mumsnetBack along, my family and I swapped a house for a three-acre field in Devon and a leaky caravan where we lived off-grid for two years. Sadly, we failed to get the planning permission we needed to stay. We are now back within four walls, with a proper loo and everything in a cottage in Dartmoor. So this is now a blog about living ethically amid a fabulous landscape with our home educated kids while we adjust to being 'normal' - for a while... and what we plan to do with our land next

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Battery farm

Since giving up the national grid, the humble battery has risen no end in my estimation. So, in the week that saw the demise of the 'father of loud', Jim Marshall, who did so much to erode my hearing, let us also give thanks to Alessandro Volta, who appears to have invented the first battery around 1800.

This rush of gratitude stems from the purchase of a small set of battery-operated speakers which I was forced to buy on account of the fact that our new car does not have a CD player.

That's right – our new car, generously donated by my lovely brother to the Charwood Farm cause. This is on account of my fat-headed loss of the one key we had to the old car, which has too many other issues to warrant spending £200 on something as frivolous as a replacement key.

But the absence of a CD player in the new car has deprived us of the means to listen to audiobooks and with Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix awaiting collection at the library, emergency measures had to be adopted.

Batteries - essential for the off-gridder!
So we've spent happy hours since buying the little speakers tucked up in bed listening to Stephen Fry and spending the days sharing music – as opposed to one person singing tunelessly and loudly while listening to the iPod or Sony CD Walkman through headphones.

I am really enjoying rediscovering music with the kids, which has led me to reflect on how glad I am that we no longer have a television.  I've even been busting some shapes in the caravan, much to the kids' horrified amusement. Oh yes, I've still got it, alright.

But all is not always harmonious.

'Do you like Take That, Mummy,' asked Zena reaching for her CD wallet.

I was washing up at the time and thus able to consider this question at length while mechanically wiping dishes.

Well,' I said. 'I am willing to concede that Gary Barlow is not without talent as a songwriter – but I still don't like them.'

I went onto explain that it is what Take That represent insomuch as they are a 'manufactured' band that I disagree with. I expanded upon this theme touching briefly on Motown, and thus contradicting myself, before moving on to the Monkees and the Spice Girls and rounding off by heaping scorn upon One Direction and the Wanted. This lecture I finished with a diatribe against Rihanna, which I always manage to get in no matter what the conversational theme might be.

Feeling in need of some feedback, I turned to find my daughter – headphones on – happily mouthing the words to Back For Good.

It seems that when it comes to blocking Mummy in soapbox mode out, headphones still have the edge.

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