Why Would-be Optimist? It’s so easy to slip into being a grouch. As we get older life becomes more of a challenge. The greater challenge is to stop moaning about it and look at the causes from a different angle. Ok. I know that sounds too much like ‘Pollyanna’. How those stories irritated me when I was a girl! I suppose young people today would express their reactions as,’It winds me up’ or ‘It gets on my wick’. Well, not wanting to have,intentionally,that affect I’m attempting to turn pessimism on its head – for my own sake not particularly anyone elses. So,here goes. Some people are terribly nice to me to the extent that one can feel slightly patronised. How grouchy is that?! So from now on I’m going to be grateful for their caring attitude and that there is a section of the community prepared to be TNTM (if you don’t get those initials you’re not on my wavelength!)
I haven’t written anything for a while during a winter of some illness and pain and,although feeling better,I suppose I am a bit moaney – but please bear with me! I’ve spent a lot of time reading, doing cross-words and watching TV and I must ask this question regarding TV cookery programmes, of which I’ve seen more than enough during these past few weeks. When a TV chef proudly presents the finished dish to the long-suffering celebrity guest has anyone ever seen the guest taste it and say, “What rubbish!”, or words to that effect?
I can’t help wondering what would be the reaction of the chef, many of them being a bit ‘precious’. I feel most would find it hard to keep smiling. Just thought I’d ask!
Around this time of year an old habit rears its – rather comforting – head !
In the late afternoon, just as the light fades above the trees and it seems too early to close the curtains, I go through a little routine. I put on the lamps and my Bose player – which is what I have just done. Today, I selected from my collection Rod Stewart’s “Great American Songbook, Volume V” with Rod singing effortlessly, not rock, but the great standards of my youth. Sometimes I try to sing along which is not good – but without fail the irresistible tempo swings me into dancing inside my head! Listening just now, the beat slowed after a few tracks and Rod went into crooning, huskily, “My Foolish Heart”. It’s a chilly November evening, but this song takes me back to August, 1948 and its twilight open-air dancing on a Blackpool pier. The band strikes up “My Foolish Heart” and I dance a slow fox-trot in complete unison with a brand-new boy friend who three years later became my husband!
Okay! I’m over it now. Just going to take my hot-pot out of t’ oven!
It’s been hard to be cheerful just lately, but things could be worse,
My thoughts are profound, and I’ve just realised
I am starting to write this in verse!
Quite accidentally – involuntarily, in fact – but I’m going to just carry on
While the mood overtakes me and the rhythm placates me
My optimism is back with aplomb!
The house is warm and the roof doesn’t leak,
My family take notice, sometimes, when I speak!
Friends like to see me, are pleased when I call
If we all get together we have our kind of “ball”.
Things could be worse – I’m sorry I spoke
Just one thing is missing – my cuddly old bloke!
I’m on a confessional roll, treat-wise. Having ‘fessed-up about Tunnock’s, and as a result of a couple of dreary, chilly days this week, my thoughts turned to a winter soother.
Last autumn I couldn’t get into town to buy my essential winter support – Manuka honey – so I bought Rowse Clover honey from the local supermarket. It’s a smaller jar than most and costs a bit more. It is worth it! And you can tell I’m easily pleased when I say that, excitingly, the Rowse Clover dissolves in cold milk!
Now, if you haven’t got a better offer, take this concoction to bed.
Stir a spoonful of honey into hot or cold milk, add a slug of whisky and slurp. Lick the spoon, then have another slurp. Hhmm!You are a child in an adult world! After this opening ceremony, sip or slurp the rest. Sweet dreams!
This summer’s spell of good weather brought with it a natural optimism but some events have brought shadows that had nothing to do with clouds in the sky.
How to keep cheerful? Make a cup of tea and eat a Tunnock’s chocolate tea-cake! To increase the enjoyment of these tiny treats the box must be kept in the fridge so that the chocolate covering is kept cool and hard. Then, when bitten into the choccie cracks satisfyingly before teeth sink through the soft marshmallow and finally the crispy biscuit base. Hmm! Heaven in a small package and not too many calories. So much so that — yes — it could stretch to having another!
Yes, it doesn’t take much to bring on a smile. Well, not many women can resist an unexpected compliment and that includes me. I had a long telephone conversation with a young male operator at Virgin Media who was finding a suitable package for me. He was a pleasant young man but sounded puzzled when I gave my date of birth. He asked me to repeat it and, clearly, was surprised. He murmured that my voice didn’t match the date and I giggled a bit and told him I wasn’t senile. He remained professional but extremely helpful to me and came up with a good deal, ensuring I understood everything. Two minutes after the call ended I got a text from Virgin Media saying, “Stay lovely Florence!” That is what brought a smile to my face on a miserable morning in June when it should have been warm and sunny. I couldn’t help wondering, cynically, if it really came from my helpful young operator or do Virgin Media have an electronic standard sign -off for anyone who has just entered into a contract. Well — whatever! I no longer cared about the weather!
Chatting to my daugher’s friend,Tracey,I remarked,that when I thought I was being amusing, my daughters sometimes took me seriously and at other times when I didn’t intend to be funny — my daughters would be very amused.
Tracey’s immediate reflection was that it was a blessing that,one way or another, I could give my daughters a smile. How nice is that?! Thank you Tracey for giving me a different way of looking at it. I had made a decision some time ago to try to practice this philosophy. Must make a bigger effort to get back on track!