June 15, 2023

Thursday Randomness

Today I drove to Bath for work due to train chaos.  It was an interesting experience to drive and I missed the train - even though the drive was quicker the train is far more relaxing.  I don't like the not knowing part of driving - when traffic will be or wont be.  The drive out took about 90 minutes and the drive home took a bit more.  The train is just 90 minutes each way (plus transfer time and getting to the train station) so it is longer but once on the train it is less stressful.
Unless, like last week, the train just goes past my station without stopping.  I didn't realize trains could do that?  I filed a refund complaint online and got 25% of my ticket price back (so, £6.20) however that didn't really make up for the frustration.

In other news, this weekend we are going camping! I have booked Friday off work so we can have a long weekend and leave before the crowds.  The weather is looking good:
We are staying near (but not on) a beach.  I think the kids are going to love it and I could use a long weekend.

I am still not convinced by The Netanyahus.  
Have you read this book?  Am I too basic to enjoy a pulitzer prize winning book?  I think I can tell when they are making a joke now, but I'm not sure that's a compliment to the humor.  I did listen to 2 hours of it while driving today but switched over to podcasts for the last hour of my drive.

I listened to an interesting podcast on children and phones/screen time today.  The argument was that we should aim to make our houses/lives more interesting for kids that screens, by providing engaging activities and an interesting home set up.  It was more nuanced than that but had some very good points - one thing I found interesting was the comment that children are losing out on descriptive narration because adults are so quick to show things on phones.  

I notice this when people visit us - it's wonderful that people want to share their lives with our kids but instead of talking about things they use phones to show them things.  The example used in the podcast was the difference between "I saw some ducks today, they walked across the road, they had beaks, there were 5 ducks" etc vs. "Here look at these ducks I saw".  I  hadn't thought about the language aspect of phone use before but it definitely made me think about whether we are losing descriptive vocabulary now that we can so easily share visuals (not to mention how that transition affects the visually impaired community).

Whenever I take photos of the kids they say "let me see!" and my new answer is "you can look when we get home (or "later" if we are at home) and they almost always forget.  It would be so easy to show them but I don't think they gain anything from it.

That's it from me today - time to pack for camping!


  1. Ooooh I am fascinated by the loss of narrative description! That is so interesting! It makes me think of how my husband and I are always telling my daughter to just TELL US about a thing, rather than having to show it to us... Yikes.

    The train thing is infuriating! You should have gotten a full refund!!!

  2. I am fascinated by this concept of kids missing out on narrative description because of screens! My husband and I have, for years, tried to get our daughter to DESCRIBE things to us rather than asking us to look at her or whatever she wants us to see -- sometimes if you are in the middle of chopping onions it's not practical to go into another room and look at what a squirrel is doing outside the window, you know? I wonder if that's a symptom of our screen-heavy world!

    The missing train is so infuriating. And they only gave you a partial refund?! So weird!

    Hope you have a great time camping!

  3. Have fun on your camping trip!

    Your point about phones is a good one. I also think that we just Google things rather than discussing them sometimes. We used to call my Mom when we had a question about a recipe, or wanted to know about a weird word (she is a wordsmith) or my Dad if we had a question about finances etc. Now I feel like we often Google it and move on, so we do not have the connection of talking to the person, or learning from them, which is priceless! Or if we are having a discussion about something and we are not agreeing, out comes the phone so we can prove who is right, but sometimes the discussion is more fun than the answer!

    1. I so agree! We tell houseguests that we would rather not google things because often the conversations about whatever the thing we're trying to remember is better and more interesting than the answer. It's far more interesting to debate / talk then to find out the "right" answer immediately.

  4. That's so interesting. It's true that we're so much quicker to pull out the phone and share a picture than to describe a situation. I wonder if someone is already studying these effects?

  5. And, of course you've noticed the depth of conversations when phones aren't even present. When I just leave it in my jacket pocket and talk to someone, the conversation flows, and is much more spontaneous than one "informed" by photos of their recent adventures, etc. etc. etc. I do like seeing aspects of others' lives, though, so sometimes it can be an accent, not the primary mode of communication. The idea of loss of narrative description is fascinating, but makes perfect sense.