7 things to do in isolation

Make some matchstick sculptures

You will need: Matchsticks, a steady hand, infinite patience, an eye for minute detail and some bits of broken razor blade.

With a bit of practice, and a lot of matchsticks, perhaps you could become the next Raymond Cooke. Just imagine the satisfaction when you emerge, blinking into the post-coronavirus sunlight with your own intricate matchstick chain.

What have the neighbours got to show for their isolation? Nothing, that's what.

↗ Originally broadcast 7 May 1975

 

Attempt to communicate with extra terrestrial life

You will need: Dark glasses, patience, the power of telepathy.

A bit out there, maybe, but have you ever actually tried? Now's your chance to dedicate a bit of time to telepathy - put the social back into social distancing.

If you do make contact, remember to tell them that esteemed interplanetary conduit George King sent you. Oh, and be sure to let the Venusians know about your matchstick sculptures.

↗ Originally broadcast 21 May 1959

 

Learn how to whistle as well as Jean Didcock

You will need: Fingers, a mouth, a replica 1970s Drayton Ladies football kit (a Hibs one will do in a pinch).

Whistling's a strange one, isn't it? Fun to do, but rarely fun to listen to. So why not use this period of enforced solitude to hone your whistling skills, free from the critical ears and vexed visages of your peers?

Imagine how impressed your friends and colleagues will be when, post isolation, you fling open the doors whilst warbling as well as this whistling wonder woman. Wow!

↗ Originally broadcast 16 November 1972

 

Serenade your plants

You will need: A garden, plants (preferably tomatoes), castanets, stereo headphones, a sense of rhythm.

Just look at those award-winning tomatoes, they're practically bursting out of the screen! If you're lucky enough to own a garden, now is the perfect time to forge a lasting, musical bond with your plants. They'll thank you for it.

This activity will not only get you a bit of fresh air, but - just as importantly - it will provide you with some companionship. Let's face it, you've nobody else to talk to, have you?

What's more, if you should find yourself sequestered away for several months, those tomatoes could become a valuable source of food - if you can bring yourself to eat a 'happy tomato', that is.

↗ Originally broadcast 18 August 1975

 

Polish some pebbles

You will need: Some stones, a bespoke cutting and grinding machine (check the attic).

Well they're not going to polish themselves, are they?

↗ Originally broadcast 23 February 1973

 

Become 'The Muhammad Ali' of something

You will need: Dedication.

By way of inspiration, here's Len Smith, the Muhammad Ali of marbles, showing the sort of care and steely dedication it takes to become the greatest at something.

Still, there must be some niche indoor sport left that is yet to find its Muhammad Ali, mustn't there? Now, with all this time to train, you can become that person.

Don't bother with tiddlywinks - you're no Larry Kahn, obviously.

↗ Originally broadcast 12 April 1973

 

Film a parrot singing Nellie Dean

You will need: A foul-mouthed parrot, the words to Nellie Dean, A BBC film crew, incredible patience.

Home-schooling can be tough work, but extremely rewarding. Mrs Telford of Whitehaven, for instance, spent ten long years teaching Polly - her sweary parrot - how to sing Nellie Dean. Getting Polly to perform the song in front of Tony Baker and his Nationwide camera crew, however, was another matter.

Parrots are notoriously durable creatures though, so Polly might still be with us. If you know Polly, you now have plenty of time to persuade the pertinacious parrot to perform. Do it for Mrs Telford, Tony and the camera crew - complete their legacy.

↗ Originally broadcast 10 July 1979

 

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