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The best things in life are free

Defining 'Best' depends on the day; the time; the weather; how much sleep I've had the night before; whether someone else has finished all the chocolate; how many puddles of puppy wee I've had to mop up; whether or not I have to work tomorrow;  and how cold the wine is ... among other things.

As the song goes, these are a few of my favourite things:

  • a cold, wet nose snuffling into your neck when NBFLF (see previous blog) is carried out to the garden at 5.45am to 'do his business'
  • and the way he curls himself into your arms for the journey back; his little whimpers trying to say, "The grass is cold, Mum. And wet! And my paws are damp and chilly."
  • waking up two hours later with a child folded into the space left next to you in bed. Asleep.
  • watching her stir.
  • listening to her sleepy whisper, "I love you, Mummy."
  • a hot shower.
  • proper coffee. Hot! (not the one that resembles an oil slick, thick and separating, and foul; abandoned on the top of a cupboard). Proper coffee from a cafetiere - especially when someone else makes it for you. And heats the milk. And washes up all the fiddly filter bits.
  • smiling. Everywhere people are smiling. It's catching; infectious - it lifts us all. It's watching Tom Daley and his team mates leap elated into the pool; seeing sportsmen win - even when they actually don't. Celebrating life. It's good - all good. Unless you're Chinese. And fail to take home Gold. The shame they feel is hard for us, comfortable,  here in the West, to comprehend, but is so heartfelt as to be almost palpable. For them the 'best thing' is being best; being second in the world simply isn't good enough.I am so grateful to live in a society where the underdog can be celebrated, and is celebrated.
  • a lettuce sandwich - strictly not free, but I didn't pay anyone to assemble it. Slices of home-made bread, a light spreading of slightly salted butter, a little mayonaise and several layers of crisp lettuce.I guess that's a BLT without the bacon and tomato! Delicious!
  • ice-cream - okay, not free either, but I'll get back to free ones in a mo'. None of your synthetic, cheap, shaving-foam stuff, but a really good Italian gelato - preferably dark chocolate and lemon. Oooh! ... and coconut ... and caramel ... and coffee ... and peach ... Mmmmmmmmm!
  • someone saying thank you, particularly when it is unexpected
  • someone liking what you have written
  • chocolate - not free! Wish it was!
  • fitting into some old, once-favourite trousers that you thought you were too fat for
  • the new bloom, open on a flower that you planted
  • picking your own fruit and making crumble
  • wine - chilled! Not free - see chocolate: same wish!
  • the new recipe (the one that you didn't really follow - just read the ingredients; thought "that sounds good"; and made the rest up as you went along).The one that worked! (the one that you probably can't remember exactly how you did it!)
  • making plans with Littlest - new tubs to plant, flowers to choose
  • hugs ... lots and lots of hugs
  • friends: four-legged and two-legged ones.Friends who share their time with you. Friends who phone when times are tough. Friends who care. Friends who laugh. Freinds who love. Friends who get your jokes. Who forgive when you are late.
  • music - not all music (can't listen for more than a few nanoseconds to most of the current female singers - with the exception of Adele). But the sort of music that makes your heart sing - Eine Aplensinfonie, Zadok the Priest, Jerusalem, any of Les Mis, Coldplay's Fix You, my son's music, Caliban's Dream (look it up and listen if you haven't heard it yet - mesmerising!), Annie Lennox singing Into the West from Return of the King; Greatest Day by Take That; Angels by Robbie Williams; Sailing by Rod Stewart; and There You'll Be from Pearl Harbor; and ... and .... and ... so much more - half of which I can neither name, nor identify the musician, composer, orchestra or singer, but know within a few notes that it is one of those many, many pieces of music that I love. Music that lifts the soul, turns a bad day good and makes me smile.
  • a large glass of wine - oops! Think I may have mentioned that already.
  • polyfilla-ing the hole in the bathroom wall (pat self on the back! - not because it was particularly difficult, but because I managed to find both polyfilla and flat tool-thing with which to apply it and fine sandpaper for the dusty, rubbing down bit - all on my own); then painting over it ... in the wrong colour of blue. Which was not obvious until the morning. Best bit of this was the subsequent not-panicking-part and the not-having-to-face-excruciating-embarrassment-part- the sort of embarrassment created by that slow rolling of the eye upwards, that raising of the brow and tutting sound, underlined by that sighing smile which says "It's no less than I expected ...  but honestleeeeee!" Not having to face these, because I have three days to put it right. And whoopdeedoop, I have - Yeah! All on my own! The best things in life are not only free, but are also the things (i.e. mishaps!) you sort out for yourself. By yourself.
  • and the best of the best things - the best thing that eclipses all of the above ... 

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