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Sunday, 9 October 2011

10 Things I Love

A while back I was tagged by the marvellous Betty Herbert, (@52Betty on Twitter) author of the equally marvellous blog, and now book, "The 52 Seductions", to share 10 things I love. So here they are...
Beaches (Not The Movie)
I grew up in a seaside village and I can't imagine not living within striking distance of the sea. I think I would get horribly claustrophobic. I love every kind of beach, sandy, rocky, grassy. I'm even rather fond of seaweed. I like to pop the mermaid's purses. My favourite beach is Saddell beach on the Kintyre Peninsula in Argyll. You can stay in little cottages right on the beach and, one day, I will.

My musical education began with propping a Thorn tape recorder next to the radio to tape the Top 40. Probably my first criminal act. To be honest, my musical tastes have never developed much past that. I might listen to classical music, but if it's pop I want to dance and if I want to dance, it's disco. Do I even mean disco? Sometimes I might mean Carolina Beach Music, or funk or soul. Anyway, I don't mean boys in skinny jeans and low cut t-shirts exposing their wee concave chests. Bless. I mean something like this...

When I was younger I had lots of hobbies. I used to do canoeing and gymnastics and play the violin. But the only one that's really lasted has been watching telly. Want to sit on your own and cry into your Chablis? Watch the telly! Want to get really irate and shout at the Prime Minister? Watch the telly! Want to see Michael Portillo in a green satin shirt? Watch the telly! This wondrous sliver of shimmering dreams. This electronic encyclopedia of emotion. This shining citadel of learning, flickering in the corner of our lives. I love it.

Bread and Butter
If I had to describe how happiness felt it would be the sensation of my teeth sinking into half an inch of butter on a thick doorstep of white freshly baked bread. I have a strange fantasy about sleeping in a bed made of bread. Can you imagine, cushioned on that pillowy softness, encased in the aroma of buttery crust. Oooh, I feel a bit peckish now...

Ladybird Children's Books
"Her shoes were so wet that the water was running in at the toes and out at the heels." If I close my eyes and conjure up the princess in "The Princess and the Pea", the picture in my mind's eye is never my own. It is the illustration from the Ladybird book of the fairy tale published in the late 1960's. They are the technicolour MGM musicals of children's illustrations: princesses in wasp waisted primrose yellow dresses, millers' sons in open necked shirts and tight breeches. I still have them and when I take them out and look at them I can almost taste the Creamola Foam.

Cushions and Shoes
I am calling this one thing under a notional heading of accessories. I love their infinite variety. If humans were not as wonderful as they are, someone would have invented the cushion and left it there; a bit of burlap sacking with some horsehair, Bob's your uncle. They'd have got as far as the hobnail boot and then gone to the pub. But they didn't. They took these mundane objects and looked beyond their function, they made them pretty and luxurious and funny and fetishistic and they don't half cheer me up some days.

I don't wake up every day and actively think "I LOVE DEMOCRACY!" but it's probably unlikely I'd be faffing around here thinking about shoes and cushions if it didn't exist. In my previous job I met elected members from Parliaments around the world, like the representatives from Oyo State in Nigeria, who had been besieged by gunmen in the Parliament shortly before their visit. They asked how politicians and officials were "made" to do things. Were they prosecuted? Were they put in jail? Well, we would say, it doesn't always work, but for the most part people just sort of, um, follow the rules. Boring, but also kind of magical really and certainly precious.

My Daughter
(and Everyone Else Who Knows Me, Or At Least The Ones I Like)
It's hard to say something here that won't make the non-parents throw up and the parents go "WE KNOW!", but I couldn't write this without including my daughter because she is the joy of my life and I adore her. Like millions before me it was a bit shocking to realise how much I loved my daughter, how fierce it is.

I love my friends and other family too and I don't have to wash their clothes for them, which is nice.

Large People Falling Over At Weddings

I don't mind a bit of witty banter but I'm really a slapstick merchant at heart. There's not much makes me laugh more than a sturdy middle aged man in tartan trews crashing full pelt into a trestle table. Unless it's a tented bridesmaid falling off a chair.

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