I keep a supply of books on hand. At the moment I am deeply into War and Peace by Tolstoy. This has led me into an interesting review of the life and times of Napoleon, through the Internet. In addition I have The Joburg Book edited by Nechama Brodie, which is full of fascinating glimpses into the city’s history. Recently, I have enjoyed The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy, The White Tiger by Adiga Aravind, as well as The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. I can’t say that I enjoyed Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi, but it was gripping and I am glad that I read it.
A very absorbing past-time is our Family History. With the help of Family Historian software, [they also have a free trial version] and websites like:
I have traced our English and Scottish ancestors back into the 1700s. Make a start, and get as much information as you can from your family now – everything from dates to gossip! Ensure that it includes full names, maiden names, and dates and places of birth. All you need is a supply of paper and a pencil – and a telephone. It could be the beginning of a fascinating journey, with some surprises!
An hour or so can quickly pass visiting the great museums and galleries via the Internet.
Not only is the art available to view, but most of them include background detail and interpretive comment. Some invite you to create your own ‘room’ online, and to furnish it with your special pieces. My favourite galleries are:
If you need, or want, to think about feeding the hungry hordes – be they one or many – the BBC has a colourful website with all sorts of mouth-watering dishes. They certainly look good, and there are recipes for every occasion. I like the ones marked ‘Easy!’ A favourite is sausages cooked in wine!
Gather everyone in the kitchen, to help make and eat hot crumpets and jam, toasted sandwiches or hamburgers. Make it a “No help, no eat” day.
And to add a bit of spice to a casual meal, try getting out one of the old family games, and challenging the others. Games like Dominoes, Canasta, Snakes and Ladders, Draughts, Checkers, Backgammon, Rummy. Rummy K, Scrabble [leave out Monopoly!] They might complain to begin with and end up having an hilarious time.
For a trip down memory lane search YouTube, or Nokia Music, and look for the songs and music that are a part of your early life. I rediscovered some old friends, as well as a song that my father sang to me when I was very young! They brought back many great, and some poignant, memories.
And finally, for those of you who cannot draw – have a go. There is an inspiring book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Its starting point is that everyone can draw. I was sceptical, because I knew that I couldn’t. That was the problem. Step by step the author has guided me forwards until, fairly quickly, I found myself drawing something that I could recognise! The sense of joy and achievement was wonderful. So on that very cold Saturday I had another go – and my gladiator on horseback, I thought, looked good. It is relaxing, absorbing – and very satisfying.
The night has passed, and the day lies open before me.
This will be a day to remember.
Do you have any suggestions for Jerry?
Send him an email!