Miniature dachshunds, bucket list books and Shakespeare. Thanks Mrs Croot – what to choose first?

Did you read about the miniature dachshund that managed to sprain his tail because he was so happy all of his family were at home due to the lockdown? Adorable. Although we may not quite feel like this about lockdown, I can tell you Roo certainly shares the happiness – he can’t believe his luck! Anyway, amidst entertaining him, remote teaching, replying to e-mails and marking pupil work, there inevitably has been plenty of ‘down time’. I have so far managed to paint my lounge, get plenty of fresh air in the garden, oh and downloaded Disney+ of course! But when trawling Twitter, I realised that there is a litany of literary (see what I did there?) freebies available to access, which I thought I would share.

The Carnegie Award. As you would have read from our wonderful librarian’s e-mail, despite not being in school, we are still shadowing the Carnegie Awards. Check out her e-mail for more information. I’ve ordered ‘On the Come up’ and ‘The Black Flamingo’. What are you going to order?

The RSC. For Free. On the BBC. The BBC have put six of their past Shakespeare productions on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer as part of the BBC’S Culture in Quarantine. These productions are never streamed for free- so make the most of it! Why not grab the popcorn, a blanket, sit back and enjoy?

“Noughts & Crosses” on iPlayer. Malorie Blackman’s Award-Winning Novel comes to life on the BBC: “Against a background of prejudice, distrust and powerful rebellion mounting on the streets, a passionate romance builds between Sephy and Callum which will lead them both into terrible danger.” (PG or 12 rating).

Bucket List Reading. Now is the perfect time to read that novel you’ve always wanted to read, but ‘never had the time’. Well, now you do have the time! I have a huge pile of books next to the bed which I plan on working my way through over the next few weeks. I’m currently reading ‘Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper' by Hallie Rubenhold.

Audible­. Audible have made a bounty of books FREE, that’s right, FREE. Simply visit from any web browser to get started. No log-ins, credit card or passwords needed.

David Walliams and R J Palacio, to name but two – have also released recordings or are doing live readings of their novels. What fun! Simply visit: or,

Live Streaming Zoos – not strictly literary BUT, who doesn’t want to watch a penguin walk down the stairs, or wander through the zoo when there are no visitors? Marwell, Edinburgh, Monteray Aquarium and Dublin Zoos are just a handful of zoos taking part.

Massolit. Massolit is a fantastic library of Short video lectures in the arts, humanities and social sciences. They are offering free access to their lectures during this difficult time. Likewise, JSTOR is also offering free access- which is simply amazing. What have you always wanted to learn about? Why not find a journal or article about it on JSTOR?

Opera and Broadway Musicals – want to remain cultured and visit New York whilst on lockdown? Impossible? No! The are streaming free shows, along with BroadwayHD (although this is a paid service).

Learn a Language – again, not specifically literary, but why not learn a new language? I’ve downloaded DuoLingo on the recommendation of the Languages Department and several of my tutees, and I have started to relearn German. Brot und Wasser anyone?

I hope this gives you some food for thought, and ideas to keep you busy over the next few weeks. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @WarminsterEng and @LibraryLand3 for more ideas which we will continue to share, and please share your ideas and pictures with us!

Abigail Croot​, Head of English