A dreadful thing has befall the Vegemitevix household. A catastrophe beyond compare. Almost. Our pride and joy, one of the first things we bought in the UK when we first moved over and started the expat life, has…stopped working. We came downstairs this morning to be greeted by this.

See the little red light? Uh, oh.

I was working on the computer in the lounge last night, soothed by the gentle rumblings of the Olympic commentary in the background, when all of a sudden the room fell silent. The TV had gone into standby mode, and as it was late I turned it off and head to bed.

This morning Son pointed at the red light and shook his head sadly. I remember that look from when he was four and someone had taken his Thomas the Tank Engine from him. It was a mixture of incredulity and pain.

“But how are we going to turn the TV on?”

“Hmm, let’s see you could walk over to the TV and push the On button?”

He glared at me disparingingly.

“But it’s on Standby and it won’t respond to the On button. It needs the remote.”

Ahh. Now it became clear. Sadly, the remote is no longer in the land of the electronic living.

“Have you tried new batteries? Pleading with it? Jiggling it? Banging it?”

Apparently Mum’s tried and true fix-it remedies don’t work.

You’d think this wouldn’t be too much of a problem in summer holidays, after all there’s an entire world out there for the teens to enjoy, and all the time in the world to enjoy it in. Except we’re in a small town in the country where there isn’t anything to do beyond hanging out at the little park. And try as I might but that just doesn’t seem to wash with me, it somehow seems as if the kids are just hanging around waiting for trouble.

There’s biking and walking and um…biking and walking the dog, but they are activities best enjoyed in the sunshine and not England’s liquid summer, and there’s only so many times you can walk and ride the bike in 6 weeks of summer holidays.

No, the kids have been pretty good occupying themselves with their computers and art and books and yes, TV and PS3. It’s been good for me because I work from home and am starting to find it difficult having the small, cramped house constantly full of people. But if I’m honest, I feel guilty saying they are watching TV.

I can’t help feeling I should be doing more with them. My subconscious reminds me that my own mother used to love spending time with us during the holidays. (Though I think at 16 and 18 we had summer jobs!) Shouldn’t I be enjoying them too?

I do enjoy them. I do. But I feel stretched and tired and overwhelmed with the responsibilities I’m carried at the moment. This constant striving to earn a living and make a life. On grey days, like today, I cannot help feeling that soon they’ll be gone and I will miss them so very much.

I wanted to take them to France on a holiday or  backpacking around Europe this summer, and making the most of being so very close to the young Kiwi backpacker’s dream destination – Europe. But it just hasn’t happened. Lack of money, not lack of interest.

They’ve found it impossible to find summer jobs (though they keep trying), they have no money to go anywhere and I have no time to spend with them. They’ve had TV on which they’ve followed the Olympics. (So much for the Olympics inspiring the next generation to get up off the couch!)

Before we came to live in the UK I used to have a rule – no TV between 10am-5.00pm each day. We stuck with that rule for about five months when we first arrived here and then I gave in. The inclement weather, the expense of going anywhere or doing clubs and activities all made it impossible to police. I miss the cheap summer entertainment of the beach, and I know they do.  They could go over to a friend’s house, where no doubt they will……play on their PS3 or watch TV.

I can’t help feeling that it’  come – Armageddon. The ‘end days’ for knowing how to amuse yourself and keep yourself occupied. But then how can I complain, when I spend all day, every day sitting behind my (laptop) screen?

Do you limit your kids’ TV/gaming time? And if you do, what age are your kids? When should they be able to choose for themselves?


'Armageddon' has 8 comments

  1. August 8, 2012 @ 7:17 pm MidlifeSinglemum

    I haven’t had tv for months – since the system went digital and I have to buy an adapter as I don’t have cable. Also our dvd was dead for three months. After a while we didn’t even miss it. I’ve bought a new dvd player for DD now and I’m enjoying the success no tv has given my blog now that I spend more time online. I’m not going to bother with the adapter thing.


    • August 8, 2012 @ 8:19 pm vegemitevix

      You are amazing, you know that right? I guess if I’m honest I spend most of my TV watching time catching up with news, and most recently the Olympics. Of course all of this is available online, but there’s a habit involved in sitting down on the couch and watching TV. Isn’t there?


      • August 8, 2012 @ 9:43 pm MidlifeSinglemum

        I’ve just changed my habit to the computer. I watched the opening ceremony online, I read the DM online (amazing – not). It’s just a different mindless habit. But thanks anyway. 🙂


        • August 8, 2012 @ 9:44 pm vegemitevix

          You read the Daily Mail? Now that is amazing. ;-p


  2. August 9, 2012 @ 12:16 am Carole

    When our remote died my better half took it apart and found a whole lot of gunk inside which was stopping it working – he cleaned it up with white spirit and it is now working a charm. Have a good day.


    • August 9, 2012 @ 8:50 pm vegemitevix

      Well we have dodged a bullet a little because we found the priority remote that came with the Tele so we have push button entertainment once again. And relax!


  3. August 9, 2012 @ 8:52 am Steve

    We limit ours to CBBC amd Cbeebies. They’ve made a few forays into CITV but the adverts are maddening.


    • August 9, 2012 @ 8:51 pm vegemitevix

      Is CITV the ITV Children’s channel? I think when they are little you can limit it and redirect their attention a little more successfully. It gets hard when they tower over you and are practically adults.


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