Many of you will know from previous posts that I have lived without live TV for years. After travelling and living overseas for so long, and then being somewhat transient when I first got back to the UK, I became quite used to the idea of watching TV on demand through my laptop. When I moved into my house I decided to see how long I could last without it. I have a TV which is a used only as a monitor for my Mac Mini, and digital sound system. I don't have an arial and have never tuned the TV.
It has worked brilliantly and saved me the TV licence fee for almost 4 years (enough money saved to pay for the equipment purchased). I can also watch what I like when I like, so if I have half an hour and feel like a bit of comedy I can search for it and watch it, or if there is a show I enjoy (currently The Apprentice), then I don't have to worry about being in front of the TV at a certain time. The computer also stores all my music so I don't have to have CD's everywhere or buy a separate stereo system, I have the internet in the lounge room which is often handy, I don't need a separate DVD player either. It is also great from the perspective that BB can't watch too much TV. Most children's programs that target his age group are only 5 or 10 mins long, so when one ends we have to start another. Often it will end and he will just get on and play with something else , sometimes I put another one on for him - he usually has half an hour of TV in the morning and sometimes a couple of shows before bath time too, if there is time.
So why did I give in? There are some negatives. Firstly having no licence means you can't watch any live TV at all . That is fine for me most of the time, but I did almost cave in for the Olympics. It can also be tricky to avoid the social media gossip on things you really don't want to know until you've seen the show - like who's out of The Apprentice this week. That same thing can also make you a bit antisocial, when everyone is talking about last night's show...
Also, (bad parenting reason coming up) when I want to just get something done and use the TV babysitter for 20 mins or so, it is hard to concentrate when you are being dragged back to the TV to select another show for your child to watch every 5 mins. At the weekend we stayed at DD's house who had regular TV. I tried to use the TV as my baby sitter on the Tuesdays morning while I packed the car to come home but BB just didn't get the fact that he couldn't have exactly the show he wanted. That was an interesting problem of our usual on demand system that naively I hadn't anticipated. It made me start to think.
I have also been thinking about my self. I do really need to make time to relax, all I do is take care of BB, then housework and work when he sleeps. I am often going to bed after midnight, straight from work, and then waking up before 6. I have been thinking that it would actually be good if some mights I did have to stop work at 9 to catch a show I like...
Yesterday was my work day, when BB goes to nursery and I get stuff done - having had 5 days away there was a lot on the list. And then he vomited! Great - I had a sick child to look after instead of child free time to catch up on all the urgent stuff. Once he got past his clingy bit I put a show on TV (In The Night Garden, as it is on of the longest) and gradually retreated to the lap top at the kitchen table. A little while later I heard Charlie Bear. I went to see what had happened and somehow. BB had managed to select to watch live. He does wiggle the mouse around a bit, but it would have been luck rather than intention. I was immediately paranoid that the TV licensing people would be round with their fine and so decided that this was a sign - I logged on and bought a licence.
So, we still don't have an arial and have to watch through the internet, but we can watch live shows. Last night I watch The Apprentice at the same time as the rest of the nation and that was cool. Now, I have had an uninterrupted half an hour to do my own thing. This is amazing.
I just had a peep around the door- he is doing other stuff too ( you can tell by the mess!), and right now is tapping his stick in time to the music.
Still - I had better not stretch the limits too far - his half an hour must be up, time to get him to help with cooking lunch instead!
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