Julia’s New Project

Julia’s first project of the year was to make me fitter and thinner. I’m going along with it because it’s easier than becoming industrious and efficient.Two months in and I seem to have lost half a stone without inconveniencing myself too much. I can also walk significantly further than I could at Christmas, and my joints are feeling better.

So far it’s down to eating better, rather than eating less. The next stage is to start reducing portion sizes too. You will have to imagine the expression on my face as I type that last bit.

Storm Doris is currently whistling round the house so I’m cutting back on the walking today. I’m in the middle of an Amber Weather Warning at the moment, with gusts of wind of up to 80 mph. That’s the magic of the information age. When I was a lad “windy” would have been the only word I needed. I was certainly never on first name terms with the weather.


Squirrel stealing bird food

Anyway, now that exercise I am (slightly) smaller and fitter she is transferring her attention to a new project.

The Danes have hygge and the Norwegians have Friluftsliv . Even the Germans have Gemütlichkeit, and they aren’t a famously cheerful nation.

Julia’s new project is to discover a suitable English equivalent. We have mindfulness, though I’m not sure it’s quite the same. I incline to morosity myself, which is about as opposite to hygge as you can get. Yes, it is a word. More than that, it’s a word I’ve never used before.

Looks like we need a new word for English-style happiness. I favour something with a Scandinavian twist, because they seem to be the leaders in the field.

Julia favours something more domestic, something along the lines of “middle aged man snoring in front of the TV, which sounds more like the basis of a haiku to me.


Can you see it now?

I have translated  “middle aged man snoring in front of the TV” and my favourite (“ducks and sunshine”) into various Scandinavian languages.

English: Middle aged man snoring in front of TV – ducks and sunshine

Danish: Den midaldrende mand snorken foran TV –  ænder og solskin

Norwegian: Middelaldrende mann snorking fra foran TV – ender og solskinn

Swedish: En medelålders man snarkningar framför TV – ankor och solsken

Is there anything there we can use, do you think?

Julia doesn’t seem impressed; she’s just wandered off muttering “idiot with a laptop” and I don’t think it’s a suggestion for translation…


Julia hiding in shrubbery

Photographs have been selected to show examples of things that make me happy. I don’t have a picture of ice cream.


21 thoughts on “Julia’s New Project

  1. clarepooley33

    I have recently started the reducing portion phase having come through the improving quality and no snacks phases without too much trouble. I can say with truth that after just a couple of days the shock wears off and the new size portion becomes the normal size portion. I have found that eating slowly helps and if you have the luxury of having more than one course, leave a long gap in-between courses. I can now feel hungry without having to eat immediately and I like to think that the longer I stay hungry the more of my surplus fat is being burned off. This all sounds very self-righteous but I am truly feeling much better and I hope you do too.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, time to tighten that belt. 🙂

      When I was in hospital about 12 years ago (one spell of three days and one of four, I lost weight due to small portions and lack of snacks.

      1. Helen

        I understand that it is a very specific type of happiness but I don’t think we need to invent a word – that’s what borrowing from other languages is about 😃.

  2. Laurie Graves

    Such a pretty face peeking through the evergreen. And, oh that tree! You don’t have to look too far to see the spirit in that one. Finally, the English are masters of comfort and cozy. I’m not sure if there is one word to express this, but at the little house in the big woods, we try to follow the example of the English. In a Maine kind of way, of course 😉

    1. quercuscommunity

      Don’t encourage her! No shrubbery will be safe.

      I always think of Maine as cosier than us. , though I am basing my view on Disney and Murder She Wrote. So I suppose I’m really thinking of California. 🙁

      1. Laurie Graves

        That’s right! Most shows about Maine aren’t filmed in Maine. Maine is cozy, in its own way, but it’s also a hardscrabble state with a harsh climate.

  3. tootlepedal

    For me true happiness is generally achieved on a mild, windless day when out on quiet roads on my fairly speedy bike. The technical term for these rare weather conditions is ‘a miracle’.

    It is surprising how little you have to reduce portion sizes to induce loss of weight.


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