Dreaming of Free Time

January, for me, is not the month to start things. In the post-Christmas slump I can’t seem to drag my sorry backside anywhere for fear I’ll be part of the high drop-out rate of newbies in a class. Today I have come over all February-like and I am wondering what to start next.

If my new year’s resolution was not to start something then I suppose the positive opposite is to finish the things I have already started. And there is a long list of shelved projects.

Recently a friend’s circumstances changed. No longer was she tied to the whim of others and chained to the daily drudgery of car trips and family mealtimes. It was a sudden change and she was unsure what to do with this endless amount of time.

She experienced freedom in a way I can only dream about. Up for the ninth night in a row at 4am doling out the medicine in an effort to keep everyone comfortable I pondered this sense of release. What would I do with my time should I be given the space to choose for myself?

In an ideal world (with an ideal self of course) I would go to Iyengar yoga on a Sunday night, a creative writing class on a Monday night, Zumba on a Tuesday, teach myself how to cook using Youtube tutorials on a Wednesday, do some writing on a Thursday, go to the cinema on a Friday (on my own so no compromise on film).

And I’d get sloshed on a Saturday.

I’d also buy a new old Olympus OM-1 35mm camera and get to grips with how to use it properly. I’d attend Local History Society talks. I’d learn Spanish. I’d go cycling. I’d sew dresses from 1960s patterns. I’d make beautiful quilts! I’d go climbing and learn how to ski.

Unfinished Project no.29

Unfinished Project no.29

To say this place isn’t a city there are endless things to do here. The Hebden Bridge Diary http://www.hebdendiary.co.uk is printed out and left in cafes and shops all through the valley. It details a huge amount of the activities available in this area.

I have known people decide to move here on the strength of that piece of paper.

I’ve no idea what is ‘early morning Taize singing’ is, or ‘Nia dancing’ for that matter. I don’t have any desire for ‘Blessingway Pregnancy Yoga’ (although it was lovely at the time I did need it) or archery on a Sunday morning but it is there listed on the diary page should I change my mind.

Going back to thinking about a chance of having a serious amount of free time I should be realistic enough to admit that my idealised week rota wouldn’t get a look in. In reality, I’d probably just manage possibly one regular thing at best.

(Plus the getting sloshed bit).

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How to Socialise

As I stood in the middle of a crowd of five thousand last Saturday night at the Warehouse Party dancing to The Chemical Brothers I had the sudden thought, “I am a married mother of two. What the hell am I doing here? “

I felt like an old person. The Chemical Brothers are older than me, yes, but they were being paid to be there. I felt like a voyeur and have since decided it was my final large club experience.

Friends have been encouraging when I shared this feeling and have admitted recent similar reactions to something they formerly did with unbounded enthusiasm.

One person suggested I knit a beard and dance with the kids and start a ‘kitchen beard dance project’. Not a bad idea…but really, what does someone who doesn’t want to stay out too late, get too mangled or be too far away from their bed do for entertainment?

Kelly Loughlin of Magpie Cinema (http://magpiecinema.wordpress.com/) may have a suggestion. A couple of months ago, after hearing a brand spanking new multiplex was opening in Halifax, Kelly was discussing with her son the possibilities of scaling down the movie experience.

Here in Hebden we have the wonderful Hebden Bridge Picture House which has a loyal local following. This year saw the transfer of Picture House back to Hebden Royd Town Council from Calderdale Council’s control and they are slowly renovating the place. It’s pretty close to perfection; a place where you can buy a mug of tea with a homemade cake to enhance the cinematic pleasure.

Kelly felt there was a space in the town for a community cinema group as well as the Picture House. Magpie Cinema group believe cinema is a social event, an experience and a celebration of the history, artistry and magic of the moving image.

Kelly said: “Basically, we’re a film club with no fixed abode. We beg, borrow and sometimes hire the equipment needed to screen in a variety of venues.

“People are passionate about film, from cult movies to silent classics, from documentaries to art house films. Magpie Cinema aims to support all of these passions and then some.”

Magpie Cinema is taking part in ‘Future Shorts – the World’s Biggest Pop-up Film Festival’ tomorrow night in the Hole in t’ Wall’s cocktail lounge by serving up a short film festival.

This screening is part of a larger calendar of films Kelly has organised. The past couple of months have seen two other very well supported screenings in two town centre based venues.

magpie cinema image