We’ve had some bad news today, quite serious, and it’s been a pretty rough few hours since we got the news. So I’ve decided to keep things simple and list ten simple things that make me happy:
(in no particular order)
Puppies – doesn’t really matter what sort, but puppies have the ability to make me smile regardless of everything else. I affectionately call all dogs puppies, no matter how old they are; but true puppies, all soft and squishy, just bundles of wriggle and lick, are fantastic mood elevators.
Tea – a bit of a cliché perhaps, but a good cup of tea is a truly simple pleasure. I take mine strong, with milk and one sugar.
The smell after rain – a clunky-sounding phrase, and it’s a shame we don’t have a single word which will suffice. It’s that moist, cool, and slightly electric scent you get when there’s just been a heavy downpour of rain. It’s almost the nasal equivalent of the Earth sighing with pleasure – a clean, fresh smell.
Silence – yes, the absence of sound. I love it. I’m a bit of a natural hermit, and too much time around other people wears me out – but even when I’m alone I love silence. Although I often listen to audio books or music, there’s something deeply satisfying about just enjoying the silence. Particularly early in the morning (and more specifically in my studio).
Cigarettes – “A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” Oscar Wilde wrote that, and I firmly agree with him.
The smell of books - you’ll either know what I mean or you won’t, I don’t think there’s much middle ground! Ideally a proper leatherbound book, but in a pinch a modern hardback will do.
Clean nails - this one might mystify most of you, but as my main work is as a gardener I spend most of the time with grubby fingernails. I wear gloves, but as these inevitably get worn through the dirt gets in anyway, and I end up with filthy nails; and the skin around them seems to become deeply ingrained with dirt. Obviously I wash, but really I do end up with bits that just won’t shift, especially as the next day they’re just subjected to the same abuse. I therefore get immense pleasure when they’re truly clean. It only happens when I have at least two days off in a row, but when it happens I’m a very happy lady!
Crisp autumn mornings – when the air is cold, still and crisp. The sun is shining, and it just feels amazing.
Fairy tales – I’ve always had a weakness for fairy tales, and this hasn’t changed as I’ve got older. I love the original Hans Christian Andersen tales, with the dark and twisted plots (the Little Mermaid with bleeding feet, who didn’t get her happy ending). Nothing saccharine for me, clearly!
Childhood snacks – I was going to say food in general, but I thought that would be cheating a bit. I adore childhood snacks, and few things make me happier than a packet of 15p (they used to be 10p in my day!) American Quarterbacks or Cheesy Nibbles. Tasty and cheap, and an instant smile!