01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: No Satellite TV 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

No Satellite TV

We are feeling extremely virtuous. Since February we have stopped paying for our DSTV, which means no TV at all really - though we could fiddle with the aerial to get local channels if we wanted. What happened was that our it lapsed, and sick of finding there was never anything that we both wanted to watch, we never got around to renewing our subscription.

There was a big scandal earlier this year when GTV, a similar satellite operator went bust and all those people who had bought decoders and paid annual subscriptions were left out of pocket.

My eldest daughter is mortified and goes on mournfully saying, 'when will we get out tv back!' and refuses to drop the subject, she's like a dog with a bone (it's been at least 10 weeks). I feel a bit like we are being Victorian parents but on the upside, she is no longer talking in 'Hannah Montana' speak 24/7 and subjecting her three and six year old sister's to hours of the dreaded Cartoon Network every weekend.

We already had a TV ban for the kids during the week for the past few years, as when it was switched on then nothing else got done (critically, homework). Obviously my husband and I are exempt from the ban, and have been following various series on dvd every night such as The Wire (we inadvertantly watched series one and two with subtitles on, but that really helped us get into the Baltimore gangster speak), we are now half way through the fourth season - we also loved Brother's and Sisters. At weekends we treat ourselves to movies from the pirate dvd rental shop for us and the kids.

The lack of satellite TV has been working out quite well. Before hand we would almost come to blows every night over the choice between E! Entertainment channel (me) and seemingly endless episodes of Top Gear (him). Plus, without the benefit having the all singing, all dancing pvr - recording system, it was rare to stumble on something we were both happy to watch. My father-in-law was a bit disappointed not to be able to watch the football while he was staying recently.

Now in the evenings we will watch an episode of a series for 45 minutes and turn in early. The only problem is that after all these weeks, I have the nagging feeling that not having TV takes something away from home feeling like home. I no longer get to indulgently sneak off with a sandwich at lunchtime and watch E! on the red carpet at the Golden Globes, or Jamie Oliver cooking or even CNN housewives news. Instead I must do something more productive instead. I also feel a bit like a leach, as my friend (who pays for dstv) is now kindly recording Desperate Housewives for me on video every week.

I wonder how long the abstinence will last? I felt a bit of a pang when my friend said she couldn't chat as she was deep into watching Midsomer Murders on TV. Watching stories of the drug scene in downtown Baltimore in The Wire is getting a tad depressing after forty or so episodes. My resolve is weakening.

On another topic - my house is over run with ants at the moment. Both the big kind and tiny black ones. Shooing four large ants out of the sugar pot for my daughter's cereal at 6.30am every morning is driving me nuts. Suggestions welcome - I haven't seen AntKill sold here.

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