Sunday, 18 March 2018

Simple pleasures on cold days

I wrote recently about my lovely book Simple Pleasures:little things that make life worth living and today has been a day for appreciating a few simple pleasures for cold days.

1. I've been enjoying the view from my window.  The starlings have been squabbling, passing children have been waving and I'm warm and happy indoors.  Bliss.

2. Comfort food has been on the menu today.  Casserole for lunch and there will be soup for supper.  Simple homely food to warm both body and soul.

3. The joy of making things.  I made my soup and casserole but I also knitted and I sewed.  Creativity is always a pleasure but not regretting being confined indoors is hugely helped by doing something wonderful with the time.  

Friday, 16 March 2018

Hi Mandy!

It was one of my favourite days of the month today - I went to Mandy's aka Dunholme Crafter.  I came home with four cards having had a lovely morning chatting and doing some papercraft.  

So, here you are

With a little bit of luck Mandy has found this post with the greatest of ease as, just for once, I was able to show my appreciation for the things she teaches me by showing her a couple of things on her computer.

Hi Mandy

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Some of my best friends are books

I no longer hoard books.  I used to - big time.  When I left school I trained as a librarian so in my work I handled as many books as anyone could want.  Then I changed course and after the odd experiment in the job market I became a parson some years later, a profession famed for bookishness.  That was when hoarding really took hold but I used my skills of book classification and cataloguing and had well ordered book shelves. All was well.  Vicarages have studies and mine was definitely book-lined.

But then came retirement and most of the books just had to go.  Unless I wanted every room in my bungalow to be dominated by volumes on theology, horticulture, cookery, needle arts and anything else which had ever taken my fancy, I had to rationalise.  

One big help in this was my Kindle.  As far as possible I no longer buy fiction in anything other than digital form.  I now enjoy many titles as audiobooks to be listened to as I do other things.  T'interweb became my main source of information on many subjects and my book buying was cut back.

 I still buy some books.  Three or four years ago I bought this one, "Small pleasures: little things that make life living"  published by The National Trust.  It consists of essays written by a variety of people.  Here one can read Adam Hart-Davis on the satisfaction of working with wood, Prue Leith on the pleasure of a hot bath, Roy Hattersley on grooming a dog, and a huge variety of other authors on litter picking, reading aloud, playing the piano or whatever else gives pleasure to life.

The real joy of this book is not what is in it but what isn't in it.  It has spurred me on to look at the simple things which give me pleasure.   It's a long time since I wrote about the little sources of joy I find in my everyday life.

Watch this space

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Time Runs

It's a really good year for milestone birthdays and anniversaries.  I'm wholeheartedly in favour of a special celebration every ten years.  I did a "Project 60" in the run up to my last "special birthday" and, although I've still got nearly four years before the first digit of my age changes again, I've started to think about Project 70.

But this post isn't supposed to be about me.  It's about my wonderful friends who have Golden Wedding Anniversaries or Very Special Birthdays this year.  Just before I was ill I went to a wonderful ninetieth birthday party for the mother of an old school friend.  She had a whale of a time.  I didn't give her a birthday present as I knew she would be inundated with flowers but instead I told her that some time before she is 91 she will get an Unbirthday Present.  She thought it was a wonderful idea!

I made the same promise to my friend Doreen who was eighty last month.  Sadly I wasn't feeling well enough to go to her birthday bash but sometime before she's 81 she will receive a bouquet on a day when she's least expecting it.  She loves the fact that she will have flowers at an odd time of the year and I have given her the gift of anticipation.

When I was a child my family celebrated each of my birthdays with a party,  cake and a lot of special fuss but these days milestone birthdays seem to come round as quickly as each birthday did before I was a teenager.  I want to finish this post with a poem by Henry Twells, a Victorian vicar.  He knew all about how time varies her speed.

Time's Paces

When as a child I laughed and wept, 
Time Crept 
 When as a youth I waxed more bold, 
Time Strolled 
 When I became a full-grown man 
Time Ran 
 When older still I daily grew, 
Time Flew 
 Soon I shall find, in passing on, 
Time Gone 
 O Christ, wilt thou have saved me then?