Why Everyone Should Embrace Their Inner Sloth

Each year there’s an autumn weekend which is anticipated with particular glee: the one in which the clocks go back. The prospect of an extra hour in bed is certainly enticing, and the Sunday has duly been labelled National Sleep In Day. But the fact that sleeping in is designated to this one particular day betrays something else that idleness is seen as wasteful, self-indulgent. A lie-in is only encouraged when time itself moves to accommodate it.

For some perspective on how the idea of laziness has changed over time, we could do a lot worse than consider the natural worlds undisputed champion of indolence the sloth. Because the one thing everyone knows about sloths is that they are slothful. The clue is in the name.

But its a name with a long and curious history. Sloth entered the English language in the early 12th century as a term for mental and physical sluggishness. It wasnt until the early 17th century that the word was applied by European explorers to tree-dwelling mammals in central and south America. Sloth, in other words, was the name of a human quality long before it was the name of a distinct species of animal.

And sloth is not any old human quality; it is along with envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride and wrath one of the seven deadly sins, a catalogue of depravity that has been circulating in one version or another since early Christian times.

Abraham Bloemaert, Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, 1624. The devil sows weeds in the field while lazy peasants sleep.

Deadly Torpor

Definitions of the sin of laziness have changed notably over the centuries. What we now call sloth was originally understood as an occupational hazard for the early Christians known as the Desert Fathers, the hermits and monks whose punishing regimes of piety, prayer and self-denial exposed them to the temptations of de-motivation and listlessness and a sorrowfully distracted state of torpor known as acedia.

In the medieval period, as sloth superseded acedia in the religious vocabulary of the time, the concept broadened to encompass all forms of sinful inactivity and work-shy idleness, from neglecting everyday chores to falling asleep in church. The particular danger of sloth, in the medieval imagination, was as a gateway sin. Anyone who is prone to idleness is, by definition, going to lack the energy to resist the temptations not just of sloth but of all the other sins. For this reason, popular tales of people who were victims of their own laziness too lazy to move as mice nibble away at their ears, too lazy to cut the noose from which they are about to be hanged had significant currency in the medieval imagination.

Sloth Mad

Its fair to say that the seven deadly sins don’t have quite the grip on the imagination that they once did. Images of sloth in the modern world have precious little to do with its origins in early Christian theology. For example, in recent years major UK furniture retailer Sofaworks has run a high-profile advertising campaign starring Neal the Sloth, who is every bit at home lounging on this firms various chairs and sofas as his fellow sloths are in their natural rainforest habitat.


A spin-off website, which sells Neal merchandise, excitedly announces that owing to the success of the sloth campaign the world has gone sloth mad. The arrival this summer of London Zoos latest baby sloth, Edward, would support this: he was greeted with widespread press coverage and thousands of YouTube viewings of the tiny nocturnal mammal clinging to a sloth-teddy from the Zoos gift shop.

What, we may ask, would a time-travelling visitor from the medieval period make of our fondness for sloths? They would probably be slightly perturbed to find a deadly sin as the stuff of soft furnishings and cuddly toys.

Unleash The Sloth!

We could reassure our sceptical visitor that its possible to learn a thing or two from sloths. They live a low energy lifestyle; they are generally peaceable; and they understand the virtues of taking your time. Any animal that takes two weeks to digest a meal could certainly teach us a valuable lesson in the virtues of mindfulness and contemplative patience. The sloth is the perfect mascot for a culture that is looking to cure itself of addiction to a hyperactive 24/7 work ethic. Now that we have rehabilitated sloths as the slacktivists of the animal kingdom, perhaps the time has come to formulate a laziness ethic as an alternative to the work ethic that has dominated our society for so long.

But a closer look at sloth merchandise reveals that work and laziness arent always quite so easy to separate. Take Rob Dirckss humorous self-help book, Unleash The Sloth!. The book promises to provide 75 ways to reach your maximum potential by doing less. Who wouldnt want to unleash their sloth? But do we really have to do so in 75 different ways? Unleashing the sloth is beginning to sound like hard work. Which is to say that even a tongue-in-cheek book, which is all about cutting corners and streamlining your life, is still part and parcel of the busybody culture of personal growth, self-improvement and enhanced productivity.

Even the most unapologetic attempt to champion inactivity call it sloth, laziness, idleness, rest does so in the name of activity and productivity. Laziness has a job to do whether its selling sofas, cuddly toys or books. And so sloth, despite our affection for the creature of that name, retains its place as one of the deadly sins of the 21st century.

I hope you enjoy that lie-in.

Michael Greaney, Senior Lecturer in English, Lancaster University

Read more: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/why-everyone-should-embrace-their-inner-sloth

Did you know Silly Billy’s Toy Shop stocks Schleich Sloths at only £4.49 ? You can see a Sloth relaxing at Homely at Hebden next door to Silly Billy’s Toy Shop















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Buy Schleich for Christmas 2017

We are happy to announce that we have even more Schleich Animals in store for this Christmas 2017 and a new line of Unicorns, which we hope will be very popular, Unicorns are trending as has been shown by the quick sales of our TY Unicorn range. (Unfortunately, we have no TY Unicorns left now). However you can buy these fantastic Bayala Schleich Unicorns at Silly Billy’s.

Schleich Unicorns

We have also started to receive our Schleich Prehistoric Dinosaurs for Christmas, at the moment we have four different sorts of dinosaur, although we are hoping that many more will be delivered soon

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex – £14.99

  • Brachiosaurus – £14.99

    Brachiosaurus translated means “arm lizard”. It acquired the name, because its front legs were significantly longer than its hind legs. As such, its long neck pointed automatically upwards and it could eat taller plants with less effort.
    Dinosaur Fun fact

    Brachiosaurus had a very flexible neck that could measure up to nine metres long.

  • Dunkleosteus – £14.99

    The Dunkleosteus was an armoured fish with a length of eight to ten metres, which was unusually large for the Devonian period. It was one of the first giants of the underwater world, together with the Titanichthys.

    The Dunkleosteus lived 130-150 million years before the first dinosaurs. It was a fearless hunter who could snap incredibly fast and ate large sharks, and even its own kind if no other prey was to be found. Fossils of fish, which were only half digested, have often been discovered alongside its skeleton. Scientists therefore believe that the armoured fish was not able to chew very well and swallowed it prey in large pieces. It was named after the palaeontologist David Dunkle. The word “osteos” is Greek for “bone”.
    Dinosaur Fun fact
    Instead of teeth, the Dunkleosteus had long, sharp bony plates in its strong jaw.

  • Velociraptor – £9.99

    schlecih dinosaurs

So increasing our range of Schleich animals meant we had to get another shelf from Schleich for our stand to house all our animals, I am not going to list all the animals we have in stock here in Hebden Bridge, although we have everything from Horses to Sharks and from Sloths Holstein Cows, the range of Schleich at Silly Billy’s is one of the best of any toy shop in the North of England. Hopefully you can see a lot of the Schleich Animals in the image below
schleich animals


Other larger schleich items include the Schleich Horse Club 42346, Pick Up with Horse Box
schleich pick up with horse box



















This box set comes complete with horse, groom, driver and amazing accessories so that you can start playing straight away
Removable roof and two horses can fit in the horse-box.
There is space for saddle and bridle and also space for feed and drinking water.
Lots of moving parts Amazing stickers for decorating
Numerous amazing play functions.
Detailed modelling with many meticulously crafted elements for endless hours of entertainment.

Have you followed Silly Billy’s on Facebook yet, lots of product updates and news ?

Did you know Silly Billy’s recently had it’s twentieth birthday ?

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Advent Calendar Competition

This Competition Has now ended and the Winner Will Be Announced Soon

Advent Calendar Competition
There is a new Lego Competition Here

The Lucky Winner is:

And The Competition Winner is:
Katie Kimber
Congratulations to Katie, she wins a Lego Advent Calendar

So how Was this…

Posted by Silly Billy’s Toy Shop on Wednesday, 23 November 2016

In recent years we have held competitions in the run up to Christmas and this year we are holding two. The first competition is to win an Advent Calendar and entries will close Midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 22nd November, this gives plenty of time for the Advent Calendar to reach you by Post.

This competition is only open to UK Residents and we cannot post to overseas locations so please don’t enter if you want your Advent Calendar posted outside of the United Kingdom you won’t receive it

Entry is absolutely free and is subject to the entrant doing two things which should take no longer than a couple of minutes.

You can win either a Bayala Advent Calendar:

bayala advent calendars

Or a Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar
Advent Calendar 75146








You must complete both of these tasks to be in with a chance of winning:

  1. Like Silly Billy’s Facebook Page: simply head over to Silly Billy’s Facebook and give us a like
  2. Enter the Facebook name that you liked us with and your email address on this form

NB By submitting your email above you may periodically receive a newsletter or marketing email from us, however this is easy enough to unsubscribe afterwards if you wish to.
Without a valid email address you will not be able to enter the competition so please don’t just like our Facebook page without filling in this form as well

Once you have completed the two tasks above your email address will be kept on file and we will email the WINNER on Wednesday 23rd November to ask for your physical mailing address, if you are local to Hebden Bridge you can obviously come and collect your Prize.

Consequently, make sure you can access your email on Wednesday 23rd November.

Please tell your friends and share this competition if you would be so kind.

There will be another competition announced shortly after this Competition has ended and all past entrants that have submitted email addresses will be notified of the second competition, as well as the Second competition being published on this blog.

If you wish you can also like or follow Silly Billy’s on other Social Media Channels:
Silly Billy’s on Twitter
Silly Billy’s on Pinterest
Silly Billy’s on Tumblr

Thanks for reading and taking part

Written and created by Robert A Williams


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Schleich – Week 10

Week 10 at Silly Billy’s and a New Schleich Delivery, buy Schleich here today !

Silly Billy’s is the best Independent Toy Store in which to buy Schleich in Yorkshire
We have now been open in Old Gate House, Old Gate, Hebden Bridge for ten whole weeks and we are loving the positive comments everyone has been giving us about our new shop.

In our recent Shleich Delivery we received the following Schleich Animals and Figures:

  • Holstein Bull – £5.99
  • Simmenthal Calf – £4.49
  • Rooster – £2.99
  • Hen – £2.99
  • Rabbit, sitting – £2.99
  • Shropshire Lamb – £2.99
  • Sheep – £4.49
  • Lamb – £2.99
  • Lamb, lying – £2.99
  • Piglet, standing – £2.99
  • Zebra, Foal – £2.99
  • Velociraptor – £9.99
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex – £14.99
  • Theriznosaurus – £14.99
  • Gigantosaurus, orange – £14.99
  • Asian Elephant, male – £6.99
  • Asian Elephant, calf – £4.49
  • Hippopotamus – £5.99
  • Lioness – £4.99
  • Lion, roaring – £4.99
  • Tiger – £5.99
  • Tiger cub – £4.49
  • Panda cub, playing – £2.99
  • Cheetah, female – £4.99
  • Giraffe Calf – £4.49
  • Sperm whale – £7.99
  • Tiger Shark – £4.99
  • Octopus – £5.99
  • Dragon Fighter – £14.99
  • Dragon Battering Ram – £14.99
  • Dragon Warrior – £14.99
  • Dragon Diver – £14.99
Schleich Horses

Schleich Horses

Silly Billy’s has been stocking Schleich for a long time now and it is one of our core lines, it is one of the best places to buy Schleich in Yorkshire. We have written about Schleich before and it is a very popular product in our Toy Shop. After the floods of Boxing Day 2015 and during Silly Billy’s Start-Up we were given a new Schleich Stand and it is illuminated.

We have the lighting on a timer and you can clearly see the stand at night-time in our new shop location.

Some History Of Schleich

Schleich was founded by Friedrich Schleich in 1935 in Schwäbisch Gmünd . Its figurines were first released in the 1950s with the development, production and marketing of comic figurines such as Snoopy and The Smurfs, the Schleich Smurfs are still manufactured today and we have tried stocking them here at Silly Billy’s, although they did not prove too popular, so we stopped!
In the early 1980s Schleich added animal figurines and Muppet characters to their range of products. Until the end of 2006, Schleich was a family-owned business. It was then taken over by the British investment company HgCapital, who paid 165 million euro for an 80% share.

Design, Production and Materials
The design of products and the creation of tooling is mostly in-house. Production is at the German headquarters and in production facilities in foreign countries, with the figures being hand-painted in China. In 2006, Schleich had about 250 employees and a yearly sales figure of around 80 million Euro.

Thanks to Wikipedia for some of the content above

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Schleich Horses and Much More


Silly Billy‘s Toy Shop is preparing for the C-word, whereas many retailers take up Christmas products early; we at Silly Billy‘s prefer to wait until closer to the 25th December before we start shouting about Christmas. Nevertheless, there is a need to stock the shop up for the Festive Period so there will be some blog posts to come as our C-word stock arrives.

One of the first deliveries we have received here at Silly Billy‘s has been from Schleich. Silly Billy’s is the premier Toy Shop to buy Schleich in Yorkshire.
This is what we have:
Schleich at Silly Billys

  • Holstein Cow
  • Holstein Calf
  • Simmental Cow
  • Simmental Calf
  • Hannoverian Stallion
  • Andalusian Mare
  • Clydesdale Gelding
  • Falabella Mare
  • Pinto Yearling
  • Tennessee Yearling Mare
  • Ram
  • Appaloosa Mare
  • Appaloosa Foal
  • Shire Mare
  • Shire Foal
  • Sheep
  • Frisian Mare
  • Fjord Horse Mare
  • Trakehner Mare
  • Falabella Gelding
  • Knabstrupper Foal
  • Knabstrupper Mare
  • Arabian Mare
  • Donkey
  • Tinker Mare
  • Tinker Foal
  • Mini Shetty Stallion
  • Mini Shetty Mare
  • Pig
  • Piglet, Standing
  • Black Sheep
  • Icelandic Pony Mare
  • Tinker Stallion
  • Pinto Stallion
  • Pinto Mare
  • Giraffe, Female
  • Giraffe, Calf
  • Leopard
  • Lion Club
  • Zebra, female
  • Zebra, Foal
  • African Elephant, Male
  • Polar Bear
  • Polar Bear Cub
  • Killer Whale
  • Great White Shark
  • Giant Panda, Female
  • LIon, Roaring
  • Tiger
  • Tiger, Cub
  • Tiger, White
  • Tiger Cub, White
  • Panda Cub, Playing
  • Horse Wash Area

Also we have some Schleich Superheroes:
Schleich Superheroes

  • Superman, Fighting
  • Green Lantern (Rare)
  • The Flash

Some Schleich Dragons and More Schleich Dinosaurs !!

Also we have FREE Schleich Catalogues at Silly Billy’s to further aid your Schleich Collection.

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