Victoria Coren Mitchell is, I think, an eminently sensible broadcaster. I am predisposed to like her, since she hosts one of my favourite Quiz Shows, the fiendishly wonderful Only Connect on BBC2. She just seems like a grounded, very realistic person. The sort you could meet over coffee at 11 o’ clock and still be sat with at 5 realising that the choice is either stop or take the meeting to a nearby restaurant on the understanding that the rest of the evening should probably be blanked out of the diary and taxis will be necessary (at about 10pm. She’s a mother and so am I, so we’re not foolish enough to believe that the early hours of the morning are made for enjoyment. They’re made for sleep if possible)
In all the mess that is life over the weekend (that’s the external mess of the world and the internal mess that is a hacking cough and a life too full to be fun) her column for the Observer was the Twitter link that caught me, sucked me through and made me think. It made me stop long enough to know that her list was an inspiration. If you’ve not read it, go now. Click on the link because you need to read it. Go on, I’ll wait.
Isn’t it lovely? A list to make Victoria happy. As she says, “Instead (of thinking about the news), I’ve decided to compile a list of good things in the world. Things to think about when you don’t want to think about what you’re thinking about. A sort of meditation tool. These are some things I’m going to try to clear my head and focus on – to the exclusion of all else.”
I think we all need a list of Good Things In The World. It would be fun to compare to see what makes it to more than one list and what is a very singular pleasure (“Calling one more bet than you should with a pair of eights against obvious kings and flopping a set. (Niche, but not as niche as it used to be.)” isn’t on many people’s lists, I’m betting. I need it explaining before I’ll fully get it). It would, as Brendan Cox put it this weekend, be good to see that we probably have #MoreinCommon than we usually admit. I’ll start. I’m going to start my list here, and then put it in my berry coloured notebook to carry around with me. If you write one as well and post it anywhere online, please do share the link in the comments below.
My Good Things In the World List
- That first cup of tea in the morning. Especially Chai tea. It wakes me up. You won’t get any sense out of me until then.
- The dimples that babies have in their elbows, closely followed by the dimples in their knees. In fact, sleeping babies in general. Awake, it’s a different matter.
- Game of Thrones, West Wing, House of Cards, Riviera. Any BIG series that can sweep me away somewhere else for a few hours with good and bad characters. I like morality tales where the Bad get their comeuppance and the Good succeed. I like thinking that’s possible.
- Petrichor. The smell of the rain before it falls, or rather the smell of the rocks before the rain.
- Watching a sunset, and being free to watch it from start to finish. We’re off to Wales for a week this summer, so I’m planing to sit on a headland and watch a few good Suns set in that week. Somehow the sea makes a sunset even better.
- Watching the sea. I’m not a swimmer, so I don’t see the sea as a playground, but I appreciate the beauty and grandeur. A good storm, as long as you’re not too close by, is always a work of majesty.
- Getting home to find out that the lesson I should be teaching is cancelled. I never do anything with that extra hour, but I love the breathing space it gives me.
- Flowers growing where they shouldn’t be. There’s a patch of what I am reliably informed is delphiniums growing by the side of the M62 that I pass when I visit my Mum. They are like a reminder that Nature abhors a vacuum and loves beauty.
- Starting a new crochet project. A bag, a shawl, a toy, a blanket, another shawl, another bag, another blanket. I have enough to do, but the lure of the new project is beginning to call me again. I will be strong and resist.
- Christmas. The fact I belong to a Christmas group on Facebook that is made up of a lot of Hygge Nook friends, and a lot of new people. The fact that I am already contemplating writing out my Christmas pages in my note book so that I can start planning and buying as soon as the schools go back.
- School holidays. These aren’t as good as when I was teaching and had them off, but now I appreciate the clear drive to work. The 6 weeks in the summer isn’t enough. I’d let them stay off 6 months a year.
- Cracking the spine of a new book. I love the creak, especially with hard backs, but a good, thick paperback can be just as satisfying.
- That part in Amelie where…. no, I couldn’t choose. I just love Amelie. It’s a feast for the eyes and the heart. We are all connected.
- Writing a letter to a new friend. Writing to an old friend. Getting a letter. Contact is so important.
- Getting together as an extended family. It’s getting harder as the nieces and nephews grow older and have work commitments to keep. What used to be almost a monthly occurrence (due to birthdays) has become a 3 or 4 times a year things. That’s life. It does make them all the more sweeter when they happen.
- Finding the word Hygge. My life is so much sweeter for knowing that hygge is the word for what I do. It is as if knowing the name forces me to name moments of hygge. Recognising them makes me appreciate them more, more appreciation makes me want more, so I consciously try to create the atmosphere etc for hygge and then I end up having more hygge. Win/win.
So, there you go, my list. I’d love to see yours. I’m off to write this out in purple ink from my lime green Safari Lamy in the berry-coloured Leuchtturm 1917 notebook because that makes me happy as well. If you put your list anywhere on line, link to it below. And for more details on my books, social media et al, please click through this link.