Thursday, 2 October 2014

Food for the brain

Hello, Getting on with things a bit earlier this morning. It was a big ask yesterday to point you in the direction of a video that takes an hour and a half to watch. Not everyone has the time to sit through something that long. There is a natural break at the point where the first story appears to finish, and a second story emerges. You could split it that way and still enjoy the whole thing, because the two stories run parallel, drawing it to a very emotional conclusion at the end.

You know I am a nosy person, I have said it many times, but I am not nosy for the sake of it, it's not that I want to know everybody's business. It's just that my little brain keeps asking me, what's that all about, I want to know how things work, how they fit together, why things happen, and what makes them happen. The internet is an ideal tool to satisfy my curiosity. I wasn't interested in learning at school, the only lessons I liked were practical subjects like cookery, sewing, art, and cross country running, and writing stories. I hated being forced to sit for a couple of hours my head jammed up with a mass of numbers that made no sense at all, or listen to the teacher drone on about some battle or other that happened a million years ago.I didn't need to know that stuff. I wanted to know about life, how and why things happen, right now while I am a part of it.

I walk around my village in the evening, and now it is getting dark early I see people watching the tele. The screens are that big these days, it's easy to see what they are watching, and the same tele's in the same houses are on, night after night. There seems to be a lot of run of the mill stuff, which is neither taxing to the brain, or even remotely interesting. I suppose they call that entertainment. I ask myself if I am perhaps missing out, should I get a tele. But what would I learn from Strictly Come Dancing, or the X Factor, or the many quiz programmes it seems to be awash with. And don't tell me I can learn a lot from cookery programmes, my mum was there to show me how to knock up a meal.

No, tele on the whole does not add to my learning experiences at all. I have an appetite and I need to feed it. Just like my body needing food, my brain also needs sustenance in the form of stimulating information which I can dissect and consume.

I do pick out a few programmes for their entertainment value, to watch on the computer, but I am paring that down now in favour of  something that will give me food for thought. Even Coronation Street has been given the boot, where do they get those barmy stories from, and so repetitive as well. Same old same old is not what I want. I need fresh, new ideas to feed the old grey matter.

I've been checking out a few crafty web sites which I am happy to share. You never know, there might be some new ideas here to give you inspiration.
Contemporary Quilt is all about erm,... quilting. There are lovely pictures of amazing quilts and details of events which you can visit.
Effie Galletly is a landscape artist and quilt maker, her works are inspired by the landscapes and structures of the Western Islands and the West Highlands of Scotland. She runs workshops on the Isle of Lewis, which were very successful in 2013.
Gillian Travis is an award winning textile artist living in the north of England. Her web site is choc a bloc full of interesting stuff, I will have to bookmark this one. Her work is colourful and contemporary, inspired by her extensive travels, all are documented on her blog.
Anne Kelly is a textile artist who lives in Sussex. She collects recycled fabric and paper to create a range of work which is mostly framed. She has a blog, and teaches at her workshops.

There's a few to be going on with, Now here's the question....what do you read up about on the internet, what subjects feed your desires for more knowledge?  What are you studying, what subjects  are you keen to learn more about? Are you feeding your brain with the right fodder, or are you slumped in front of the box, content with chillin after a hard day with your nose to the grindstone? Hey, that's more than one question, never mind, I'm being nosy again, ha ha.
Toodle pip.

27 comments:

  1. Well if you don't ask you will never know...I don't watch telly either. I can't remember the last time I sat down and watched anything. I am left out of the conversations discussing tv, I sometimes wonder if I'm missing out on something good. There is so much to choose from I am also too lazy to plough through all the channels to find something, I could be half an evening actually deciding what is worth watching. Haha. I mainly watch documentaries on youtube or dvd, I like history documentaries and biographies. I also like films but I tend to watch that via netflix, I don't have any other tv subscriptions but I do think netflix is worth £6 a month for the amount of use I get out of it. Saturday night is movie night in our house, we get a few snacks and fizzy pop and watch a film together. There - I bet you wished you never asked.

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  2. Since I am a grandmother who homeschools 3 grandchildren, ages 7, 9, and 10, most of my internet time is researching. Currently, it is the Vikings and Shakespeare. I agree with you in that I want my brain to be active and learning. However, I do succumb to mindless television too.
    Myra, from Winnipeg, Canada where we have a lovely autumn day in store - brilliant sunshine and temps going up to about 15C.

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  3. Hi Ilona, I guess we follow very different tacks in our interests. I love history and have been doing loads of research on my local villages to discover where their names came from, who lived there, what crafts did they follow, who the Lord of the Manor was and how the manor were governed and divided, what the role of the monasteries and churches were in medieval times. Visiting ancient churches is like a detective story, who built it, what was the original shape, was the church saint changed when the Normans invaded or does the saint's name indicate the site has been holy from ancient times? I love holy wells and visit them all over the country taking pictures and writing about them. I'm currently researching the history of a Jewish herbalist and writer who died a few years ago. She was wonderful at telling stories but economical with facts so I've been tracing her whereabouts and contacting family members to try and understand what happened at various points in her life to make her the person she was. Another detective story. I'm a herbwife, so I research which plants do what, how ancient herbalists and apothecaries used them in comparison with modern day traditions. We have lost so much knowledge and expertise and I feel a responsibility to pass as much on to others as I can. I do watch television as a way of winding down. I love documentaries about ancient civilisations all over the world, comparing their ritual practices and carvings with our own ancient cultures. I enjoy ancestral programmes and cookery programmes. I've not vegetarian and I do all the cooking for my elderly frail parents so I stick to tried and tested. Yes, my mother taught me the basics of meat and three veg and family puddings, but it was living as a student which exposed me to rice, pasta and cooking for large numbers. This stood me in good stead for raising a healthy family who all cook from scratch and are now teaching their children the delights of cooking biscuits and cakes. You could say the internet has made it possible for me to find information about nearly everything I need and if I can't find it, I can usually discover somewhere or someone else to ask. And yes, I do knit and sew and embroider and teach piano and write, so my life is very full.

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    1. Wow Sarah, you are so busy and you have so many interests. I have never heard of herb wife before, that's something new for me to look up.

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  4. I lived without TV for years, finally my boyfriend bought me one because he thought I was mad..lol he wasn't very happy when I took it back and swapped it for the smallest set they had.....this happened so many years ago that I shan't comment further

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    1. Kate, many years ago my then boyfriend bought me a TV licence, because he thought I couldn't afford one. I had a tele but I didn't use it. So, fully licenced I got it out and started watching it. Within a week I was sick of it, so I put it away again and got a refund on the licence.

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  5. I like to read a lot about Frugality... at this point, after doing it since the early 90s, I don't see or hear very much that is new to me, but it's the continued support in it... or like when you see someone do a new craft you might not have thought about like that before. I also enjoy shows about tiny house and about decluttering, something I fight big time. We watch a lot on Netflix. For us (me and 8 year old DD) it's good value for the $9 a month... we watch shows about cats (we are allergic and can't have one) and some shows on her interest level, and also some of the mysteries are ok for her to watch. We also like to watch shows about how people live in Alaska in the far north/colder climates.

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  6. Yes material for the brain is the thing. I do watch tv but I am very choosy what I do with my 'sitting down' time. I tend now to embroider when the telly is on or perhaps loom knitting. Thanks for the websites - I will have a look. I can't give up Coronation Street, though.

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  7. Hello Ilona, I know how you feel about being able to see other's televisions. We live in a beautiful, serene neighborhood here in Miami, Florida. The lake that our neighborhood surrounds is 13 miles around. In the evening, the palm trees and sweet tropical blossoms sway in the breeze as the little fish and turtles swim about in the water. We get large (3.5 feet tall) egrets and herons that land right on the bank. And it breaks my heart to see folks who had the money to purchase one of the lovely homes right on the lake with their backs to it, inside watching a massive, glowing screen. I guess it just isn't that special to some. I feel so blessed when I get to walk all I want on the lovely paved path that goes all the way around. Sigh...
    I do not watch televsion. We have one in our living room, and I cannot even tell you what the channels are. My husband watches it mostly.
    I do love the internet. I cannot tell you how many things I have learned to do because of it. Gosh, it really is amazing when I consider it. Right now, I am into simple, frugal living, and anything to do with crochet, knitting, sewing, and tatting lace. I also like to search for recipes on how to use my leftover what-nots.

    I hardly ever comment here, but I think you are a very dear soul. You are uplifting, creative, genuine, and sweet. Thank you for maintaing this blog so that we have a cozy little corner to visit often.
    Lisa

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    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your comment. Your neighbourhood sounds lovely, I would be walking round that lake if I was there.

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  8. I don't have a TV. But by reading your blog and the comments above, I've today discovered the herbalism blog of Sarah Head.
    - Paul H.

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  9. Ilona, I'm surprised at the number of Anonymous replies to your post. Now let's see....my brain. I spend a good deal of time writing, which requires me to be in front of the computer. When I come to something in my writing that I know little about, I do some research on the subject, so my readers will have the right concept. I belong to a writer's group, where we share our writings with each other for critique, and that has been such a learning experience for me. The television is on most evenings, but I'm usually reading the paper, crocheting, or doing a Sudoko, or I might be reading all the wonderful blog sites I visit, like yours, to get some new ideas. Blogging has opened a whole new world for me.

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    1. Hello Linda. It would be nice if all the Anon's would add their name in their comment. Could be that they just forget.

      NOTICE TO ANON, WHO ARE YOU?

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  10. I have been doing my family history for over 30 years and decided to write it up into a 'book' to pass down to my daughter. I wanted to add something other than names, dates and places, so went on the internet to get some additional information on their areas, occupations, wartime experiences etc. to make it more thorough. A couple of ancestors led interesting lives eg on my father's side, one was in the Indian Mutiny and another was a Navvy, on my mother's side, one was in the Royal Artillery and another was a pow in WWII and was one of many on the Death March. Obviously I knew the basic information, but got so much more 'flesh on the bones' from going on the internet. I was also able to decipher some military terminology which was on an ancestor's discharge papers.

    I wish I didn't, but I do watch quite a bit of TV. I tend to record things at night that my husband doesn't want to watch, and view them during the day, particularly Who Do You Think You Are and any documentary which I have an interest in. Not only am I retired, but I'm also disabled which means I am more or less housebound and I can only manage 'light' housework so watching TV helps to pass a bit of time. The only soap I watch is Coronation Street which tends to verge on the comical at times. I do like general knowledge quiz shows as it gets the grey matter working. For the life of me I cannot watch any Strictly show or X-Factor or anything like that. I only go on the computer at night when my husband is watching TV, which helps him to relax after a busy day at work.

    As others have said Ilona, your blog has a wide range of subjects which makes it the most interesting, and we never know what you are going to come up with next. Long may you continue.

    Joan (Wales)

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  11. Nowadays, mainly due to my babysitting duties I hardly ever find time to trawl the internet for interesting materials. I don`t watch the TV unless there are some documentaries. I like to watch the occasional nature programs, but mostly find that I`m far too busy round the home to be bothered with TV. I`d like to learn some more about crochet as I don`t know much and can only do the basic stitches and simple Afgan stitch. I might find time during winter to learn some more crochet with some internet help.

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  12. There seems to be more people not bothering with tele, doesn't there ? In the words of monkey to Johnny Vegas..."We don't need more tele, we need better tele". That won't happen ! The sets these days are hideous. At least years ago they were in a nice cabinet and did make a reasonable piece of furniture. Now a big black screen dominates the room. No thanks.

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  13. From Margie in Toronto - I do watch TV but far less than I used to - just dumped two TV pkgs. and if I decide to go with Netflicx I'll be dumping another pkg. as well! I find that I have less and less patience with dramas that are more "soap" than interesting drama - and there is only one comedy that actually makes me laugh out loud (Big Bang Theory) and I'm afraid that I too have given up "Corrie".
    Like Sarah I am interested in History (that's my degree) so I love that I can watch so many documentaries on YouTube now - I especially love social history (how people lived, what they wore and what they ate) so I love things like "The Edwardian Farm" and any shows with Lucy Worsley - the curator of the Royal Palaces. YouTube is also excellent for docs on the art world - so fascinating to learn about the artists and their times.
    I am also a voracious reader - just about anything but especially non fiction or a good mystery.
    PS -my TV is nearly 11 years old and friends are always asking me when I'm going to get a flatscreen. I just can't justify it as my current set works perfectly - and when they tell me that I could always put the old set in the bedroom I just laugh - surely I can manage the 15 feet from my bed to my armchair in the living room of my one bedroom apt.
    And now I'm going to check out Sarah's website! :-)

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  14. Ilona, I just looked through the sites you mentioned and the quilting and some embroidery is beautiful. I have made a few plain block quilts but hope to do better! I read your blog every night. Received your pocketbook a while ago and haven't figured out yet how to send a picture on the computer. Have a new one so hopefully will get to it.
    Maggie from US

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  15. Two tv's in the house...neither plugged in...if I want to watch something I can catch it online or Netflix...rarely have the time to indulge...would rather listen to an audio book while stitching or puttering around the house...keeping up with continuing education for my job requires plenty of reading too...

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  16. I've become an obsessive blogging reader. I have so many bookmarked, I often flip around and pretty soon two hours are gone. I guess I'm nosy too, but I like information shared by real people using real ideas in their real lives more than scripted "reality" shows. I do like Netflix and Acorn TV though, and if in a really vegging mood, don't mind watching back to back episodes-no commercial and no break in the series seasons.

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  17. Hello Ilona
    This is a very good post. I do have TV at home but this is because my partner will not do without. He also pays for the licence so I have little grounds for argument. However, if I were living by myself I would get rid of the TV immediately as it really irritates me. I much prefer to spend time researching my family tree and local history on the Internet or crafting - knitting, crochet and patchwork are my favourite subjects - whilst listening to Classic FM online. And for me, a walk in the countryside soaking up the wonders of nature is all the tonic I really need after a difficult week at work.

    Kind regards

    Julia

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    1. Hi Julia. I like that you can listen to music, such as Classic FM, and read something on another site, at the same time.

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  18. I seem to be watching less telly thesedays but thats probably more to do with working nights. We've got a 26" tv which is bought on price and we consider it to be a reasonable size, i wouldn't want to spend £hundreds on a mega tv anyway.
    I don't much like most of whats considered primetime entertainment. I like the internet, if i see or hear of anything i'd like to know more about its easy to look things up.
    I also like facebook, its the nearest thing i get to a social life and some of the 'liked' pages are interesting.
    Dave.

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  19. I've never commented before but enjoy your blog.

    I do watch a fake bit of TV. In australia is is free so no TV license to pay for. I even (dare I say it) watch a lot of mind numbing 'reality' TV. I work as a lawyer so my brain is continually stimulated throughout the day. Mind numbing TV helps me get rid of the stress.

    However I'm also studying my Masters at uni (while working full time).

    For fun I've actually started to research a new country each week on the net. I'm working my way through the Middle East and Africa at the moment. It's fascinating learning about different people, religion and cultures.

    Oh and I prefer to comment annonymously for privacy reasons. Even if I am forced to give a name I come up with an alias. Comes with the job really.

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  20. I love to read my blogs from over yonder. You live in such a beautiful and historical country! I look up the villages and cities and the shops on line and get a better knowledge of what I have read. I'm nuts about history. I watch Downton Abby and Last Tango in Halifax, Doc Martin, Sherlock Holmes and such, along with sewing programs.

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  21. I am with you most of the way there i would rather do something in the evening than watch the tv , although i do like strictly lol, tonight i have finished the curtains for my hall , made them for a pittance too , I am going to learn to crochet and will learn of the internet , i want to make a very large granny blanket , i am going to expand my dressmaking skills which i will learn from the internet too , i would much rather do these things than watch tv xxx

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  22. I confess to watching a number of reality shows. Yes, I love Dancing with the Stars (the U.S. version of Strictly) as well as a travel-adventure reality show called The Amazing Race and also a fashion reality show called Project Runway (aspiring fashion designers who create garments from unusual material or according to a theme).

    On a more serious side, I like to take free online classes from universities. I've taken them through Coursera and edX. Many of their classes are technical but there are some humanities classes. I like art history and regular history. Right now I'm taking a class on the U.S. Civil War.

    I also like to read a number of decorating blogs that have do-it-yourself projects.

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