A Day in the Life of My Pocket: An Article by Red Szell

Listening to audiobooks on Pocket

In his latest article, find out how Red is using his Pocket to fill his weekends in lockdown!

”It’s Saturday as I write this; the week’s work is done and under the terms of my New Year’s resolution (which so far is holding strong) I am resisting the temptation to allow my work to spill over into the weekends. As so many people have discovered recently, working from home blurs the boundaries and, whether out of a desire to be busy and have a distraction from the news headlines, or because it is so easy to check my work emails when my RNIB laptop is so close to hand, I look back on 2020 as the year that my work/life balance was most definitely out of kilter.

Under normal circumstances I’d have lots of fun things to keep me busy on a Saturday, starting with a couple of laps of Highgate Men’s Pond and a slow stroll back over Hampstead Heath with a few of the other swimmers, but under lockdown there’s no hope of that. However rather than sulk about it, this morning I decided to ask Pocket to find me articles about wild swimming, and spent the next hour happily immersed in newspaper and magazine articles extolling the benefits of a life-affirming dip and suggesting a wish-list of locations to visit.

Clutching a fresh cup of coffee I was tempted to ask Pocket to search for podcasts about wild swimming but then remembered that I still needed to catch up on the latest episodes of both ‘In Touch’ and ‘Last Word’, and to check out which topic had been discussed by Melvyn Bragg and guests in ‘In Our Time’, and whether I stood any chance of understanding it!

Although I wasn’t grabbed by the prospect of Saint Cuthbert, the third item on the ‘In Our Time’ list was ‘The Great Gatsby’, which my Dad had recommended I listen to. So I stuck on my headphones and was quickly transported back to The Jazz Age.

I moved effortlessly onto some fascinating obituaries in ‘Last Word’ and next caught up with the latest developments in assistive technology courtesy of ‘TechTalk’ on RNIB Connect Radio. All this took me happily to lunchtime, by which time I felt like I’d been thoroughly entertained and learned a lot of interesting new stuff!

After lunch I tackled a few chores, including the washing and (one I’d been putting off for ages) emptying and sorting out a couple of the cupboards in the utility room. I took Pocket with me for company and spent a happy couple of hours channel surfing between Planet Rock and BBC6 Music, surrounded by the kid’s old toys, half-full cans of paint and even a couple of old AM/FM radios that had never got such good reception in London as I was getting now.

With my wife and kids busy doing their own things, I did a quick video call with a Be My Eyes Volunteer, who helped me identify which colours were in which paint tins, and read out the titles of the half dozen DVDs I’d unearthed, so I was able to sort things into two piles and put what I wanted to keep back away in the cupboards. Unfortunately I couldn’t ask for help with folding the washing, but the latest instalment of Tony Hawk’s ‘Round Ireland With A Fridge’ which Pocket found on RNIB Connect Radio’s ‘Talking Books’ show, kept me happy while I folded T-shirts and pants!

In fact Tony’s bizarre travelogue kept me going while I prepared supper for the family, with just a brief break while I checked with Be My Eyes that I was about to open a can of tomatoes and not pour Ambrosia Custard into the bolognaise!

After supper, with both my and Pocket’s batteries running low, I retired to the sofa, plugged Pocket in to recharge and used this as an excuse not to move while I listened to an Agatha Christie mystery from the RNIB Talking Books Library. I might have dozed off, so tomorrow I’ll need to skip back a chapter or two, but all in all I think I deserved to put my feet up after such a busy and wide-ranging day orchestrated by my Pocket.”

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