Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thirteen Reasons to be Pleased with Yesterday

It was a totally ordinary day, no invitations, no special events, no lottery win, nothing to get excited over. A really slow day. I didn't even speak to anyone apart from Beloved,  except to exchange greetings.There is this Thursday Thirteen meme, which I've only done once before.  Kelly is bustling round the house vacuuming this morning, so I've escaped into my study. As I was sitting thinking about a possible blogpost the meme came into my mind and I was wondering if I could find thirteen pleasant things to write about.


I remembered a cousin's birthday just in time to send her a birthday card. This is not at all to be taken for granted; I forget birthdays and other special days more often than not. Last week I forgot the birthday of a really good friend. If somebody's birthday comes round before I turn the page on my perpetual birthday calendar  - the numbers run consecutively from one to 30 or 31, without days or weeks - that's it,  I have to grovel in abject apology.


Benno and I went for a walk in the Nature Reserve. The sunlight on the frozen lake accentuated the reed bed fringe and the reflection of the sky turned the water a deep blue instead of the usual muddy grey.


I watched a duck slide halfway across the lake before giving up. and disappearing in he reeds. She gave me an idea for a poem, most of which I remembered until I got home.


On the way out I walked through a willow thicket and saw that the pussy willow buds were beginning to burst into life; against the background of blue sky they looked as if  the stems had small lights attached to them. Cat's eyes, maybe?


In the afternoon I started to write an article for the local paper on how we had come to live in Valley's End. It reminded me of happy times and all the good reasons why we are still here. The article flowed easily and I shall have it finished before the deadline.


I love the  Sherlock Holmes series filmed in the 1980s, with the inimitable Jeremy Brett as Sherlock and the craggy faced Eric Porter as Prof. Moriarty.  All the actors in the films outdo each other in hamming or camping it up; I can't get enough of Sherlock's twitchy lips or Moriarty's evil eyebrows, not to mention Dr. Watson's sweet and utterly unbelievable devotion to Sherlock. An hour and a bit well-spent and wholly enjoyable, particularly because


I finished off the remains of last Christmas' marzipan while watching. Germans eat Lübecker Marzipan at Christmas. I can't get it in England at any other time of year so I always buy an extra loaf or two to last throughout winter. It's a very sweet, almondy, confection, not really very good for dental health or my hips. Being good can be so boring!


I try to read at least one poem every day, usually more. Yesterday I opened a poetry book on the lines "Dull, dull, hungry cloth-head dullard!Each day I'm dull ......." (A Pre-Breakfast Rant by Andrew Greig) and realised that, for once, I did not feel like that myself. Not hungry because I'd eaten marzipan loaf and not dull because I'd been for a walk in the bracing cold.


The weather is set to remain cold for the weekend; We feed a lot of birds and the supply of bird food was running low. We split up to shop in different shops and both came back to the car with bags of seeds and nuts. The birds will be happy and watching them perform on the bird table makes me happy. 
Ergo: another tick on the pleasure chart. I want you to believe that there were clouds of birds, but the minute I opened the window to take their photo they all flew off. It was too cold to stand in the open window for long, so you'll have to imagine a dozen and a half of tits, chaffinches, sparrows, bramblings, a pair of nuthatches, some greenfinches and a great bullying blackbird. 


The sun shone all day, a very rare occurrence in our narrow valley. Clouds and mist hang low and cling to the sides of the hills on both sides of the river, leaving us struggling under a dirty grey blanket for weeks on end.


I finally opened "The Help", which one of my gentlemen friends gave me to read. Three very nice gentlemen insist on improving my mind by bringing me books to read, independently of each other. Beloved is not jealous at all, in fact, he feels flattered at the cerebral attention other men pay his wife. I am left with the trouble of reading the books because all three gentlemen like to hear my opinion afterwards. "The Help" appears to be a fairly easy read. Although I have only reached page 60, I get the impression that it will be whites who solve the 'colour' question. I hope not.


It was a great pleasure to open my blog and find sixty lovely people had replied to the post about flattery, leaving very appreciative comments. (It's 64 now) Thank you very much, what would I do without you. (Probably not indulge in spending quite so much of my free time over my blog, that's what). I am very grateful.


Absolutely scraping the barrel now, all I can offer at number 13 is that I am very glad to have found 12 reasons to make yesterday pleasant and that I now have some cobbled-together material for this post. It's not as easy as I thought to come up with a list of thirteen anythings; complaining would probably  come more naturally.


  1. I love this post and smiled all the way through it! Made me feel good to be alive!

  2. At first I mis-read the tittle and thought "Who can think of thirty reasons?" But I see it's actually 13, which is still a lot to come up with, and you did it easily.

    I always look forward to seeing the first pussy willows (any day now), and I love that you find happiness in a chilly walk with your dog. May you have many more.

  3. What a lovely post. I enjoyed all those things along with you. I thought you'd posted a picture of my bird feeding station ... mine's identical and I love watching the birds this weather.

    Hopefully the pussy willows will appear here soon.

  4. How encouraging to find thirteen things for which to be thankful. I suspect my thirteen would be the same every time.

  5. I have this image now of lone gentleman callers battling through the snow to pay you 'cerebral attention'. Nice! Forget the Sherlock, this is a film in itself, a kind of English 'Doctor Zhivago', or a televised Anita Brookner at the very least.

  6. All very enjoyable. Great photos.

    About the Luebecker marzipan: nothing that is 'for your own good' is nice.
    We have a shop in Groningen, called the Hanzehuis, and we can buy it there! (I've checked their website and there's even a photo of it.) I'm going to Groningen Saturday. I'll visit the Hanzehuis. I'll buy marzipan. I don't want to be good ;-)

  7. So many simple pleasures we can so easily take for granted. Loved this post.

    And I seem to be grateful for the people who follow my blog more and more. It keeps me focused. And the various blogs of those who follow me enrich me, make me laugh, or simply make me aware of beauty--the blogs are things I look forward to reading.

    Including YOURS.

  8. Here! Here! for number 2.

    I have been loving the snowy sunny crisp, and no mud walks lately, I think we have another few weeks of this weather to look forward to.

  9. I enjoyed this post, Friko, as I enjoy all your posts, except when you or Beloved or Gardener are ill.
    I remember when my father first brought home marzipan. He was forever bringing home "educational edibles" and he had us making marzipan figures for hours. By the time we got around to eating our little marzipan creations, they were all quite grubby even though we'd washed our hands first. And then we ate so many we were sick of the smell of almond paste for years.
    I now enjoy a taste of marzipan from time to time, and am very fond of almond icing on Christmas cakes.
    I also love the idea of "cerebral attention" — what a great phrase, and how wonderful of Beloved to be so understanding. I find it is good to have friends who are men, as well as our women friends of course.
    I hope you remember the poem inspired by the duck on the ice.

  10. This post was a pure pleasure to read, from the nature preserve to the cerebral attention you receive, and this phrase re: "The Help" - "I get the impression it will be whites who solve the 'color' question. I hope not." Me, too. I have not read it yet, but intend to soon.

    I, also, read at least one poem a day, and so enjoy your poetry blog. You've shared some wonderful poems there. And, I want to thank you again for setting me right about Ms. Szymborska a few months ago. You did me a great service: Do my homework! :) Thank you, Friko.

  11. One of these days I will try this but now now. People will accuse me of copying your blog. I like many of the same things. The only thing I haven't tried lately is marzipan. Our Heidelberg bakery has it now, but you will probably tell me it is not as good as what I could find in Germany.


  12. Isn't it great to be able to come up with 13 things that made your day enjoyable? Some folks have a hard time finding one. I can almost see the duck skating across the ice.
    I read "The Help" and enjoyed it. I hear there is a movie out but won't see it. They are always a let down after the book. Books leave you free to use your imagination.

  13. i will have to check out that sherlocke holmes series....

    the duck is a cute sight to imagine sliding on the ice...and cool on the poem...

    and going for a walk at the nature preserve would def the top of my list...

  14. 9 naked women clustered around your bird-feeders? Why?

  15. Ahhh! What a delightful post. :)

    I love that your husband is not jealous of the cerebral attention given you by other men--LOL!

  16. you have good, genuine gratitude. i also forget birthdays and must apologize. for the last few months i have remembered, and it feels good. hopefully, i will continue with my remembering. that photo of the willow reeds is downright beautiful against that beautiful blue sky.

  17. Life's so much easier when the sky's clear and blue .
    And , at the risk of sounding like a fridge magnet , a task finished guarantees wellbeing !

  18. I'm convinced :)

    Have a great Thursday!

  19. Always a distinct pleasure to
    drop by and find out what our
    favorite Valley's End poet,
    photographer, dog lover,
    devoted wife, and philosopher
    has to say for herself; never
    a disappointment to the drop-ins
    from the American colonies.
    Your list of 13 is wonderful,
    and it reminds us to seek the
    joy our perceptions afford us.

  20. I really enjoyed this post. I have never tasted marzipan but I am going to google it to find out for sure what it is.

  21. Now, Friko, could you give me 13 suggestions on how I might get 2 lovely gentlemen to offer me reading material....sigh

  22. It's the little ordinary things that make the day good. Love your icy water pictures - they are a treat in themselves

  23. The Nature Reserve is sooo beautiful!

    I've been wanting to read "The Help." I look forward to reading your opinion of it :)

  24. Your list of thirteen made for wonderful reading on this Thursday. I don't know that I could even take on that challenge today. Your list had a bit of a chatty feel to it, but it was wonderful to read sentences that were so well constructed and full of great phrases and descriptive words.

  25. A bakers dozen of delights :-).

  26. Hello:
    What an utterly delightful list. Nothing special and yet everything special, for it is the everyday which is the true gift of Life.

    And now, what of all these 'gentlemen friends'....surely the topic of a blog post or a series perhaps?!!!!

  27. I bet you'll like The Help. I did. :)

  28. What I said yesterday? Well, ditto that.

  29. Thank you. I read through your list, smiling and nodding and then I got to the pussy willow. Eureka moment. I had always thought their name came from that strokable texture, but had completely missed out on the additional reason you gave. I may have to plant some again.

  30. I loved number thirteen! Thats like asking the genie for three more wishes.

  31. Dear Friko,
    Once again you've captured the attention of one and all of your readers. Sometimes, when the day is overcast or the news is murky, I forget to be gratitude for the simple joys of life. This posting is an irresistible reminder to keep one's eye on the prize of possibility.


  32. A very nice list! I hope you enjoy Thursday Thirteen. I have been doing it a long time (228 times!) and it gets hard to think of 13 things every week!

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

  33. hmmm. Not sure I'd want anyone, male or female, to give me a book I might not want to read, especially if they are waiting for my opinion of it. Lol.

  34. #1 - Friko wrote a marvelous post about 13 things that gave her pleasure and now I get to use it as my #1...

  35. Number 14 should be the pleasure you gave those of us who need to read things to make us smile at the end of a hard day. Thank you.

  36. Friko, I don't think I could come up with such a list under pressure, although throughout a leisurely day I think my daydreaming would cruise though hundreds of wonders.

    How you could still have some marzipan loaf around in early February does amaze me. I think if I had this treat around before Christmas, it would not possibly last much beyond New Years.

    Jeremy Brett...ahhh. I saw the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films over and over on early black and white tv as a child, while reading all the books, and thought my hero had been defined. Well, JB certainly changed that view!

    I was lucky to see Mr Brett on stage over here along with Glenda Jackson in The Vortex. Another Broadway star, Rosemary Harris, sat in the balcony row just in front of me. Long ago, and yet seems only yesterday.


  37. no wonder you have so many visitors at this blog! Another worth while and pleasurable read, Friko

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

  38. You easily found many pleasant things. I was itching to insert a number 13 for you - "Being good can be so boring." You must be quite wicked because boring is one thing you never are.

  39. Hi Friko .. great read - delighted that the birds are so well fed and loved - the first to come down here are the thugs as I call them .. rooks, jays, magpies, pigeons and seagulls - and they call as I hit the lawn!

    Love the photos - great to have such lovely walks around the village - can quite see why you stay.

    Sounds lovely - reading books to delight brought by gentlemen to peruse and review ... and then that Marzipan - I love that stuff!!

    Cheers - enjoy the cold weekend .. by the fire reading and writing as you feel ... Hilary

  40. It’s a good idea to find things which please us in our mundane daily life. In this uncertain world, our life could be changed in an instant, so we have all the more reasons o treasure each moment of small pleasure, which most of us forget to do. The frozen lake, withered reeds in the water, willow buds are beautiful. Winter has its own beauties. Stay warm and have a nice weekend.


  41. I must thank you for your recent comments, Friko. I must say that I believe that you are the most dedicated blogger that I know. Kudos! As you had mentioned in number 8, I too read poetry every day - not my "cup of tea", but I read Razzmadazzle (a newbie) and Pics and Poems (well seasoned) daily. Sorry folks, but I just don't get it ...

  42. I attempted to send a comment yesterday, Friko, but it must have been lost in the ether. I suspect that I failed to type in the word verification.

    In any event, I wanted to say that this sounded like a great day to me. A walk with your dog, some good food, a little poetry, and a good book—what could be better than that? As you read "The Help," bear in mind that I spent my youth in Mississippi, about 100 miles south of Jackson. I remember that era well, but not fondly.

    The movie version of "The Help" is also quite good. If memory serves me correctly, the film has garnered many Academy Award nominations, including that for best film.

  43. great fun and inspirational! thanks Friko

  44. Very inspirational, I will try this, but mine might be a bit weird. Yesterday, I wrote in an email to a friend, that I am so perfectly happy living here, not going anywhere, contemplating nature, and the beauty of an old-fashioned country gate post. Oh, well!

  45. Read from here, it comes close to being a fairy-tale. I thank you much for this. Please have you all a kind weekend.

  46. A nice idea for a blog to write of your day numerically. It sounded a perfect one too.

  47. A nice idea for a blog to write of your day numerically. It sounded a perfect one too.

  48. Loved the idea for the post. My husband eats marzipan straight off the block - there's always a big lump of it in the cupboard. I prefer it on the cake, myself. In Stollen, especially.

  49. I think I may have to borrow this concept for a post sometime after I finish the bunch in my head! I love the Brett Sherlocks and for a different reason, the new Sherlocks, too.

    I think you'll find the Help gets deeper than you think it might. It led me to spots that made me come back to it over and over again, which doesn't always happen with books. The book is much richer than the film, which is very good. And great women characters, which is rare! Enjoy!

  50. I've come back from an exhilarating, but a bit tiring, trip to the city, and now have been settled in for a long while reading Flaubert's Sentimental Education, of all things, and listening to Vaughan Williams. It's been a most peaceful evening, something to treasure, and now I felt ready again to see what's afoot in the wider world. I went here immediately, on the promise of the title. The pleasure you've gleaned from small, daily things and described so well was the perfect re-entry point. Thank you.

  51. Jeremy Brett is the ONLY actor to play Holmes as created by Arthur Conan-Doyle

  52. Thank you for this, Friko, my mind was dulling out, I don't know why but you inspire me to write a post.

  53. I love all your 13, especially the one about the bird seed
    how wonderful that you both came back with goodies for them
    I can imagine them dancing

    I saw your comment about health care at christopher's views and I so completely related to it that I had to come visit
    I live in the US and it's only because of the sheer, relentless force of my will that I receive crappy care

    have a great weekend

  54. I love lists, especially happy lists, and yours shared the pleasant moments exceptionally well, both through images and words. And no, please don't think me guilty of flattery!

  55. Don't worry yourself about "The Help". If the book follows the movie (or vice-versa, I suppose) things will work out creatively.

    I was taken with the photo of the pussy willows. I've not seen any in decades. With the forsythia, they were among the first signs of spring back in the Cold Clime. I loved their silky softness.

  56. sich an den einfachen Dingen zu erfreuen, ist für mich zumindest, das wahre Leben. Schön, dieses Post zu lesen...!
    Alles Liebe!


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.