TESTING positive for Covid for the second Christmas running did at least give me some time to indulge a pastime I find myself having less time to do – reading. Like many of you, I am sure, being nose deep in a good book is a very pleasurable and educational experience, and while my choice of material might not be to everyone’s taste, it brings me a huge amount of enjoyment.
Over the course of a few short days, in between blowing my nose, coughing and passing on the virus – which I am 99 per cent sure I caught at Derby Crown Court in a packed courtroom before the yuletide break – to my wife, I waded my way through the thick end of 500 pages on the subject of Scottish independent music from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
As I said, not to everyone’s taste but it is mine and I loved every page.
Mrs Naylor is a voracious reader who steams through books like a knife through butter as she idles time away from the pressures and strains of everyday life.
She appears to lose herself in a work of fiction she admits herself she almost immediately casts off and sticks in the charity shop pile the moment she has finished it.
“That was rubbish,” she might say as she tosses a book onto the table and explains to me a storyline with more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
But where I respect her on this front is that she would rather spend her time this way rather than, for example, flicking through her mobile phone as so many people seem to do.
Just this week on the train to work I sat across from two women who got on chatting away to each other happily and then, as soon as they sat down, spent the entire journey from Nottingham to Derby feverishly fingering away at the tiny screens in front of them and not exchanging a word for the half-hour journey.
Their thumbs were moving so fast I was half expecting to see smoke coming from the minuscule keyboards.
I would love to be able to tell you they were scanning a news website to keep up to date with the breaking stories of that morning.
But judging from the occasional smiles on their faces, I surmised that instead the duo were flicking through one of their social media accounts or exchanging early morning messages with friends.
Now before I go on I am the first to admit there are many times during the day when I do the same as them, so I’m certainly not intending to come across as being holier than thou.
I too check my messages on regular occasions, so I’m certainly not condemning them.
But I just found it a little strange how they were happy to chat away ten to the dozen on the platform, yet the moment they sat down had nothing to say to each other.
On the same trip, silent in the carriage for its entirety except for the station announcements of Beeston, Long Eaton and Derby from the guard over the tannoy, I would estimate that 90 per cent of those I could see were glumly staring at their phone screens.
My mate Dave has a pathological hatred of people spending all of their time playing with their phones.
On the days I play golf with him, he proudly tells me that he’s left his at home, preferring whatever we talk about face-to-face rather than whatever online joke clips people have been viewing.
And while I certainly don’t go as far as him, I am not the sort of person to spend their life relying on what I’m being told by the internet at my fingertips all day, every day.
Having this information immediately at your disposal – be it news, sports or an online message from a mate or loved one – is a privilege we have come to either now expect, and in some cases all they have ever known.
But give me a good book ahead of it any day.
Even if it is as niche as the story of Scottish independent music from 40 years ago.