Saturday, 30 July 2011

On An A-Z Of Smiles

Turn on the TV, the radio, or even look at the interwebs, and you’ll see bad news – lots of it. You’ll see people complaining about their lot in life, people pointing out where things are going wrong, and, in some rather tasteless cases, people arguing about whether the death of a young talented musician is more or less tragic than the deaths of a group of young people shot by a gunman – these arguments usually fail to mention the deaths and dreadful conditions being suffered by an unimaginable number of people living on the horn of Africa.

There is also a whole world out there of “misery lit”, tales of awful childhoods, books complaining about how things are “going down the drain” these days, and articles in the newspapers about how society is falling apart and we’re all heading for some kind of apocalypse – be it environmental, economic, or educational!

However, I’m reading a little book on my kindle app at the moment that counteracts all this stuff. It’s called “It Is Just You, Everything’s Not Shit”, and is a rather charming collection of “things” that are just lovely and pleasurable, such as Advent Calendars, Bubble Wrap, and Cancelled Meetings (organized alphabetically, and I’m currently on “D”, hence the selection above)!

It’s true too, life has some grim stuff, granted, but it also has some lovely stuff – although people seem to prefer to focus on the grim – I once heard something on the TV saying that people complain about things they’re NOT happy with 9 times more than they tell someone about something they ARE happy with – it’s no wonder so many people think the world’s going down the drain – they often ignore the things in life that are good and run smoothly. How many times have you heard someone say, at the end of a journey, that they got held up at every red traffic light on their way? Do they also say how wonderful it was when they miss the red lights and go through green for their entire journey? Or, do they simply not notice the green ones as they speed through?

So, I was inspired by this little book to write a short blog post (which is already growing faster than I intended) outlining some of the pleasures of my life, things which make me smile – one for each letter of the alphabet. It’s been a nice exercise to do – sitting thinking of 26 nice things that make me smile. Maybe something others might like to do, just to focus on some of the good things in the world.

I’m not denying there are bad things too, just that it’s nice to focus on the good stuff from time to time – most of it doesn’t make the news, because bad news sells more papers, but there’s loads of good stuff out there if we just bother to notice it!

So, here’s the A-Z. It’s my own, yours will be different, but hope you enjoy it and I make at least one of you smile at least once – if I do, it’ll have been a worthwhile exercise! :-)

A is for Alto Clef – the clef of choice for viola players. It’s lovely having such a beautifully balanced clef, with middle C on the middle line and it also represents my viola, which nearly always makes me smile (except perhaps after practising studies!!!).

B is for Bubble Bath – what’s not to love? I adore a long soak in the bath, with a book, a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and the wonderful aroma of lovely bubbles around me. Not only do I get clean there, I mentally refocus, relax and refresh myself!

C is for Custard – oh how much I love custard. It’s a genetic thing – my brother loves it too. It’s yellow, and sweet, and milky, and comforting and reminds me of childhood and puddings and squabbling about who gets the skin. And it’s just plain ordinary delicious!

D is for Dyeing – I love making things change colour. One of the nice things about going grey is that I can dye my hair purple if I like, and it’s brilliant to buy a cheap pair of boring trousers, pop them into the machine, and see them emerge a bright vibrant colour.

E is for Electricity – how magical is electricity. So many brilliant things work with it – the TV, the MP3 player, the cooker, lights at night, and all those cool things we love. Now I even have a viola that uses it! And how exciting is it to watch lightning?

F is for Felines – bless them, especially Pebbles who is curled up next to me as I type this. They’re so soft, so cuddly, and so cute when they wash their faces. They’re also incredibly beautifully made creatures – their balance, poise and self-reliance is amazing.

G is for Group Theory – one of my favourite bits of pure mathematics. So far in my study it’s had a lot to do with symmetry and patterns and stuff, which is right up my street. Of course, there had to be something mathematical in my list – studying maths is great!

H is for Hammocks – I’ve recently acquired a hammock. It’s just so wonderful to lie there, swinging gently, and even better when the weather is good enough to take the hammock outside and lie in the warm sun with a book and a drink. Pure luxury!

I is for Instruments – it’s not just violas that make me smile. I love all sorts of music and musical instruments, in particular the large brass ones known as flumpophones (tubas, to normal people). Nothing quite like a nice piano or a sexy bass guitar either! Bliss!

J is for Junk – OK, I admit it, I ADORE junk. You know, all the rubbish that other people don’t want. I like to rescue it from its fate on a scrapheap, take it home, clean it and love it, and even renovate it and make it new again. If it can still be used, I’ll use it – one day!

K is for Kiddles – I was called Kiddle before I was married. Kiddle represents family and friends (even though most of them are not called Kiddle). They don’t ALWAYS make me smile, but in general, I’m lucky to have family and friends who can be wonderful.

L is for Lists – nothing more excellent than a neat and organized list, preferably organized into categories, priorities, and nicely bullet pointed! I like to be organized, put things into spreadsheets and so on – it’s very satisfying and pleasurable!

M is for Making Things – model aircraft, clothes, wooden bits and bobs, nice colours on blog sites. I also get huge satisfaction from fixing things that are broken (see J) and I like doing crafty stuff with my hands – knitting and so on. It’s also quite a useful thing to like!

N is for Nail Polish – I have over 100 pots of the stuff, in all colours of the rainbow. It gives me great pleasure to have colourfully painted finger and toe nails, especially when they’re bold or bright colours – somehow it makes life feel like it’s more fun!

O is for Octonauts – a gem of a kids TV programme, just 10 minutes per episode, but utterly delightful. It’s about a group of animal characters (the Octonauts) who live under the sea and help out. It’s also educational – last week they talked of hydrothermal vents!

P is for Pancakes – marvellous foodstuff, of which I never tire. I like them sweet, savoury, and at any time of day – we have them every weekend for breakfast!. They also represent other yummy simple foods I like – fishfingers make me smile too, as do cakes!

Q is for the Queen – I’m not really a “monarchist” but I think the Queen is fab. She’s so good at socialising with absolutely ANYBODY and still works hard well into her 80s! I’m always impressed by the way so many royals do a job they didn’t choose to do!

R is for Rats – anyone who has had ANYTHING to do with me in recent months will know that my two little fellas, Charlie and Moses, give me a huge amount of pleasure. Rats are sometimes misunderstood, but they’re clean, intelligent, and utterly FAB!

S is for Steak – actually, I could do a whole alphabet of food, but a really nice, well-cooked (i.e. blue) fillet steak is hard to beat. That wonderful “melt in the mouth” sensation is just miraculous! Fish steaks are good too, different, but also delicious!

T is for Tea – well, what else! This elixir of life is just brilliant. The Wonderspouse brings me a cup in bed EVERY morning (Earl Grey – my default tea). I like strong builders’ tea, Lapsang in the afternoon, even poncey stuff like Silver Needles! Yummy!

U is for Undressing – I make no secret of the fact I’m not into clothes and I wear as few as poss! I think we made a mistake losing our fur!!! Also, when I get undressed it is usually either for a swim, a bath, or to go to bed, all of which are great pleasures in life!

V is for Vulcan – Avro Vulcan XH558 to be precise! What a great achievement to get this wonderful plane back into the air. A group of dedicated, committed people at Vulcan To The Sky, along with their supporters made this masterpiece of engineering fly again!

W is for Wonderspouse – how could he not make me smile, from the tips of his wild curly hair, to the ends of his long unmanicured toenails, he’s fabulous! Of all the people in the world, I was lucky enough to find the very best one, AND he puts up with me!

X is for Ximenez – well, Pedro Ximenez, the unctuous wonderful sweetest sherry in the world. Actually, I love all sherry, and wine, and gin (with tonic), and beer (especially real ale), and a drop of scotch, or a mojito, and various other beverages! Many make me smile!

Y is for Yoots – which is the pet name we have for our car (derived from his numberplate – he’s a Y-reg). I love driving, and a particularly smooth gear change, or a great line through a corner, or just getting in and going where I want to go can feel SO good!

Z is for Zebra – the ultimate stripey animal. Tigers and tabby cats are also fantastic! I adore striped things – clothes, patterns, and rainbows! Spots and other geometric patterns are good too, but stripes are my favourite – every time I put on stripey socks I smile! :-)


  1. Z could also stand for Zzzzzzz, which is sleep. I know that's a wonderful thing!

  2. Oh gosh yes, sleep is absolutely FANTASTIC! :-)

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