Thursday, 19 April 2012

Things That Brought Joy - Thursday

courtesy the Guardian website
Today was short on joy, perhaps I could call it satisfactory. There was lots of rain on and off, for which we ought to be very grateful. The media, the water companies, even the government are telling us that we must preserve water; many areas in the UK already have hosepipe bans in place. This is a country where mild disquiet very quickly turns to panic. On the home front, neither Kelly, my cleaner, whose daughter was poorly, nor Gardener, for whom it was too wet, turned up. I was pleased, due to a poor night I felt far too tired to do much of anything myself. How is it that my knee always knows when the weather turns wet and windy? There I am, snug and cosy in my bed, I've switched off the light and compose myself to sleep when my knee starts aching. The rest of me is fine, it's the bit that connects the thighbone to the shinbone which plays sillybuggers. I stay in bed for an hour before I try a couple of paracetamol and a massage with arnica oil : no difference. I reach for a sleeping pill. Another hour later comes the second sleeping pill. Result: the following day I am a zombie. After lunch I take a nap, what used to be called 'forty winks' is now a power nap. Beloved is very kind, he takes Benno for his walk round the castle. I very briefly watch a pair of camera-shy goldfinches do the bookends theme, but they fly off the minute my camera clicks. How can they hear this through the glass of the kitchen window? The Guardian website has a much clearer picture of the little beauties.

The day was fast becoming frazzled, desultory. I tried a spot of editing. Progress on the memoir is painfully slow; I recently wrote a chapter about a very sad event in my early childhood about a stray dog and its short and brutal life and death. It took a lot of courage to take this memory out of its hideyhole and look at it in the sharp and unfeeling light of a computer screen. Writing it made me cry for the sad, lonely little child of long ago and attempting to edit the chapter today was a mistake. I must do this when I'm feeling bright and confident, it'll be hard enough even then. 

Tomorrow we are having friends to dinner. It is  possible that both Kelly and Gardener turn up and I won't have a lot of time to prepare a meal. I shall probably cheat and serve a bought pudding. 

I've already made the smoked salmon paté which is part 
of the starter, which means that I'll only have to 
cook the main course from scratch. 

There'll be six of us.

Laying out crockery, cutlery and polishing glasses today
also makes tomorrow less daunting.

To recap: Joy? Maybe not. But I have a kind husband who takes my dog out for me. There are sweet birds to watch. I have the time to take a nap to recover from last night and I have a pleasant evening with friends tomorrow night to look forward to.

And we finally seem to be getting the much needed rain.


  1. Joy takes many forms, Friko. To be able to recognise the good in the small details of everyday life is a kind of joy.

  2. Sometimes a day like the one you describe is best spent just doing a few small things. I seem to have way to many of those days lately. At least you got the party for tomorrow started, and you do have a dear husband, and you took a wonderful photo, and you wrote a blog post. I must commend you for all of that.

  3. It is always good to count blessings. By now hopefully you will be asleep and tomorrow your friends will be fun. What are you cooking for the main course? I am sure they will be happy with a bought pudding!

  4. Bought puddings can be awesome! Nothing better than breaking bread with friends.

    I really do sympathise with trying to sleep when there is pain. From time to time I have problems with my legs and lately with my hands. As you say sleeping pills also turn me into a zombie. Anyway, Friko, have a wonderful evening tomorrow and cheers!

  5. i know what you are saying on the knees...mine is from a loading dock injury in my teens...dinner sounds fun tomorrow night

  6. I'll echo Perpetua's comment - Joy takes many forms. I would say that you've succeeded in finding joy today.

    There's nothing wrong with a bought pudding (or dessert as we say) - having guests is all about the company around the table.

  7. Back in the days when I entertained, I almost always served something made by someone else. They did a much better job, and I didn't have to do it myself! I do hope it will be a success and you will be happy about it being behind you :-)

  8. Here's to a more restful and less painful night, Friko, and a lovely dinner tomorrow. Small steps are the best way to go, but you already know that.

  9. Friko, I hope that by the time I type this, you will be enjoying the return of very sweet dreams, and deepest, most restful sleep.

    I'd imagine that any dinner party guest of yours would be so glad to be at your table with you there...the actual menu would be part of the background music so to speak. (Oh what a convoluted sentence.)


  10. You said "But I have a kind husband who takes my dog out for me. There are sweet birds to watch. I have the time to take a nap to recover from last night and I have a pleasant evening with friends tomorrow night to look forward to.

    And we finally seem to be getting the much needed rain."

    That is joy! Sometimes the greatest joy is the simple, the commonplace, the needed. It's also the most easily overlooked.

  11. Friko, the pain in your knee might relate to a strain from a misaligned sacrum, the pelvic curl is an excellent remedy, just wiggle that hip of yours toward lengthening the spine and sense any reluctance in the tissues. Placing a big, preferably long pillow between your legs as to keep them parallel may also be of help.

    You are so very fortunate to have your husband walk the dog. I am in bed with a serious flu, but still have to get up and out to walk mine and then return feeling worse. A literal pain in the neck, but I keep it manageable with my wiggles.

  12. Those joys count, too. :)

    Finches as colorful as those would have me smiling for a good long time after catching a glimpse!! They are amazing!! They definitely brought me joy today. ;)

  13. Well your account brings me joy in knowing the one who shared it.

    Carry on, Dear. Thank you for sharing-

    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } (°>

  14. It's probably my nature, but I enjoy the deeply satisfying moment much more than the joyous occasion. I've always suspected that it has something to do with birth order. Anyway, I'd do without the knee pain or the zombie state, and take the rest of the day with great satisfaction.

  15. Some of your accomplishments of the day may seem simple and small, Friko, but facing that painful memory about the short-lived dog and the lonely child -- that's huge. I admire you for venturing there!

  16. Hope you slept well last night and feel happier and with more energy in you to really look forward to your dinner party!
    Incidentally, I am hosting a party tonight, too, but I am not cooking a meal, it will be mostly drinks and food that can be eaten without cutlery, for 12 of us.
    Your picture of the gold finches is good - it doesn't show their faces, but they are still very pretty birds.

  17. To quote Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking , " It is no disgrace in France .... rather the reverse ... to say that you have ordered your gâteau or tarte aux fraises or savarin aux fruits from from chez this or that celebrated pâtissier ."
    Or there's always chocolate mousse ? I seem to remember you had some hanging about ...

  18. Hello:
    We do not like to think of you passing the days without joy in abundance. However, sleepless nights, and discomfort if not pain, do take the edge off things.

    We are certain that you will have a wonderful evening with your friends. They will come to see you and your husband and the food, we believe, is incidental. When in Brighton, without Tímea, we entertain friends with food entirely bought in, usually from Waitrose, and it matters not at all.

  19. Sorry to hear about your knee pains and sleepless night, Friko. However, coping with the aches and pains of age being supported by loved ones and having a good company is one of the happiest things as you might know. Your writing has made me think about the English word “joy” and “satisfaction”. In my understanding, joy comes with elation and satisfaction comes from achievement, which looks like the same with your meaning. Right? I’ll think about and check the definition of the two of them. Wish you good night sleep and happy weekend.


  20. Smalll joys count, but it is frightening how fast they are pushed into the background by pain and sleeplessness. I hope tomorrow brings better things.

  21. i had a grim thursday and was trying to think of some moment of joy.

    Inevitably the cat coming and rubbing its face in mine came to mind :)

  22. Taking a day to rest and reflect is always a good thing. Enjoy your company!
    That pate' sounds divine!!

  23. Anticipation of a good time has a joy of its own.

  24. I haven't seen any goldfinches in months... And mine only eat nyger seed. What is it yours are eating? And I see youdon't subscribe to the practice in these parts of serving TWO puddings.

  25. You've had to work hard to find something approaching joy - but you did it in style.

    You're lucky to have goldfinches. We used to have a lot in the garden but not now though I did see one yesterday.

    Enjoy the company of your guests tomorrow:-)

  26. Poor thing! I hope you are pain-free during your dinner party. BTW, what's on the menu?

  27. perhaps not joy but certainly contentment.

  28. Except for the meal preparation, your day sounds like mine yesterday. I too saw two Goldfinches although yours are more colorful. I love them and their colors are so bright at this time of the year. Dianne

  29. The bird with the red mask is a goldfinch? I've never seen one like that. Ours look like canaries.

    I am impressed that you are brave enough to turn your secret places inside out and lay them out there. Truly! Put that chapter on your "done" list and have a piece of chocolate. I was reading just today about all of its health benefits.

    You inspire me. I plan to go out and buy chocolate in bulk immediately!

  30. Joy is often found in the most unlikely places and well done for finding the simplest things to bring you joy on a day when you are not feeling very pucker at all.

    ( her at home )

  31. Your goldfinch is so glorious! I like ours here, too, of course, but they haven't nearly the color. As for taking snaps of them (or any bird!): How can they hear this through the glass of the kitchen window? I ask myself this question often--and similar out of doors. I've been having little luck of late with my camera and the birds. But then (dumb me), it occurred to me to forget the camera, get my binoculars out, and sit and watch. So peaceful in comparison.

    Sorry about your knee--as we get older, so many things seem to conspire to make it difficult to sleep. May you have a fine night with your friends.

  32. This little bird has so many beautiful colours. Very fascinating.


  33. I hope someday to read your fascinating a woman are you to me now...
    Sorry to hear that you have such pain at night....and others are correct....the food is only a small part of why we dine with friends.....enjoy....

  34. Your post put me in mind of one of life's maxims passed on to me by a good friend many years ago.
    She said she always entertained once a month both to keep her house in order and to restore her spirits.
    I had quite forgotten that and need to revive it.
    Food really has nothing to do with it.

  35. Hello Friko

    What a delightful surprise to come upon your blog, through our very special friends, the Hattatts.

    I am your new follower and look forward to knowing your work and to your visit and comment

    Helen xx

  36. I empathize with the knee pain at weather change. I'm getting used to it, but I still don't like it much! I also dislike that zombie state after a mostly sleepless night.

    Having a kind husband is helpful, I agree! Mine is the same, and worth every pound!

    Writing about painful moments in childhood are so challenging. We never get enough distance between, but you are right about tackling the editing on a more positive day is better. Sleep deprivation is never conducive to emotional challenges, at least from my experience!

    I looked on a map for Ludlow, but couldn't find it. I'll google later on! Thanks for your comments about the rail passes. They have already arrived, and I'm excited about this adventure!

  37. I hope by now that your dinner-party has been successful. And yes, there is always joy in those moments of creativity where the sun peeps through the gloom. Take care.

  38. Good observations and suggestions from Retired English Teacher, Perpetua and others. I, too, admire your courage in reliving and writing about your childhood pain. Your capacity for plumbing and articulating the the range of emotions and experiences captures this reader. Thanks.

  39. Sometimes, I think contentment is a good substitute for joy. There are days when I really don't have the energy for joy, but a little contentment does just fine - a bird to look at, a breeze to feel.

    So sorry about the sleeplessness, though. That isn't an issue I've every dealt with. I suppose my life doing physical labor helps me along, so I'll just keep hoping for no physical ailments!

  40. Hi Friko - I like Shoreacres word "contentment" .. sounds like not a bad day - considering the night. Gorgeous birds .. and thank goodness hubby could and did take Benno out .. enjoy the dinner party ..

    Cheers Hilary

  41. I love that you are working on a memoir! I would buy it... you are a very good writer. (and I see you DID take your beautiful table cloth off) Beautiful dinnerware and accessories.


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