now’. Happiness, if it is anything other than a flood of neurotransmitters through our system, is a contrast.  It is realising that ‘this is nicer than that’, ‘I am loving doing this, but hated doing that’ and the likes, it is also fleeting and somewhat random. The key to happiness is to be emotionally still for a short time, not rushing on to the next task, not aiming to be finished by any particular time, but to be doing something and doing it well, doing something that might be very mundane, but also something that needs doing.

On a very few occasions in our life we are flooded with such powerful happiness that the memory of it stays with us forever; falling in love, the birth of children, the finding of something once thought lost forever.  This happiness should be something we think of daily as we go about our simple ordinary tasks.


Contentment

~Q~

“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.”

~ Virginia Woolf

~Q~

While happiness can be transitory or, for some, very elusive, contentment is an easier thing all together. Contentment comes from not wanting things. Buddhist writings have much about the art of not wanting, but much of the philosophy of the western world is also rooted in this very simple idea. Contentment is the result of accepting what you have, living for the present and a degree of gratitude for what you have. We need to be able to accept that things are not always going to be the same, some things will get better while other things get worse, but for the meantime things are fine.

The opposite of contentment is dissatisfaction with what we have. While some dissatisfaction is the driving force for change in our lives, constant and wide-ranging dissatisfaction is unproductive and energy consuming. If you have a job that you don’t like, then do what you can to change it.  If change is impossible, then learn to find ways to put up with it. Contentment is never bred from inactive brooding! To improve your personal level of contentment, try to focus for some time each day on the little things that make your life work properly; forget those big fancy concepts and focus on cups of tea, bird song, home cooked food and a warm bed at the end of the day. Be content with your home, content with your partner and content with your children; these things may not be perfect, few things are, but consider your life if you were without them. For those who live alone, contentment will come with accepting the way things are. If alternatives are available, then explore them, but in the end, it’s a choice between accepting contentment versus a life of dissatisfied resentment. Which will you choose?



Joy

~Q~

“God surely did not create us, and cause us to live, with the sole end of wishing always to die. I believe, in my heart, we were intended to prize life and enjoy it, so long as we retain it. Existence never was originally meant to be that useless, blank, pale, slow-trailing thing it often becomes to many, and is becoming to me, among the rest.”

― Charlotte Brontë

~Q~

Joy is all about enjoying what you are doing at the moment; it is not as heady and fleeting as happiness, nor as clearly defined as contentment, but it may go hand in hand with these things. If you have a job to do, then do it with joy. Pride in a job well done, satisfaction with doing your best and an eye on the big picture all contribute to joy. Perhaps it is joy that is the chief reward for simple living, you can get great joy out of growing food yourself, cooking it yourself and eating it with others. Is there any joy in microwaving a ‘ready meal’? Perhaps not? Note that work and joy are very strongly connected.  To work for something to create, to make, to grow, to repair, to develop are all rich sources of joy.

Friends can be a source of joy, but make sure that you are a source of joy to them or the friendship will suffer from imbalance and may not last too long. Many people with some kind of religious faith consider it a source of joy in their lives. If you find yourself short on joy it may be one aspect of simple living that you need to explore (see chapter 8).

(C) K and R Lovegrove


Being Sad
~Q~

“Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.”

~ Virginia Woolf

~Q~

Sadness is part of life just as much as happiness, contentment and joy. A life without sadness is no life at all.  It is to be unaware of our own, or other people's unhappiness, it is to be unsympathetic and without compassion. Depression is sadness come to stay. When depressed, we are overcome by sadness so fully that there seems no way out of the darkness; we are on our own, and even we are unable to have any love or compassion for ourselves.

It would be wrong of me to suggest that a simple life can stop you getting sad or depressed, and it would be wrong to suggest that adopting a simple life can cure your depression any more that all the fripperies of modern life that claim to make your life ‘more happy’ or ‘more meaningful’. The truth is that a simple routine of hard work, good food, good rest and plenty of fresh air will help you to cope more easily with those sad times in life. The reasons for your unhappiness; being lonely, being believed, feeling isolated, lack of money, difficulties worth those around us, or more organic causes to do with some imbalance of brain chemistry or genetic susceptibility cannot be removed, but, the stronger you are both physically and mentally, the better you can manage your sadness and get yourself through it. ‘All things must pass’; that includes bad things as well as good things; whatever your state of mind as you read this page there will be other times when you feel very different. Acceptance of this fact is important.

~Q~


“Faith...... is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”


― C.S. Lewis

~Q~

Leisure Time


The remainder of this chapter is about leisure time. If your life, however simple, lacks some time to relax in, you will suffer in the long-term. Leisure is not the purpose of life and is rarely worth hurrying towards; if you find yourself rushing to the end of a job of work just to do something that can be classed as a leisure activity, then you have got something seriously wrong!

Leisure time is precious and can easily disappear unless you fit it into your daily schedule. If you make lists of things you need to do, make sure that every day you include one item of leisure activity just for yourself. We will look at some simple leisure activities in some detail, but remember to keep them firmly in hand. The work still has to be done.

~Q~

“Consider which of the ways to happiness offered by society are truly fulfilling and which are
potentially corrupting and destructive. Be discriminating when choosing means of entertainment and information. Resist the desire to acquire possessions or income through unethical investment, speculation or games of chance.”
~Q~
Advices and Queries, Canadian Yearly Meeting (Quakers)



Reading


Reading is perhaps the most simple of pleasures. It is infinite and can be tailored to your exact needs. To read may involve you in buying books, but there are ways of reading that involve little or no expense. The joy of reading should be available to all, irrespective of their book buying potential.
Public libraries have suffered much in the economic climate that allows politicians to judge the value of things by looking at the cost. The truth is that public libraries are priceless and that once gone, are unlikely to return to us. If you are lucky enough to live in an area well served then be thankful and make the most of your library. Libraries will get you what they do not have but, increasingly this service is charged for. Introduce your children to public libraries and encourage them to take out books on subjects far and wide. If libraries are being closed in your locality do what you can to make politicians think again. Many of us, at some time or another, have read something in a book that has changed our way of thinking or even changed our lives. It would be a pity if the only way to aspire to that level of awakening were if you had enough money to buy the book!

Again, I will confound those who think that simple living is all about rejecting technology; it is not! Little devices that are variously called ‘e readers’, ‘electronic books’, Kindle© etc. are a simple way of reading. I have one such device and fill it with books that are free of charge, due to being out of copyright. The modest investment in such a device, together with a determination not to buy any books to read on it makes it a worthwhile item to have! For those of you without the space in your homes for many books, this device will also solve that problem as thousands of books can be stored easily. Given the choice, I would rather have a ‘hard copy’, but with many of the world’s finest authors on offer for no additional charge, they should be given serious consideration. 
(One day someone will solve the problem called ‘kindle nose’, a small lump in the middle of the nose caused by an electronic book landing on you as you fall to sleep!)

Charity shops are a great way to find books that usually been looked after and are well below the cost of buying them new. To prevent your house from filling up with books, make sure that you regularly donate the books you have finished with.


(C) K and R Lovegrove

Children should be raised in an environment where reading, either silently or aloud in groups, is an everyday experience for them. Some books which they are unable to read will have them diving into the pictures and learning a great deal from them. I am happy for my children to read any book that they might come across in the house. If you feel you have books that you don’t want your children to see, then ask yourself why you have them in your home!

Television and all those things like television


The big difference between assimilating information from a television (or DVD or computer video) and a book is that the book is a more gentle and controllable medium. Someone talks when you are reading and you can immediately stop, use a bookmark, and put the book down.  Televisual devices all draw you in and offer some kind of alternative existence while you view. This is what makes television and all its more recent rivals so addictive, especially to children. Next time your children are watching television, take a good hard look at them; they are drawn into the visual world that is created for them and may appear to be in a trance, bodies showing little movement, eyes fixed, expressionless faces. If you think that this has no effect on their developing brains of children, I think you need to reconsider carefully.  There is any amount of research that indicates otherwise.

I'm not against television all together, far from it, but I think it should be a minor part of any child’s life (and any adults for that matter). If you decide to have a television in your home, stick to one, make it small and do not subscribe to vast numbers of channels. If there is something that you particularly want to see, then watch it.  At other times, leave it switched off. Keep television out of your bedroom and out of your children's bedrooms. Think very carefully before you expose your children to the full force of television advertising (in the UK we have the choice of non-commercial television) and above all never be in the position of not knowing what your children are watching. Adult television is unsuitable for children, always.

The best way to watch television is for the whole family to get together and relax with a suitable film or a nature program; technology exists to ensure that you can do this at a time convenient to yourselves. Talk about what you have been watching and turn the process of viewing into a shared activity. If your family decides to do without television, expect some period of loss and then observe how quickly other things are taken up.

Computers

Using computers as a form of entertainment is different from working on computers or using a computer as a means of communication. Children ~ and many adults ~ cannot draw distinct differences between these functions. When computers get together with someone who is not entirely task focused, bad things happen. Those bad things could just be wasting time, but could also develop into social media addiction, shopping for unwanted items, online gaming, online pornography, online gambling and other things even less compatible with simple living. Control your computer time and allocate a small amount of time just for keeping up with friends. If you work from your computer, then have a separate work 'log in identity' and block all social media sites, and other sites that distract you. You can get free ‘apps’ that will limit the time you can spend on any site and even the number of times you log in each day  Use them!



As for children,  I believe that parents must be in control of time spent and sites visited. This may be controversial for some.  Have your computer kept in a room where other adults or children are close by, and not in the child’s bedroom. Use search engine filters and apps to block sites that contain material that you are unhappy with; use a child safe search engine. Using an ‘ad blocking app’ is essential. Keep your children off social media until they reach an age when you feel they can cope and insist that as part of the deal, you are amongst their ‘friends’ so you can see what they are doing. You may wish to hold the account password to block any so called ‘friends’ who post offensive material. Regularly check the ‘history ‘of your child’s computer use and ask them about any unfamiliar sites that come up. Finally, it is pointless to have these controls over your child’s use of the computer if you place a ‘smart phone’ or ‘tablet’ in their hands without using the same controls. Keep an eye on how technology is changing.  If you are unhappy with developments take an ‘Amish stance’ and do not allow intrusive devices in your home! Of course, part of being a parent is to know when to let go and allow your child decide for themselves, I would not like to put an age when this takes place, but it will come as part of a trusting awareness of your child’s own psychological and spiritual development.

~Q~

“Be aware of the attitude with which you receive all the material and cultural products of your 
society. Seek the beautiful and worthwhile in literary and recreational pursuits, being always sensitive to the encroachment of the banal, the degrading, or the violent.”

~ Advices and Queries, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Quakers)

~Q~


For those readers who find this approach draconian, imagine you send your child out shopping in an unfamiliar town.  Would you be happy for them to pop in and look at what happens in every bar, brothel and gambling house they come to? Are you happy for them to meet and talk with complete strangers of any age, and for those strangers to pass them photographs which you don’t see or offer to sell them things you don’t know about? I presume not ~ so why would you want them to wander as they please around the internet? One of the primary roles of a parent, or those caring for children, is to protect them; that protective role does not end when your child connects to the internet. In fact, I would extend this idea to the extent that all adults have a duty to protect all children, including on the internet!


Hobbies

So old fashioned has this word become that many of us no longer consider ourselves to have any ‘hobbies’. Application forms which have a section entitled ‘hobbies’ are likely to be filled with meaningless vagaries like ‘reading’ or the one that shows least imagination ~ ‘watching television.' Hobbies can be anything that is not entirely useful but may produce some useful by products like gardening, knitting, beekeeping, woodwork and the rest. Other hobbies are less useful and may include collecting of anything from postage stamps to first editions. Collecting has several drawbacks from the simplicity point of view; firstly it generally costs money and secondly it takes up space and, of course, as no collection is ever complete it leads to a kind of obsessive ‘hunting instinct’ that cannot be satisfied. Perhaps the best hobbies are those that involve getting some fresh air and either observing or photographing things; birds, insects, churches, the night sky, hill walking etc.
Children are keen on hobbies and should be encouraged, but simply buying things that they want to collect is pretty pointless. Encourage them to develop interests and stick with them; beware of the child that takes up a new hobby every two weeks and try to offer them some direction. Also, be aware that children are very resistant to having hobbies imposed upon them; anyone buying a child a saxophone or telescope should be warned that it just might not be what they would choose for themselves.  Best to ask first.

Pets

Pets can be a source of great joy in the home, they bring companionship to those who live alone and become part of any family. The keeping of pets can help children develop concepts of caring and introduce them to topics which they need to understand like birth, illness and death. Choose carefully a pet that fits in with your life and be sure to take seriously the requirements of the animal involved. Think very carefully about the ethical implications of keeping small birds and animals in cages, does your wanting to keep them override their right to a decent life and some degree of freedom? We have kept caged pets in the past, but we have decided that a life spent in a cage is little more than a life spent in a prison, despite all methods of making it less so, and for a crime of which they are not guilty.
(c) K and R Lovegrove


Ethical considerations cannot be put aside when keeping pets; cats and dogs do have a diet of meat/fish based products and can you be sure that these have been ethically sourced? The carbon footprint of a large dog is much greater than that of a human, due to their diet. If you are vegetarian or vegan, how does this fit in with your pet ownership? A dog can be fed a vegetarian diet, but not a cat. If you run a kosher kitchen (see Chapter 3) you will not want to feed your cat or dog in it.

Companionship is not the only reason for keeping pets; they can also be useful.  Dogs can be very effective burglar alarms and intruder deterrents, but be sure to lower the annoyance factor to your neighbours by training your dog not to bark at every passer-by. Cats will keep your house free of mice and can help keep your garden free from rats, rabbits and other difficult visitors, but unfortunately they will, however much you try to discourage them, catch and kill wild birds. Keep your pet ownership under control if you want a simple life; too many pets and your daily list of chores will grow and grow!

Sport and Games


Sports can be a good way to gain exercise and to keep children fit and amused. The best games are played in a casual and enjoyable way with family and friends (disorganized as opposed to organized sport). Consider carefully if you want to become involved in competitive sports or those that involve high investment in equipment, risk of injury (which may stop you doing what you need to do) or the joining expensive of gyms and clubs. The best sporting equipment is that which costs little and gives hours of amusement; balls, Frisbees, kites and the like.  You could argue that exercise can be gotten by other methods and certainly if you are walking and busy being self-sufficient all day, then additional exercise is the last thing you will want!

Spectator sports are expensive and provide no exercise, so consider carefully if you can justify the expense and the time.  Avoid all sports that involve you in unduly competitive struggles or involve inflicting injuries to yourself and others. Be careful when introducing children to sports that you are not sowing the seeds of the tribal, ‘jingoistic’ and nationalistic sentiments that seem to be close to the surface in many organized sports.

Board games can be very attractive as a means of developing family relaxation time. Some games are better than others and some children enter the spirit better than others. Traditional games are the best and avoid those that are television or movie themed, they are just another attempt to commercialize an old family pastime. Avoid also any game that gives unfair advantage to older children; the younger ones will soon lose interest. Find room in your home for a ‘games cupboard’ and try and find time in your week to play with your children.

Computer games are ever more sophisticated, involving not only playing, but some degree of online ‘chat’ and scoring against other players. Given the addictive nature of many of these games, and the fact that violence seems to be a common theme, I feel that they have no place in a simple home. You may not be able to control your children playing them, but do nothing to encourage the activity and limit the time spent playing them.

Music


Playing music is a wonderful way of relaxing and an excellent way for children to learn. If making music is part of your home life, then it will be all the richer for it. Take care that practice takes place at a time when the rest of the family, and neighbours, will not be unduly disturbed. Instruments are expensive, so take care of them and your investment should last you years. If you would like your children to play a musical instrument, please involve them fully in deciding what to go for; lessons are expensive, so if your child is not interested then don’t push them.

Listening to music is very fine too, but don’t go down the road of constant background music while you work; it will damage your peace and you will end up not noticing or appreciating it. Introduce your children to a wide range of music and let them decide for themselves what they like; try classical, folk, blues, country, bluegrass, acoustic rock and a range of world music. They should always be able to identify real instruments being played, whatever the style being listened to.  Computerized electronic music is not the real thing (the author willingly admits to personal preference at this point). Avoid very loud music for young children, (even if it’s what you like) there are plenty of simple and wonderful sounds that you can share with them without resorting to damaging loud noise which can, (especially in the confined space of a car) damage ears and even brain development.

Scrapbooks

May I say at the very beginning that a scrapbook is a large format book which you can buy or make yourself, usually containing pages made of sugar paper of varying shades.  I do not mean one of those expensive books purchased from a craft shop for which you have to continually buy items to stick in. Having thus established the idea of a distinctly ‘old fashioned’ scrapbook, what you put in it is up to you! Children like to keep pictures and written work that they have completed, dried leaves, wrappers, posters, school certificates, photographs, etc. Children may ‘go off’ the idea of keeping such a book from time to time, but they do come back and enjoy looking at the pasted items. If they don’t process a scrapbook they will keep the items anyway; this may be under the bed, on the floor or behind the wardrobe, so a scrapbook is another way to keep things tidy!

For adults, scrapbooks can be for recipes, hints and articles from magazines and newspapers, things that you have read, but want to keep. They can also be things that relate to your children and family. Imagine that you are one hundred years old. Looking back on things kept in a scrapbook will be a memory jogger and a joy. Whatever you keep, don’t get obsessive and end up scrapbooking too much material.

Getting Outside



Whenever you can, get yourself and your family outside ~  not for a trip or a ‘drive’ ~ but for a walk. If you live out-of-town, then get to know your locality well.  If you live in a big town or city then make the most of the parks and gardens that have mostly been left to us as a gift from an earlier age. National Parks are wonderful for walking, climbing and watching wildlife. If you live in the UK strongly consider joining the National Trust, “a UK conservation charity, protecting historic places and green spaces, and opening them up for ever, for everyone.” Currently family membership is about £100 per year, but you can usually get a cheaper deal for the first year.  This allows you unlimited access to hundreds of parks, gardens, beaches, woodlands, galleries, collections, ancient monuments, houses and castles all over the country. Parking is free for members and you will never be short of somewhere to visit. If you don’t live in the UK ,find out if you can take advantage of something similar where you live.


© National Trust UK/ Paul Harris

Family Holidays

Taking a break from your normal routine is a great idea now and then, but the modern concept of a ‘family holiday’ can prove both expensive and stressful. If you have pets, crops and livestock it is also very difficult to make arrangements to have your chores done while you are away.  In particular, growers will find a summer break very difficult to organize. If you can take a holiday then consider the environmental aspects of what you do; jetting across the globe to spend ‘two weeks in the sun’ is not inexpensive nor 'green' nor part of a simple life. Consider holidays closer to home and you won’t have to suffer hours of travelling.  Camping instead of staying in an hotel further reduces your costs and makes your holiday time really different from what you do every day. If you live in the town, then try to holiday in the countryside, but if you have a rural base, then some time spent in a big city might offer you more of a contrast. In some places, ‘working holidays’ exist where in exchange for five or six hours of work each day (usually agricultural), you get ‘free’ accommodation and sometimes food; for the rest of the time you can explore your environment. Another option is to ‘house sit’, or even ‘house swap’ with family that lives in a different part of the country ~ low cost and mutually beneficial.

Being Creative

Many of us enjoy aspects of art and creativity when we are young, but as we get older the pressures of living seem to get in the way. If you used to enjoy drawing, painting, lino-cutting, calligraphy, creative writing, poetry or any other creative pastime, then pick it up again and make some time each week to pursue your art. If you have children, then do what you can to encourage them to make creativity a lifelong joy and not just a childhood pastime.



Your Family

If you have a partner, and if you have children, then spend time with them.  You don’t have to be doing anything too exciting, expensive and demanding, just talk to them and listen to them.  It’s important. Don’t always try to be involving your family in doing things with you, get used to the idea of being together, but separately engaged. A modern dilemma (or perhaps it is a really ancient dilemma) is the ‘bored child’, a child that needs constant stimulation and treats, otherwise they just sit and mope. All children need to develop their own interests and need to attain a level of self-motivation.  If ‘boredom’ is a land they have to travel through in order to reach a point where they pick up a book, a pencil or a jigsaw puzzle, and use it, then boredom has a function.




·         Actively try to make happiness, joy and contentment parts of your life.
·         If things are standing between you and happiness, joy and contentment, try to find ways around the obstacles.
·         Take up a hobby.
·         Encourage your children to take up non-passive/non-electronic pastimes.
·         Get out and about with your family.
·         Start keeping a scrapbook.
·         Before you get family pets, consider fully the ethical and environmental consequences involved
·         Play board games with your children*
·         Consider the expense and environmental consequences of your current family holiday regime.  Do you need to change?
·         Read more books. Consider an electronic reader.


·         Confine television and computers to shared areas of the house and not in bedrooms.
·         Check what your children are doing online.
·         Install web safety and ‘Adblock’ software on your computers.
·         Consider introducing set ‘screen time’ for your children if they seem unwilling or unable to do it for themselves.
·         Take holidays close to home.
·         Consider camping.
·         Leave the gym and lead a more active life instead.
·         Consider electronic entertainment free evenings/days each week.
·         Work hard to get your children through the ‘boredom threshold’ and through to the other side.


·         Consider if your family can do without television or computers.
·         Consider being a ‘pet free’ family


*Note from HQ ~ I hate board games more than I can say, but will try to learn to love them in the future.


Books

Collins Gem Book of Card Games Collins 2004

This little book will teach you new games, remind you of those you have forgotten and settle any family argument about ‘how to play’.


Links

Both of these are sites where you can get free downloads of almost any out of copyright book in any electronic format or any language.

Manybooks  Easy to search and easy to download in any format.

Project Gutenberg Extensive collection of books, even the very obscure can be tracked down,

LibriVox Free public domain audiobook read by volunteers from around the world.

National Trust UK (See text).

Ad Blocking App Free download

(C) Ray Lovegrove (aka 'Hay Quaker') 2014


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