Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy stuff

Daughter 1, K of Square One (/, tagged me a while ago to write about six things that make me happy. I somehow never got round to this, but here we go. My list is very like hers, because though we’re not very similar in personality, we seem to have similar tastes in happiness. Only, I couldn’t stick to six.

1) My family. I’m extremely proud of our children: they’re all really nice, kind people with very caring attitudes towards others. And they’re good fun. The only problem is that I don’t want to part with them: the worst aspect of parenthood, one of the many things that you don’t think about when having a baby. You don’t even really imagine them going to school, let alone to university, into the world of work, or bringing significant others into their lives. And then leaving home. Of course I’m pleased they can do without us, are doing well and so on. But there’s nothing like their jolly presence around the house. (We still have Daughter 2’s jolly presence, but can’t expect her to stay much longer with her aged parents.)
2) My husband. I don’t think he has any plans to move to a separate house or start going out with an actor. He’s a nice chap and we get along well and he’s always supportive when I need him to be.
3) Flowers and other growing things, especially in gardens. They mean beauty, hope for the future, joy.
4) Scenery, particularly mountains. I don’t get up to the Highlands often at all, but my heart’s there: Sutherland, Wester Ross. Towering mountains, huge horizons, no sound but the soughing of the wind. I also love the sea. We used to live within short-walking distance of the sea and I miss it. There’s nothing like looking at the grey waves (I’m talking Scotland here) constantly turning over and over on the beach. It makes me realise that I’m very unimportant. It’s comforting to realise that my little troubles and worries don’t matter to the sea and when I’m long gone, there will still be waves shooshing dispassionately on pebbles.
5) Reading. I particularly like biographies and diaries and letters. And blogs. I read fiction as well but I like getting into people’s lives, being a very very nosey person.
6) Writing. I like other creative activities as well and would ideally live with a private income in a self-cleaning and tidying house, spending my days writing, reading, drawing, sewing, gardening. But in my real life I don’t have much spare time, especially in the gardening season. Of all these activities, though, writing is the only one that occupies the mind wholly.
7) Music. I love classical music, the songs of wonderful writers like Cole Porter and the Gershwins and the very occasional more poppish thing. I love to sing around the house or in a choir: another stress-busting activity (for the singer, at least).
8) Friends. I’m not such a solitary person as numbers 1-7 make me sound; I’m quite sociable and hospitable.

9) My house. The house we live in isn’t my ideal home; but all the same, I quite like it and enjoy being here, with my stuff: china, glass, pictures, books, cats, plants. Minimalist I’m not.
10) The cats. They’re so fluffy and peaceable and ask for so little: sunshine if possible, but failing that a radiator; a snooze; a rug; prawns; a bit of company.

I’ve just spent much of the day potting up cuttings – begonias, fuchsias and pelargoniums, mainly destined for the garden in due course - while listening to Vivaldi and singing along. Now various rooms are full of little pots and the kitchen is covered in compost and bits of leaf. Better go and see to this.
Goodness, that was a very boring and self-indulgent post. Sorry. Next time I shall have to reveal my keen interest in boxing, nuclear physics, Socrates, computer programming, snails and diseases of the skin. (Lies, all lies.)
I'm supposed to tag six people. You've probably done this already, but if not: how about Rise (where are you?), Molly, Kerri, Loth, Rosemary Riveter, Almost a Normal...?


  1. Now, Isabelle, this could be my list. Everything I can echo and cheer with the exception of the cats. Not that I have anything against the cats, of course - I simply don't have any! Mountains, sea, family, children, home, garden, friends, music, books, writing....oh yes. Me too! I felt happy just reading about your happy things.

  2. I always get a naughty chuckle when you mention actors.

    An enjoyable post. Thank you!

  3. That was a very nice post and an exceptionally positive list. I enjoyed reading it! I think your #6 (particularly) belongs on my list, too!

  4. Anonymous6:48 pm

    Being one who is also nosy and likes to read blogs and diaries and so on, I was glad to get to know you better... you are much like me! Especially the part about parting with children. My oldest is only 15.. but this first letting go is not going to be easy. I don't suspect letting the other 2 go will be any easier...

  5. I'm still getting over your dreadful Katie Mellua confession, but I'll see what I can do!

  6. Not boring and self-indulgent at all! A lovely happy list.

  7. Just so lovely so hear someone who is happy, contented and enjoying their life! So many people in the world havent found that lovely place. Z xxx

  8. I empathised with lots of this! Lovely to read.
    And don't worry, your Jolly People will always return with their own little Jollies and that's brilliant!

  9. What a lovely list Isabelle -- notning boring or self-indulgent about it! #2 just made me laugh -- where on earth did that actor thing come from? Other than that bit, I think we're all very similar, aren't we?

  10. Not boring at all. Very nice to know that it's the little things that make you happy---me too. Thank you for thinking of me---I do seem to be in need of a bit of a nudge!

  11. Not boring nor self indulgent at all, very interesting, It's a great list, and very similar I think to one I would have written. Glad to see the cats got a look in too!

  12. Anonymous11:27 am

    People always feel a bit guilty about being happy, don't they? I know I do sometimes.

    Your life sounds very good indeed.

  13. I feel my list would be similar! My family, husband, the sea, flowers, reading..... we've even just had two new kittens come into our house hold.

    Will pass on the classical music, while I don't dislike it, I prefer modern music.

  14. I did enjoy this post and a very good list that makes you happy.

  15. I enjoyed your list too, and if you find out where you can get a self-cleaning , self-tidying house could you order two and I'll take the other one. Thanks.

  16. I enjoyed this post very much. although to my knowledge I don't have any scottish blood in me I adore the light, the mountains and the beaches of scotland. they are magical.

  17. Ohhh-- I saw a crocus today -- very exciting!!

    I'll think about what makes me happy....

  18. I found this a very happy post. Your world and your family are so lovely.
    It did, howevre, make me remeber a bad day I was having when my baby daughter was about 3 weeks old.
    I was trying to calculate how long it would be till she moved out, because I had not had a wink of sleep in about three days due to her screaming. Wow, I thought, eighteen years of this?

    So those of us (with questionable maternal instincts) do perhaps think of babies moving out of home....

  19. I love your list of happy!
    Very close to my list.