Fun things to do in the dark

2008-04-07 00:00

I’ve spent the day on a Unisa assignment and so with tired eyes I’ve shut down, locked up and welcomed the dark.

I made supper on my new eco-gel stove and it worked well once I had fathomed out how to get past the flame to adjust and extinguish it.

Candlelight dishes were followed by a dancing session — tonight Rock around the Clock: artiste Gael. Then a long walk on my late mother’s strider, a phone call and a pampering bath with all the bits I am usually too tired for. Another dance, this time Words and the lights were back.

We are all so rushed doing things that perhaps it is a blessing now to have “just being” time forced on us. Here is a list of things to do by candlelight — to have fun, to unwind and to remember the child we once were.

• Make a list of things to do by candlelight. Let your creativity flow.

• Exercise. It’s time to make up for all those 20 minutes you can’t normally spare yet you know you should. Imagine how much fitter our nation would be.

• Dance — it’s such fun. When last did you dance? No partner necessary and the song list is infinite. If you are a family, try dancing to the same song but with each member singing it silently and see if you are all in step. Probably not.

• Save up all your Sudoku and either enlarge them or buy a cheap A4 book, draw a grid and copy them there. Use a dark marker to see in the poor light.

• If there are a few of you, play charades.

• Knit or crochet squares or blankets. You won’t need much light and there is always a home for them.

• Buy some bobbly or shaggy wool and knit coathanger covers. They make great gifts too.

• Take a candlelit bath. A good soak is very relaxing and you will have time for all the creams, lotions and heel scrubbing you usually miss.

• Brush your hair 100 times like granny did.

• Clear your cellphone of old messages. The phone has its own light.

• Dust your books and pictures. You don’t have to see very well.

• Phone a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while.

• Find the biggest piece of paper you can. Find some bright colours. Draw or write down your wishes and dreams. (Not in straight lines please — step outside the box).

• Meditate. Breathe in good vibes, send them to all parts of your body and then breathe out your bad vibes.

• Get some paints or crayons. Get some large sheets of paper and draw or paint with the opposite hand to the one you usually use. It is fun and it exercises the other side of your brain. Be childlike — who cares?. The object is to have fun and to make Eskom lemonade, not to produce perfection.

• Play noughts and crosses — or candles and light bulbs (naturally energy saving ones).

• Make “I love you” cards to send to special people.

• Make shadow stories on the walls, a bird or a rabbit. Or make silhouette cut-outs on sticks or cut shapes into paper.

• Imagine. Let your mind roam free. There are no boundaries in Eskom-lemonade land.

• Listen to the night. There is no TV to overwhelm it. If your neighbour’s generator hums, imagine what the noise could be — an ice-cream van, a lorry of cabbages, a UFO?

• My son used to have an A4 book. Get an exercise book and illustrate a story. Start with anything — a tree, a rabbit. Draw the scene around it. What happens next? See where your story takes you. It must be fun so no criticising, please. Remember art is subjective.

• Reminisce. We spend so much thought worrying about the future. Let us remember the good times where we have been.

• Tell your story. For once your children will have time to listen and it is part of their history.

• When the lights come back on find your torch and put it where you will find it next time.

Perhaps after this winter we will all be thanking Eskom for teaching us how to play again.

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