Sat, 25 May, 2024

We’re all in this together

Posted: March 23rd, 2020

Tips and advice on how to survive self-isolation.

FOR former Mirror City man and well-known polymath TONY PATEY, it’s all about edjacation, edjacation, edjaction …

Self-isolation? Think of a young Isaac Newton who did his best work in isolation back at home in Lincolnshire when Cambridge University went into lockdown during the 1665/6 plague.

Learn a new language, do a free online course, go virtual at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (go on, enjoy yourself…) There are loads of online resources out there, masses of them free (including Open University), from basic introductions to very heavy-duty study.

Found FutureLearn? It kept me sane when I had leg trouble a few years ago and was awake most of every night … Try it out. Free courses for everyone.

If there’s an old book you’ve found difficult to get, try Internet Archive; you can actually download or “borrow” for a fortnight. (Sad alert: you can even get the multi-volume Cambridge Ancient History, with plates…)

Me? I’m going back to Latin (and Greek), but starting again from absolute scratch. And, after 57 years, A-level Technical Drawing (managed recently to get an old textbook; my school wasn’t geared up for it. Still got my old drawing board and equipment I used for O-level; antiques like me.)

Keep well and safe, Tony (and Ann)

Ex-Mirror writer (and AMP chairman) DEBORAH is running The Seedling Stakes: What to do? (other than listen to Radio 4 and go utterly mad at their preachy “you must think and behave like we do” view of life).

Three of us have bought identical boxes of wildflower seeds at Poundland and are now having a competition to see who grows the best wildflower patch this summer. Neighbours beware: one gardener’s wild flower is another gardener’s weed. Photos will be taken and compared. I have already had a cry for help from London: “My seedlings haven’t come up yet.” To which I replied: “Neither have mine – but then the unopened seed box is still on the kitchen table. Too cold here!”

Your editor Caro: For the immediate future I shall mostly be reading my new book “RHS: How To Garden When You’re New To Gardening: The Basics For Absolute Beginners”; learning how to get the best out of a static bike; and falling in love again with jigsaws. I’m so glad I didn’t give those two old but virgin puzzles to the charity shop, even if one of them is reversible, with pictures of spaniels. Bogof, you might say.

Stephanie Kerstein: My weekly Yoga class has been closed, but I found a ten-minute workout on YouTube by the British Heart Foundation which is good and not too taxing, except for the press-ups at the end which I usually skip!

There are lots of videos and messages on the web. I read in The Sunday Times that the Green Goddess is making a comeback at 80. She is on Breakfast on BBC-1 from her house in Weybridge on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at about 6.55 a.m and 8.55 a.m. She looks amazing.

There are also tips on staying healthy from NHS adviser Sir Muir Gray. The one for stamina is a sit-to-stand exercise: get up from a chair without using your arms, repeat once for each decade of your age. Hold a 1kg. bag in each hand if you can.

The good weather is a help so I can spend time on the patio and in the garden, and I still take my dog for a walk twice a day. He is about 10 now but still loves to run in the still very muddy local nature reserve. There aren’t many people about, but dog owners stand on opposite sides of the field and let the dogs run to their hearts’ content. We just give a wave of hello and goodbye.
Hope you are all keeping well and safe.

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