I am feeling particularly cheerful today and decided it called for another list. It won’t run to 10 points, but I’ll try to keep it going as long as possible.
One, I have a wife. She’s still with me after 30 years. I don’t know how, or why, she puts up with me.
Two, I have a sister who worries about my health and sends me face masks by post.
Three, the kids have grown up and become reasonable human beings. I actually quite like them, which wasn’t always the case when they were teenagers. You have to love them, because it’s what parents do. And you have to feed them because that’s the law. But liking them is a bonus.
Four, Number Two Son, currently still in Canada, rang Julia today to say he’d seen a Cardinal and it was the best bird he’d ever seen. Nice to know he has grown up with a proper set of values.
Five, we have enough food. This wasn’t the case a few months ago, when panic-buying was in full swing. I thought of this because I used the last of the pre-cooked rice I’d bought in case things got worse.
Six, after the Mexican style fried rice I made (which was better than it sounds) we had apple crumble using apples from the Mencap garden.
Seven, we had ice cream with the crumble, which was delicious after a hot, stuffy day.
I could get to eight, but seven seem OK, and scans better in the title, so I’m going to call it a day.
The photos are from an old camera card I rediscovered recently.
If you are of a certain age you will already be running a set of Ian Dury lyrics through your head. If you aren’t, you’ll be wondering what I’m talking about. It’s amazing what a few words can bring back to you. They have just taken me on a 400 word digression, which I have removed and repackaged. They will appear in my next post where I will pretend that I always meant to write a post on nostalgia and British cars.
Blame Charliecountryboyfor this, he mentioned the smell of vinyl seats in a recent post and that came together with thoughts on Ian Dury to form a post that took me back to the age of 19 and the late 70s. As the two thoughts came together the words flowed like automatic writing. Unfortunately they wren’t words about reasons to be cheerful, which was what the post is supposed to be about.
Anyway, back to the subject. I rose from my bed a little before eight, feeling relaxed, reinvigorated and ready for a day of hard work and creativity.
This is not usual.
After catching up on my blog reading (which is still weak and sporadic, I’m afraid) I made breakfast as I heard Julia stirring. Monday is currently a day off for me under the new shop rota, so we take a relaxed view of mornings). After bacon cobs and tea I decided what to do. I decided to watch TV for a while. Then I fell asleep. I have no ideas why, because I wasn’t tired, but I think TV might have switched my brain off.
The I read, made Welsh Rarebit for lunch and wrote and edited. The reason for the editing was that I managed to write 400 words of digression, as mentioned above.
Welsh Rarebit on sourdough toast
Welsh Rarebit on sourdough toast – the bits are from the Dijon mustard – I use one spoonful to add texture then a couple of spoonfuls of English to add a bit of flavour.
Reason to be cheerful number one is a blog post from Laurie Graves. Actually it could be one of several, but I selected this one because it cheered me up. It has pictures of raindrops on leaves and an iris. If you don’t cheer up when you see them you probably don’t like pictures of kittens, and there is no hope for you.
Reason to be cheerful, number two. I am breathing and “dum spiro, spero”, as the Romans used to say. They were very big on mottoes. This one, for those of you who weren’t condemned to do Latin at school, means “while I breathe, I hope”. It is an appropriate motto for a man who is approaching a stage in his life where he has to beat his trousers into submission and take a breather between socks when dressing in the morning.
I had been considering writing one of those lightweight humour books you see in charity shops, taking old age as my subject. Unfortunately, the more I looked at old age, the less funny I found it. Probably the worst bit is that I think I’m getting old, but the literature on age thinks I have years to go before I reach that state. I have turned into one of those crabby old gits who is old long before his time. I probably ought to dislike myself, as I have always said I will never become one of those people.
Summer’s Day – looking over rooftops
Reason number three. It’s sunny. I like it when it’s sunny at this time of year as it’s generally quite pleasant. Though I often say I’d like to live in Arizona when I’m having trouble with arthritis, the reality is that I’m English and in times of great heat I am genetically programmed to turn pink, sweat and complain. Actually, the English are genetically programmed to moan about any weather, only the degree of sweating and the colour of the visible flesh varies. The Scots (I don’t want Tootlepedal to feel left out) are genetically programmed to complain about the weather, and to blame it on the English. He has some first class irises on his blog too.
Reason number four. I’m not losing my dress sense. I’ve noticed that as people get older some of them find it tricky to strike the right balance between fashion, age-suitability and taste. So far, I have not had that problem. The fact that I have always looked like I selected my clothes by a random rummage in a crepuscular charity shop means that it’s unlikely that declining sartorial standards will be noticed.
Reason number five. The Magic Rabbit. I only discovered this creature existed due to a quiz question answer this afternoon. It is a cheery thing just to see, and the name just makes it better. It really is adorable, and that is a word I hardly ever use.
They are already dying out, even though they were only discovered in 1983. Scientists blame climate change, though I think the fact that (a) they live on barren rocky mountains and (b) the Chinese will eat anything that breathes might have something to do with it. In terms of China and rare animals, the likelihood of extinction merely puts the price up. See the stories of the Passenger Pigeon and the Great Auk for proof of that in Europe and America. See my post Hitler and the Avocets for links to the stories of those fine, but extinct, birds.
I have a post mainly written, but it still needs a bit of work. Therefore the post for 23rd May 2020 will be on the subject of having 36 minutes to write and post before midnight. It’s not an original subject as I have written similar posts many times – the only thing that dioffers is the number of minutes.
There have been two bright spots in my day. One was looking at the pictures in the previousthreeposts. I really enjoyed getting out and sitting in the sun. The second was hunting down a hot water bottle and sitting with my hands wrapped round it. As if by magic my finger joints unlocked and as I type I almost have two trouble-free hands again.
That’s 125 words and I still have 28 minutes left.
There was actually a fourth highlight – when I was able to click “Dismiss” on the screen when it told me I could use the new editor. As it was a couple of days ago I have already linked to that post. I will, however, link to the Arkwright post once more, as I just noticed it whilst linking to the other posts. That was also a high point of the day. There’s something about the incongruity of a tortoise walking along the footpath that means you have to smile even if you don’t like tortoises.
Arkwright the Tortoise
It’s one of those episodes where truth is stranger than fiction. Over the years I’ve written up several such incidents, either as short stories, haibun or poems, and they have always been returned. Once or twice the rejecting editor (the commonest sort) has expressed scepticism about the incident. Sometimes people just don’t appreciate the truth.
Talking of highlights – we had rhubarb and apple crumble with custard for tea. One of the surprising elements of lockdown has been Julia cooking a lot of crumbles. I like crumbles. I like them even better with custard.
So, to sum up.
Reasons to be cheerful –
Sunshine, fresh air, flowers, Julia, tortoises, hot water bottles.
Twelve minutes to go. I’m getting quite fast at writing inconsequential drivel.
Julia working in the Mencap Garden
Marigold at Mencap
Trees in a car park
Thirty two minutes, including loading photos and tags. Phew!
I’ve been working on my positivity, and I have many reasons to be cheerful. I have my health (well, most of it), I have my own gardening tools and I have plenty of room for books. I also have friends, a tolerant wife and a laptop.
What more could I want?
Well, I suppose the joints and bladder of youth would be handy, but I’d probably have to be ambitious and hard-working again, which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Anyway, the joint aches started when I was still in my teens due to various accidents, so unless I’m prepared to set the clock back to 1968 and re-live the unpleasantness of my teens it’s not going to happen. In the absence of a time machine it’s not going to happen anyway, but you know what I mean.
That’s another thing to be cheerful about – I don’t have to go through all that teenage angst again.
Mainly, if I’m honest, I’m cheerful about having a digital camera. Compared the the old-fashioned film camera, which could hold thirty six exposures at a time, and where the film needed developing before you could see the results, the digital camera is cheap and efficient. I’m now able to take thirty six shots, instantly see the results and store hundreds of good shots on one small card. Due to the marvels of modern data storage I can also store thousands of poor shots – I really must learn to be more organised.
With a digital camera I can spend my time watchng birds, looking at old buildings and blogging. One day I will have to start earning a living again, but until that happens, I have plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
The pictures I’ve used here are just a selection of my favourites from the last few months.