Modern life is busy. There are so many demands on our attention, whether from work, home, school, or study, but also on our leisure time. A range of options compete for our time and our hard-earned cash. During the Covid-19 pandemic, despite its challenges and heartache, some people appreciated the opportunity to slow down and take stock of their surroundings, or to try something new. 

When researchers from the University of Leeds were gathering data for the Survey of English Dialects and the Folk Life Survey, the ways people spent their time off were very different. One of the Survey’s informants in Surrey mentioned television, and another in Sussex mentioned the wireless (radio). However, for the majority of informants leisure activities very much depended on what was going on in their community. Descriptions collected all around the country by the fieldworkers from Leeds largely focused on games, annual fairs, and seasonal celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Bonfire Night, and harvest.

A stone hanging from a wooden door

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If you’re feeling burnt out by modern life, read on to immerse yourself in simpler times, and see if you recognise any of the popular pastimes shared - or check out our archives!