Funny how the universe provides: I’ve been mimsying around thinking “I must blog about something but there’s so much to talk about I don’t know where to start” and then the lovely Kate Griffiths tagged me in her blog and asked me to continue the meme, 10 things that make me happy.
I’ve already written about happies, so this is something that’s dear to my heart. The only trouble I foresee is narrowing ot down to 10. Here goes (in no particular order):
Diana & Jamie
My lovely husband Peter and I found a card in a local shop asking for someone to walk the dog for an elderly lady. She’s now become a member of our extended family and we visit her 3 times a week, ostensibly to walk Jamie (a Yorkshire terrier) but also to have tea, cake and a good old natter with Diana. She’s 95 and although she’s not very mobile, can’t hear very well and her eyesight is failing, she still lives independantly and is a fantastic conversationalist. I love going to see them because Jamie turns himself inside out with delight whenever he sees Peter, and Diana is always pleased to see us and thrilled to hear about what we’ve been up to. Watching the wind blow Jamie’s fur back when he and Peter run across the playing field together, seeing his obvious delight in visitors and his care and affection for Diana is amazing, and tops up my happy-meter on a regular basis.
I like a good euphemism, and for years now we’ve been collecting phrases that sound like they should be euphemisms. It started when my daughter was learning to play the trumpet and excused herself from the dinner table one day by saying “Please can I get down, I need to go and grease my valves”. It’s only got worse since then! Language fascinates me and I love puns and plays on words – particularly good ones can leave me snorting with helpless laughter…
…as can a healthy dose of silliness. I’m very proud to have raised to adulthood 2 very fine offspring who are not only clean, polite and responsible, but who also have an almost endless capacity for silliness. I feel sorry for people who don’t have any silliness in their lives, I think it’s essential.
Beaches in Winter
Sunbathing’s all very well, but give me a slightly faded British seaside town out of season every time. Places like Ilfracombe, Hunstanton or Largs, that were in their heyday in the 1950s or earlier. I like a walk along the Promenade, a tour of the funny little shops and museums you get in towns like that, a cup of tea and a bun in a chintzy little tea shop. Bliss.
I’m a great fan of the snuggle, and luckily so is Peter. Sunday afternoons in winter were designed to be spent snuggled up together under a blanket watching a black and white film. We once spent an entire weekend when the weather was foul, tucked up in bed with a succession of pots of tea, reading our way through Elizabeth Jane Howard’s 4-book Cazalet Saga. Snuggling, cuddling and all other forms of gentle physical affection are essential to keep my soul healthy and happy.
Ah, shoes. It is a great sadness to me that I can no longer wear heels as my shoe collection used to be something that gave me great pleasure. I was once stopped on the stairs of an office buiilding by an American gentleman with whom I had been previously unacquainted, who grabbed my arm and just said “Oh, wow, hey – Great Shoes!” And then smiled and went on his way! Sadly, I’ve had to pass all my heels on to my daughter, (she is now probably the best shod student in Oxford and uses her book shelves as display units for her shoes) and now I treat visits to glorious shoe shops like trips to art galleries and museums – I go to marvel and wonder at the beauties on display, knowing that I can never take them home with me but that my soul has been nourished by being in their proximity…
Singing Very Loudly
In the car, in the shower, while cooking – nothing gets those old dolphins (endorphins, see what I did there?) swimming around like a good sing-song. If I’m in the car with my son we’ll put on show tunes or Abba or 80s hits or rock ballads and sing our way to wherever we’re going, making sure we get the harmonies right. If I’m alone I’ll sing to whatever’s on the radio and by the time I’ve got to my destination I’m happy as Larry.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, cake. I come from a long line of excellent bakers, and I’m proud to say that I’ve inherited their talent as have BOTH of my offspring. Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book is very well thumbed and stained, as is the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook my Mum gave me for Christmas. Cake, I feel, is the answer to all of life’s problems – if the Israelis and the Palestinians could be persuaded to bake each other their old family cake recipes I reckon they’d find out they’ve got an awful lot in common. Cake is exquisite cooked and raw, in all its various guises, and I’ve never met a cake I didn’t like.
And toast is almost the perfect comfort food. It’s one of the irrisitible smells of life and I reckon the smell of toast is even more potent than the smell of bacon sandwiches. The smell takes me back to childhood, as does the taste. I can always find room for a slice or two of toast, and when combined with snuggling and our campervan, it’s a little bit of heaven on earth.
I’m hugging myself mentally just thinking about it! My lovely husband and I are taking off in it at the weekend and we shall camp up near the canal and spend the weekend snuggling, reading, drinking endless cups of tea, watching the ducks float past and generally chilling. It’s a total escape from the rest of the world and it’s just for us.
So there we are, 10 things that make me happy. I hereby nominate the following lovely people to tell us about 10 things that make them happy and keep the meme alive:
@rachelcotterill because she is a generally amazing and inspiring person and will have something very interesting to say
@happy_food who understands the critical importance of cake
@daisydaisy66 who is reawakening with the spring
@porridgebrain who writes beautifully and needs a laugh
and YOU, if you want to join in – add a comment here or tweet me to let me know!