Thursday, May 01, 2008

Always look on the bright side of life (te tum, te tum te tum te tum te tum)

I’ve read some blogs in which people try to – for example - post about three good things each day. This seems an excellent plan to me – not that I have time to post daily but I like the philosophy. I like it because sometimes life is a bit rubbish but there’s not a great deal of point in dwelling on the rubbishy aspects. We’re going to grow old and die but we might as well try to enjoy life while we can. (Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it’s not true.)

This rings a bit hollow from me, one of the world’s worriers, but hey, I would be considerably more of a worrier if I couldn’t be distracted from my sorrows by enjoying things I see along the way.

I very much believe that the secret of happiness is the ability to take delight in small pleasures.

These last few years have certainly not been the easiest part of my life so far, for reasons which I won’t detail. (At least, not today.) But I give you three of the (many) things that give me pleasure.
My garden. The grass needs to be cut just now (all this Scottish rain) but there’s lots of colour and it’s spring. A garden is undoubtedly a lovesome thing, God wot. Including these tulips.

This glass vase. Mr Life gave it to me many years ago and I’ve always liked it. (Mr Life is also a lovesome thing, as are all the little Lives.) The vase has “J.Ditchfield” on the bottom. I looked this up on Google a little while ago and J.Ditchfield is still glassmaking, though there’s nothing on his website like my little crooked pot.

This poem (one of many) by Norman MacCaig. I love his poetry. It makes me wriggle with enthusiasm. There’s nothing like a good wriggle when life seems almost too tough to be worth struggling through. And look! Norman MacCaig knew the difference between "it's" = it is or it has and "its" = belonging to it! (Unlike some people out there... mutter, mumble...)

Caterpillar going somewhere

Its green face looks as if
it were about to spit – pft.

It moves along a twig
by doing exercises, bend, stretch –

hard to imagine
a potbellied caterpillar.

It looks so active (hard to imagine it
in the lotus position)

and yet, and yet
it looks so melancholy.

Is it because it knows that
when it reaches a green leaf

its jaws will open sideways
instead of up and down?...

It’s standing erect now – it turns
from side to side

like a retired sea-captain
scanning horizons.


  1. Love your pot, love the poem. And a solitary tulip just like those has turned up unannounced in our garden in amongst the wild weediness! Aren't I lucky?
    And as for it's/its, don't get me started. Did you see The Apprentice last night? Four hours, FOUR HOURS arguing about where to put an apostrophe! I'm pretty sure my TV isn't old enough to have been exposed to some of the language I hurled at it during that!

  2. I adore your garden and your flowers, I really do. And
    there is nothing like a flower to fill your head with lovely thoughts.
    And I LOVE the Life household. All persons, cats, flowers and objects, everything. And Edinburgh too.

    I used to know a funny Scottish poem about the Horny goloch which was some kind of caterpillar with horns. ("it hae twa horns..")

    And now, with all those Scottish thoughts, I am heading of to my studio to paint for six hours.

  3. This rather absent blogger (commenter) just had to say something about the post yesterday. I'm a long way from home, being a Brit living in Aus, and everyday I miss that sense of familiarity... there really is no place like home. We lived in 'Burgh before moving here, and I think if we ever move back that's where we would head - it is such a great place to live. However, a once in a lifetime job offer (for him) brought me and my hubby here. Thank you so much for posting a picture - it has fair brightened my day. Though at the same time there's a bit of my heart sighing as at times I would give anything to be 'home' again.

    Thanks Isabelle :o)


  4. Ohh! Daffodils, primroses, and are those sweet blue ones forget-me-nots? You're making me nostalgic for my mum's flower bed that ran the full length of our garden at home. It is now under the care of my brother who has two wonderful green thumbs....
    In spite of recently waxing poetical [or doggeral-al??]about wild flowers, I do love every one of those beauties in your spring garden---especially the gorgeous, raspberry-coloured tulips. Tulips don't care much for the climate here.....unfortunately.
    I agree we can let life's "rubbishy bits" get us down sometimes. I like Pema Chodron's advice that we should accept everything---good and bad---that comes along as being part of the bigger picture and not feel we have to control and manage it.....Easier said than done of course. Here's to the little pleasant pleasures of life outweighing the rubbishy bits!

  5. I do like that you worry and try to look on the bright side! I'm a bit like that too. Stunning tulips.

  6. Living contentedly can be a bit of a puzzle. Like you, I'm something of a worrier. Just as you say, sometimes things go to pot and there's little we can do about it, so we have to take our pleasure where we can find it. All the same, I do hope things get less rubbishy for you sooner rather than later.

    Lovely photos. I do envy you your garden, not to mention that good Scottish rain.

  7. Lovely garden and I just love the tulips (my favourite flower)! It's a good idea to try to think of three good things per day. I will try that. :D

  8. I love spring. I love your garden, Isabelle! I also love long weekends. I swear that song has stuck in my mind all day. Always look etc etc etc.

  9. Aussies HATE it when you show off your emerald green grass and talk about 'all your Scottish rain" - stop BOASTING! We are still officially in drought mode :-(
    Seriously, your tulips and grass are gorgeous, as is the glassware, and the whimsical poem is cute!
    Gosh, you don't have to TRY to post three good things a day, a week, or any time. Just keep doing what you're doing now - I'm sure I speak for your other readers when I say we love "This Life" the way it is!

  10. I'm a real 'count your blessings' person, and I have the joy of working with another one at the moment. It's so lovely to have a kindred spirit at work.

  11. Spring time! Love it, love Summer better, don't like the sudden change we've had in temperatures here.

    I enjoyed your post, always good to look for the bright side. So easy to forget to do that. I'm probably one of those people that put apostrophes where they aren't needed... and then forget when they are needed! Just let me know when I get it wrong!