I remember Kirsty Young talking to Chris Evans about happiness, how she’d been misquoted in the press and what she was really saying was that her ambition for her children wasn’t simply for them to be ‘happy’ per se. Life brings its challenges and striving simply to be ‘happy’ through everything, though an appealing goal, was one destined to fail. Kirsty said that to ‘know’ those fleeting moments of happiness, those moments when you just want to sigh and say, yeah, this is GREAT, to hold on to them and appreciate them, makes for more contentment. Hallelujah! I’ve been saying for years that you ‘have to be down to be up,’ and Kirsty’s given me a much more eloquent way to express it. So, that’s what I bring you this week: three fleeting, and not so fleeting, moments of happiness which made me stop and smile.
Bluebells. I turned a corner, and there they were. I stop for time or no man when I run, not, I hasten to add, because I’m incredibly fast, dedicated or even sticking to a training plan (try as I might to bring some discipline into my running, after ten years of the darned thing, I haven’t managed it yet). No, generally I’m on a tight schedule, have given myself a certain time slot which leaves five minutes at the end to get back into the house, make a cup of tea, shower, stretch, look at the post, chat to the neighbour…and be back at my desk. But, on this glorious Tuesday morning, I was compelled to pause, to recognise the almost artificially bluey-purple scene, appreciate how lucky I am to have this on my doorstep, and take a photo for posterity.
The second moment was the unveiling of the bottom of my ironing basket. In truth, this moment actually preceded the bluebells - I had to achieve the empty basket before I could allow myself the run - but I thought if I started with the ironing, those of you as keen as I am on the fetters of domesticity, might wander off.
Apart from that heady day over two decades ago when purchasing the wretched thing, I cannot remember every seeing this ironing basket empty. Most days I iron. I can’t bear to do it in one shift. But I always leave a few items languishing at the bottom of the basket, just to deny me the satisfaction of crossing the ironing off the to-do list. Not this day! It’s a simple thing, but it made me smile enough to reach for my camera again, even if it was the most transitory of my wafts of happiness, only lasting until the next instalment of misshapen clothes had been peeled from the radiator.
And now the third. This has given me more than a moment of satisfaction although the subsequent wait is bordering on torture, grateful as I, unequivocally, am. From the general junk of my in-box trying to convince me that a 50% discount on false nails would make my life complete, as would a cut price holiday to somewhere very hot leaving tomorrow, together with the news that an EBay item has been re-listed and a company with far too much time on their hands are still harbouring the misapprehension that anyone other than my wonderful mother makes my curtains, the words, ‘Both your entries have been shortlisted’, greeted me one fine morning,
The First Chapter Competition is run by the Oxford Editors http://www.theoxfordeditors.co.uk, an international literary consultancy and agency, and I entered samples from Glass Houses and my current Work In Progress, Misguidance. The constant clicking on the website boasting no further news has caused me some distress, as well as a touch of arthritis in the clicking finger, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Shortlisting is great, a win would be a champagne moment and until the Fat Lady Sings, I can still dream, can’t I?
So, distract me! What are your fleeting moments of happiness? Please share!