Joanne Fox, or the lovely Harvey, to be precise, has kindly sent me the Sunshine Award, so many thanks to them both and here are the six things that make me happy:
1) Rain. I love teeming rain and strong wind. I enjoy a good storm whipping the world up beyond my window. I realise I'm enjoying this perilous weather from the comfort of my own home. However, I don't mind being caught up in it for the joy of coming in to dry off and warm up. I like the smell of damp clothes steaming and the hot cup of tea that restores me. My mother always worries about damp. She is a fanatic about keeping it at bay. It's a foe that waits around corners with its foot out to trip her up. She wouldn't let me lie on our lawn - in 1976 of all summers - in case the grass was damp and I developed rheumatism.
2) The three very different smiles of my three daughters. One smile reveals an entire soul. Another is open to a thousand interpretations. The third is often shy, but can erupt like a volcano of infectious sparkling joy.
3) William Trevor's short stories. If I were marooned on a desert island, I would take this collection with me and be perfectly content for some considerable time. He breaks some of the rules about writing, but it simply doesn't matter.
4) Our cats. I love their aloof and indignant nature, the way they rule our home and get away with it. I enjoy their fur brushing against my legs and the way the chubby one settles in my lap and forces me to stroke his cheeks and the back of his neck, keeping me in the chair for ages even when I was just about to get up. They remind me of how important it is to stop and stare, especially when I watch them gazing out of the window.
5) On a topical note, I love researching the sixties for my novel. It brings back so many happy memories of my childhood. I must be careful not to overload the writing with too much detail. It's hard to resist throwing in a chain-belt here and a pale lipstick there. However, I'm sure these fashions have made a comeback. I seem to wear lots of sixties-inspired things. Or have I left that wardrobe clear-out a tad too long?
6) It has to be writing! I love it with a passion that I don't need to explain to all you lovely writers who know exactly how much happiness it brings us all. Especially those moments when the pieces of a story tumble into place and you want to shout it from the rooftops.
If I could add a seventh, it would have to be Walnut Whips, but only the plain chocolate kind. Very hard to track down.
Thank you Joanne and Harvey. I feel very happy just thinking about these things.