Monday 14 March 2011

What off-grid Sundays mean to me

Anyone else noticed how crazy the world has become? We seem to be stuck on some kind of merry-go-round...  it's going faster and faster... and I want to get off!

Towards the end of last year I visited some lovely friends in Devon and they took me out on a magical mystery tour around the beautiful North Devon coastline on the Sunday. They mentioned that they didn't usually use the car or computer on Sundays; which got me thinking... wouldn't it be great if I could rely less on my own car, mains electricity, gas, mobile, laptop etc?!

I've already reduced my home energy use considerably over the last few years and I try really hard to live as ethical and low impact life as I can, but I know there's a lot of room for improvement.  I wish I was brave enough to close my eyes and jump straight into the unknown and go completely off-grid, but I'm not. I like to dip my toes in the water first and do things gradually, then, by taking things step by step I'm far more likely to make some lasting changes. So I decided to start my move towards a less crazy life by 'Reclaiming Sundays'.

Reclaiming Sundays means (for me) going back to a time when Sunday was a day of rest; a day to slow down and reconnected with nature. With this in mind, I thought it might be good to combine lots of other things that were bothering me about my life and see if I could work them all into the one day......

  1. Spend less time on the computer
  2. Spend more time doing things I love like reading, walking and sitting on the hill.
  3. Reduce my dependence on the grid system
  4. Reduce my use of energy and other precious resources
  5. Learn how to use my wood burning stove to cook meals
  6. Stop spending money
  7. Allow myself time by myself
Having come up with some parameters to work with I just needed to get on and do it, so I chose a date for my first grid-free Sunday, made sure I had plenty of candles and a wind up torch and started reclaiming my Sundays!

That was 8 weeks ago - and I can't believe what a difference it's made in so many ways. Will write about that next time......


  1. Sounds wonderful - and you've inspired my via Twitter to use my computer either not at all, or very little, on Sundays. Quite difficult (a few Tweets manage to sneak in!) - but definitely worth it! Sylvan Muse

  2. So glad you have a blog,and so glad its here because thats where mine is so it's easy for me to follow you!

  3. It is a very difficult thing, to wean yourself away from technology. It manages to infiltrate almost every area of one's life - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, so long as one keeps that contact with nature and stays aware of the immediate world around them. It's all too easy to become worldly-wise about the bigger picture, and lose contact with your own back yard!

  4. Hooray - a new blog! Nearly called to see whether you were around on Sunday (when in the neighbourhood) - but perhaps that would've been disturbing your no. 7 ;-) (as it happened we didn't have time in the end) hugs

  5. Thank you for's really interesting to read what other people think about this.

    Harriet, would LOVE to have seen you, but will catch up in May at the Big Green Fortnight :)

  6. congratulations on starting your blog. What a good idea for Sundays. My biggest difficulty would be to get the children to accept not using electricity on Sundays because more often than not they want to watch movies or play on the computer! I sit browsing the internet for hours too. Perhaps if there was a less computer use, less electricity and no car use rule we would get out in the garden more or go for local walks? We hardly ever explore our local area on foot. We usually end up driving somewhere on Sunday. I think I'm going to have a go at your idea and see what happens..

  7. Hi Bee
    The concept of the need for 'fallow' is lost on many people - someone once told me that 'relaxing is a waste of time'. I'm absolutely with you on the desirability of respite on a Sunday. Didn't the rot set in with Sunday shopping? You and I can remember the hush of a Sunday afternoon. Now it's just like any other day. Great thoughts - some people will listen!

  8. Hi Miss Hemmings, I can't tell you how amazing it is to spend just one day a week off-grid...with all the benefits that come with it. It's just a drop in the ocean in the overall scale of things, but is already starting to have a knock on effect for the rest of my week.

    A friend of mine with children gave it a go last weekend and she said her two sons just loved having the house lit with candles in the evening. I do hope you give it a go because I'd love to hear how your children get on and what you do instead of TV, Internet etc!
    Bee x

  9. Hi amlong.optima
    I love your description of spending time out as 'fallow' you mind if I quote you next time I write an article about this?
    I was Sunday trading that marked the beginning of the end for me too. Wish we could turn back the clock!
    Bee x

  10. So good to see you here blogging : ) I was nodding my head in agreement reading this. I agree about sunday shopping changing things - as a 70's child (showing my age there!)I remember Sundays being,well, different to the rest of the week - slower and a day for reflection, really,and for quiet,less frenetic activity.And we went to church as well - that was what sundays were like.It definately all changed with sunday becoming like every day, suddenly there was no let up.Going off grid sounds like a brilliant way of getting back some of that slowness, aside from the obvious environmental benefits. My Eldest loves quiet time too (although is usually as mad as a hatter most of time and as noisy as any 6 yr old) and I think it's good to reclaim this time for the little ones too as they are growing up in such a crazy mad busy world so much of the time. A beautiful, inspiring,informative post.Long may you blog : )