Monday, 15 April 2013

5 Ways to Live Right in the Wrong Era


1. Consider the sledge as an alternative form of transport. Last snowfall, it was far more dangerous to travel by car (only the main roads were gritted) than on foot. We were running low on wood and decided to make a trip to the King's workshop by sledge. On the way home, Secundus (wearing a knitted Viking hat) and Prima, perched on the sledge in front of a container of off-cuts. They put their arms round each other and sang songs. The King and I got exercise, the woodburner got fuel, and local motorists got entertained by us cranks who live in the wrong era.

2. Consider candlelight as an alternative form of lighting. Often when the King and I are watching Downtown Abbey re-runs or (our secret vice) Traffic Cops, we find that complete darkness causes eye-strain. A candle stuck in a bottle (1970s restaurant-style) provides enough light without requiring additional electricity. I also write my journal in bed by candlelight but can only manage this because the King reads next to me by desk-lamp. Blowing the candle out last thing is a nice Wrong Era bedtime ritual. 

3. Drastically reduce the number of things you own. My dear friend Cagey wonders how I can still be de-cluttering after all this time. All the time I've known her, I've been trying to get rid of stuff on Ebay, freecycle etc. and yet my cupboards, drawers and shelves are hardly bare. Remembering that households in the past were not swamped by possessions but treasured their few books, mementos and hand-me-downs, I have traded in nearly 30 books on Zapper and Amazon this weekend. My next step is to box up between 50 and 75% of my personal possessions, store them in the King's workshop and see how much I miss them. If I haven't opened the boxes in six months it's probably safe to say I don't need the stuff.

4. Go on foot to the shops. This makes shopping less of an outing or a habit, and reduces the amount of things you purchase, since you will have to carry them home. You are more likely to stick to your list and not wander aimlessly around spending money. The walk into town is a bit of exercise and provides you with time to chat and answer questions like " You know children often are like their mummies and daddies? If I have a little baby boy, when I am a man, will he suck his fingers like me?"

5. Cut brand affiliation. Advertising is extremely powerful and does a brilliant job of making us feel generally worthless and inadequate. We are unattractive if we don't buy this anti-wrinkle cream. We are neglecting our children if we don't buy them an i-pad. Reducing your exposure to commercial television and magazines will help you resist the power of marketing. Making your own dish soap, shampoo, liquid soap etc, as well as your own food, will cut the number of brands on display in your home. This is a great way to embrace Wrong Era living, as it means turning your back on branded goods which companies spend millions trying to get consumers to identify with, and creating your own alternative version. A "less logos" lifestyle is far more homesteady and radical. Enjoy the rebellion. 
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