Essentials – and a few “not-so-essentials”…

By | April 27, 2020

Good morning everyone.  I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you this week – various bits and pieces that have been mentioned or have occurred to me over the last few weeks, but that didn’t make a newsletter all on their own.

Some of them are useful tips for while we’re all stuck inside.  Others are just little snippets and suggestions that you might enjoy!  So here goes…

More ways to get essentials online

I’ll start with some of the responses we had to last week’s email about places to order food if you’re struggling to get a slot from a supermarket.

Thank you Sue Matthews for your suggestion of My Pub Shop.  This is a “click and collect” service for essentials that you can order online and pick up from your local pub.  Not all pubs are registered with them, but it’s worth signing up to find out whether your local is.

Another one that’s well worth you all knowing about is Shopping Slot.  I’ve had a few people mention this one to me this week.  All you do is type your postcode into the website, and it’ll check for any available delivery slots from Tesco, Asda, Iceland or Waitrose.  And they’re hoping to add more supermarkets and other shops over time.  I didn’t have any luck when I checked, but I know lots of people have managed to pick up a slot that way.

E-books from your library

I don’t know about you, but when I’m stuck in the house, I tend to spend a lot more time with a book in my hand.  Thankfully we’ve got no shortage (I’m currently working my way through my son’s collection of Skulduggery Pleasant – brilliant books!).

But with all the libraries shut, you might be feeling a bit short of reading material. But you don’t necessarily need to go to the library to borrow a book these days.  Most have an online lending service that lets you borrow e-books to read on a tablet or smartphone.

There are two main services – one called Libby and the other called Borrow Box.  They both have apps that you can download from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.  And they let you borrow an e-book for up to three weeks – just like you’d borrow a physical book from the library.  The best way to find out which one your library uses (and how to register) is to go to your local council website and look up library services.

Learn a new language with a free language learning app

If you’re looking for something new to do while you’re shut away at home, why not try learning a foreign language?  There are lots of websites and mobile apps designed to help you do just that, but my personal favourite is Duolingo – the boys are using it while they’re off school to keep up with their French.

You can either go to the Duolingo website or download the app to your phone or tablet to create your account – it’s completely free. Then you can choose a language to learn – they have courses for 35 different languages (everything from French and Spanish to Vietnamese and even Navajo!)

If you know a bit of the language already, you can start with a quick test that lets you skip the really basic bits. Then the idea is that you spend 5 or 10 minutes every day doing a little bit of practice, and quickly pick up the language that way.

Catch a show online

With all the theatres and other big venues closed, actors and other performers are a bit stuck for something to do.  Some shows have just closed and that’s it.  But groups don’t want all their hard work – learning and rehearsing lines, building sets and making costumes – to go entirely to waste.

So they’re doing the show anyway, and “live-streaming” it to YouTube.  That means they’ve set up cameras to record it and are showing it live on the YouTube website and app – just like a live TV show.

And then most of these performances aren’t being taken down afterwards, so you can watch them later. That’s just as well really, because I haven’t found out about most of them until they’ve already happened!  

There really is all sorts on there.  The Cirque du Soleil are doing a series of 1-hour shows called CirqueConnect every Friday – they’re all still available on YouTube if you want to check them out. There’s also a full length production of Twelfth Night starring Tamsin Greig, from the National Theatre.

If you fancy seeing what’s on, I found searching for “Live Theatre” brought up the best results.  But you can always search for a specific show or performer and see if you get any luck!

Or you can listen to my sister’s band practising from home!

My sister plays cornet in the Clifton and Lightcliffe Brass Band, and since they couldn’t get together for a proper rehearsal, they put together this instead!  They each recorded their own bit, and then the young lad on the trombone spliced them all together on his computer at home!  Sounds pretty good considering they couldn’t hear each other! (My Anne’s the one in the top left, in case you were wondering.)

Anyway – that’s enough rambling from me.

Have a good week everyone.

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