Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Step away from the remote.....
I enjoy a passionate relationship with my sky box during the winter months. The dark nights, combined with country living, make me want to hibernate during the week. Before you judge, I'm quite the opposite during the summer- I love to make the most of the long bright evenings-sitting in the sun room with a glass of wine, going for a walk, meeting a friend, or just pottering about . The long days are filled with possibilities, and I feel much more sociable. Consequently, the TV is rarely on... but that all changes as the days start to shorten.
My little affair begins with some casual flirting towards the end of September-I flick through the Radio Times, mentally noting the return of old favourites and the critics' emerging hot picks. Inevitably, the next step is to check on my recording percentages. I should probably mention at this point, that we have 2 separate sky boxes, one for the kids stuff and another for us. In an inspired move, Lover Nerd also boosted our box by an extra 50 %! Yeah baby! Who needs flowers when I got megabytes? So, in theory, I need never even LOOK at my percentages. But I do. It's a bit like shoes or handbags- you just can't have enough.
I notice that I tend to get a teensy bit jumpy if the number falls below 40%. Last summer, on our return from holidays, and with several series links running, I only had 16% left... well..it wasn't a pretty sight. I'm a dictator with the delete button-a whole series can be axed in an instant -my breathing gradually slowing as I watch the percentage creep upwards again. I discriminate shamelessly too- the more male oriented shows like Top Gear or Dragon's Den face certain death, but I'm almost as ruthless with Cbeebies -definitely 'time for Tubby bye bye'. Nothing escapes my scrutiny when I'm crunching those numbers- that documentary last week that looked SO interesting? Sitting on a full 3%....not so much.
It also has to be confessed, that when the two of us are watching something together and percentages are tight, I expect full commitment. Phone calls or early nights are simply not tolerated. Recently I heard myself say 'If you take that call, I'm not pausing this! ' and I knew I'd gone too far. His expression clearly said 'Who are you and what have you done with my wife?'
Often, we'll let a good series record for a few weeks, and then hit it hard with back to back episodes some evening-at the end of each one, a sly sideways glance gauges whether to push on through or call it a night. Those bleary eyes on the school run next morning usually speak, not of an illicit night on the tiles, but of 3 solid hours of Downton Abbey- Party on dude!
But Christmas is a-coming, and that means extra pressure on the sky+ box - time to stockpile those movies and specials for a long and gloomy January. So it's survival of the fittest around here- last night I axed an almost complete series of Boardwalk Empire-why? Because an episode was missing and I wasn't feeling the love, and anyway, that new series Pan Am starts next week. But let's keep things in perspective here- it's not the end of the world and as any parent with young children and a woefully restricted social life knows, if all else fails, there's always the box set!