I Couldn’t Have Been Happier

Happiness comes fairly easily to me I must admit. It is not a constant, because there are things that make me sad and painful, even traumatic memories. But it’s not hard to muster up happiness, and it is my default frame of mind. I have just been working on a post for one of these blogging award nominations, and one of the questions was about what makes me happy. I compiled a little list:

  • made up.jpgMy family
  • Lovely friends
  • A sense of purpose
  • Work that feels as if I am making a difference to someone’s life
  • A clean conscience
  • Great food
  • Hiking and swimming
  • Music
  • Starry skies, rainbows and stunning sunsets
  • Flowers, forests, lakes, rivers
  • Mountains, beaches and meadows
  • Animals or all sizes and shapes
  • and last on this list, but most certainly not least is Goldfinch – who made me happy every day I was in Australia

And I would like to state that when I was with Goldfinch I felt happy from head to toe. Goldfinch had to work of course while I was out there. Five days a week was work. But at the weekend he could take me to wonderful places. He has an office at home. I made sure I didn’t disturb him unnecessarily, as he had a lot to keep him busy.

my daily walk.pngI sometimes went out on my own, not just to see places (I did visit some lovely places) but also just to wander up to the local shops, which were about a forty-five minute walk away, and I would shop for ingredients and then walk back to Goldfinch’s home and start cooking or baking according to a recipe I had picked out from the BBC Food Website. I loved that little routine, I loved the walk. I loved the sense of purpose I had that I was going to make something, hopefully delicious, for Goldfinch to enjoy after he had been working all day.

happy clean.jpgI could not have been happier cleaning, sweeping, mopping, washing and ironing. I even rearranged the contents of some cupboards, cleaned out the tenant’s fridge (and the tenants bathroom), swept the patio and the leaves that had collected in little corners of the yard outside, washed all of the windows – inside and out (there are a lot of windows in his home, and after several days of trying to get the petrol lawn mower going, I went a bit crazy with trying to prime the motor and eventually got the thing started, which meant I could mow the grass front, side and back of the property.

DIY.jpgIn addition Goldfinch and I spent a weekend immersed in DIY – we put up a whole wall of IKEA kallaxes (if you unfamiliar with kallaxes, they are shelving units that you can arrange to fit the space you want and you can add drawers or cupbaord doors into individual squares or leave them open as you like), and we moved furniture from where it was in storage into his house, we insulated the garage door, we hung up lots of his pictures. I loved working along with him.

And this is the thing…I was so happy. Goldfinch may have been surprised at how I chose to spend my time while he was working. He kept on telling me how much he appreciated what I was doing along with lovely hugs and kisses. But I found the more I did around the house, the happier I felt. I was giving. I was working with a purpose. I was showing love in a practical way to the man I am in love with. I was so happy, so deeply happy.

take my handAnd whenever he took my hand, which he frequently did and being in his arms at night, wrapped up tightly, feeling his kisses on the back of my shoulder…I didn’t want it to ever end. And I am missing him like crazy! Missing thinking and planning and giving and loving every day with him as my priority. Saving my money so I can be back with him again and feel that happiness invade every part of my body.

I don’t think everyone will understand, I don’t think Goldfinch would really understand – but life with him made me deeply happy.

_______________

Writing Prompt #30

Do Not Let Anyone Rob You Of Your Smile

I was thinking of re-publishing this post for a while. One of the things I am missing most at the moment is smiles. I am very glad that so many people are wearing facemasks, but I truly look forward to the day when we can enjoy each other’s smiles again!

 
People of various ages and races smile broadly

 

I have had to endure a bit of a heart-breaking situation at work that dragged on and on for months.  In other posts, I have mentioned I was going for interviews and that I start a new job, just a few minutes walk away from where I live, on Monday.  But this has all come due to an unresolved situation that drained the life out of me.

Now I promised myself a long time ago I would never allow myself to get into the habit of coming home from work and ranting in my WordPress posts.  The closest I ever allowed myself to start ranting about work was in this post:

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Petits Biscuits Français

I am not the type to rant.  I am at the other extreme of the spectrum (which is not particularly great either) where I bottle things up until one day…I am gone.  Nobody knows where.  I had my last twelve hour shift on Thursday without anyone knowing they would not see me again.  (Head Office and my manager knew but they very kindly kept it discreet for me.)

I don’t like goodbyes anyway…but also in this case I was leaving because of the lamentable behaviour of other staff over the past four or five months.  So the last thing I wanted was to have mushy goodbyes with people I have dreaded seeing each day.

Well, that is enough of what has been getting me down.  Now here is how I managed to keep myself going for months although my heart was breaking. It’s a song that mumma and dadda have both sung to me as a lullaby throughout my childhood whenever I was in uncontrollable tears.  It has always calmed me down and eased my sadness:

I was sorting and tidying up at work all sorts of materials we have used in various health campaigns and for signposting patients to other NHS service providers, and I came across a journal specifically designed for teenagers all about depression.  I remember receiving a package hand-delivered with these beautiful articles we could use for free with our patients.  As I flicked through it there was a small article all about SMILING…which as I read through it made me smile down to my toes.

 

When someone gives you a beaming smile, how do you respond? Most likely you smile back. And you probably feel happier too. Yes, genuine smiles—whether from friends or total strangers—are infectious, and they evoke good feelings. 

smiler 1

A sincere smile indicates positive emotions, such as amusement, happiness, and pleasure. Indeed, “smiling . . . seems built into our nature,” noted an article in Observer, an online journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Even newborns, the article said, are able to “interpret facial expressions with great precision.” The article also stated: “Not only do people deduce useful information from smiles, they also use this knowledge to direct their own behaviour.”

Researchers at Harvard University in the United States studied a group of elderly patients and their responses to the facial expressions of health-care providers. When the caregivers’ facial expressions “were perceived as more warm, caring, concerned, and empathetic,” said the researchers, the patients felt more satisfied and their physical and mental well-being improved. The opposite was the case when the caregivers’ nonverbal communications distanced them from patients.

smilerWhen you smile you may also be doing yourself a favour. The benefits, studies suggest, include increased confidence and happiness and reduced feelings of stress. Frowning, by comparison, may have the opposite effect.

Perhaps you feel that life’s anxieties give you little cause for smiling. Remember, though, that feelings are usually preceded by thoughts.  So, hard though it may be, why not try to dwell on positive, pleasant things whenever possible? Who knows? You too may find yourself smiling more often.

Do not wait for others to smile at you. Take the initiative; add a little happiness to someone else’s day. 

_____________________

 

I have been doing exactly this and I know it has helped.  My sunny smile has been given out to patients and my workmates and I know that it has helped me feel better. In most cases the reaction you receive to a smile is wonderfully warm. Several patients have remarked to me that I am always smiling, which is exactly what I want said abouut me.

I may not always have been happy with what was going on at work…but I have been determined not to let it rob me of my smile.  Still smiling…from ear to ear.

 

smiles

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/lullaby/

 

https://meetthebloggersblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/lullaby/

Memories…Letting The Happy Ones Dominate

Two years ago…I originally published this post, and I posted it last year for a second time.

One year ago…I published this post. I was very pleased with it. So here it is again.

(By the way, I did make it back there at the start of June, I needed to)

happymemories

I am about to go on holiday for two weeks.  I will be visiting various family members and friends.  I hope to take lots of photos and share them in posts.  Two weeks of pleasure seeking and seeing loved ones – cannot wait!

But before I go, I want to get something out of my system.  It has been looming over me…so I am going to tackle it aggressively!  Well…I mean face it head on without shutting it out of my mind.

The park I went to that night.  It is a beautiful place.  One of my favourite locations in London.  I had been there hundreds of times in the five years I had lived in London.  I want that park to be beautiful in my mind…not a place I associate with a traumatic event.  Since that night, I have been back three times.

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This is where it happened.  There is nothing outstanding about this spot.  But I do remember sitting on one of the benches that night.  This is a photograph taken from the bench I sat on that night.

When I first arrived at around 10.30pm, it was still fairly light.  There were people walking their dogs, there were joggers, there were teenagers sitting on the grass listening to music and chatting.  There were people sitting on other benches nearby.

Lackford Lakes June 2010

As I sat there, I became engrossed with my own thoughts.  I remember tears rolling down my face because I did not know what to do about my ex-flatmate who seemed to be sucking all of the life and joy out of me.  I did not notice that all of the sunlight had vanished and I was sitting in the dark.  I did not notice that there were no more dog-walkers, no more joggers and no more teenagers listening to music.

I remember a man sitting next to me.  I remember a lot of other things which I am choosing not to write about because I don’t see why those details would be remotely helpful to anyone else.  What he did does not pain me anymore.  It is the situation with my ex-flatmate that pains me still.

20180628_145858

The first time I visited this location after that night, I remembered something else.  The trees in this part of the park – they are brilliantly easy trees to climb.  I had been at this precise location a few weeks earlier with a friend and her sons.  We had been teaching the boys how to climb trees.  So much fun.

It was ever so helpful to remember that.  Such a beautiful park, I want the happy memories to be the ones that dominate.

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When I first moved to London I bumped into a friend from Wiltshire who just happened to be visiting one of my neighbours.  She wanted to go out for a coffee and a chat.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  I still did not know the area very well.  But my neighbour took us to this park.  There is a house, part of which is now a café.  We sat outside in the sunshine, before having a wander around the park.  I fell in love with the park that afternoon.  I would frequently visit over the next five years.

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It is very helpful to remember that.  This beautiful park, full of happy memories I have shared with friends.  I have taken many friends who were visiting me to the park and we have had long walks followed by coffee and cake in the café.  I want those to be the memories that dominate.

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These are the ponds where people can swim.  I had always wanted to go for a swim in these wild ponds, but I was a bit nervous of going alone.  A few days before I was attacked, a group of us came down to this park to do our keep fit class.  One of the regulars was moving abroad to get married and he wanted to have a special class as it was his last week with us.  Everyone used to call the class “fat-camp”.  I was too vain to call it that, so I called it “boot-camp”.  It was lots of running and exercises designed to train the parts of our body we did not even know were there.  Anyone was made welcome, but if you loved pushing yourself you would exult in the class.  We normally met once a week near to where we worked so we could go straight from work.

However, a few days before I was the victim of a crime, we drove up to this park and started running.  We ran together down to the ponds and then went for a swim. Afterwards we ran back up to a grassy area near to where the cars where and followed the instructions of the guy who took the class – stomach crunches, leap-frogging, press-ups etc.  Then we nipped into the pub for a beer before heading home.

© www.wildswimming.co.uk

I remember loving every moment of that night.  It was perfect.  Perfect in every way.  The delightful summery evening, the friends I was with, the exhilaration of running and swimming at a beautiful location, ending the evening with a laugh and a few tears as we said goodbye to our lovely friend before he moved.

It is very helpful to remember that.  This beautiful park, the location for some of my happiest hours doing what I loved with people that I loved.  I want all of those memories to dominate.

So there it is…this has really helped to get this out of my system.  This is the park where it happened.  A tiny blip in an otherwise wonderful treasure chest of happy memories of one of my favourite places in London.

happy memories

 

A Perfect First Day

flat2.pngJack’s apartment is on the fourth floor (huge penthouse flat he shares with four other flatmates) and it has a lot of floor to ceiling windows. So we can see out onto the roads below. There were a lot of people jogging and walking today. A lot more than usual. I guess they are those who wanted to make a healthy start to the year. Perhaps they have made resolutions.

How did I start the day? We spent most of the morning in bed. I would not change that for the world. Why on earth would I want to leave Jack’s side to go out into the freezing air and go jogging around grey London streets? I don’t think so!!!

lunchI saw a couple of Jack’s flatmates when we did get up. I have not met them before. They both moved in around a year ago. Jack introduced saying, “this special lady is Melody” – which made me blush. We made ourselves a cooked breakfast, nothing to write home about (or to write a blog post about 🙂 ). Jack had a tin of baked beans, an onion, some eggs and some bread. So we cooked and ate that in the enormous kitchen dining room at the centre of the flat.

Then we headed back to Jack’s living room. He and I watched one of the most perfect films ever produced “The Sound Of Music”. I cannot tell you how happy I was. My favourite film with my favourite person. Tears were trickling over from my eyelids as the opening bars of Julie Andrew’s stunning opening number began.

cosyJack and I in bed all morning, eating a cooked breakfast and on the sofa all afternoon. Then I had to say goodbye and come back here because I am working tomorrow. But when I reached home, I discovered that there is a special edition of Masterchef: The Professionals, which I am watching while I am typing this post up. It’s so good. The chefs are just phenomenal.

I am going to have a glass of wine and then I am going to head to bed. I am happy. I have had a wonderful (if slightly lazy) day and to me it was a delightful way to start the year. I couldn’t ask for more.

Hopping Popping Positivity

Coming home from town and slinking through the huge gates that hide my sweet little abode. Making myself a huge cup of tea and turning on my lap-top to check WordPress while I was drinking it. Finding a little message from Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, who said she has nominated/tagged me for a challenge that looked great fun:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2019/09/20/pop-ticklish-thurs/

As far as I understand, this challenge originates with Beckie, the creator of Beckie’s Mental Mess. I believe Beckie’s POP challenge, is to challenge to us all to bounce a bit of positivity around! We will be asked to share something positive and joyful on a selected theme. Read Beckie’s original post to find out more about how the POP Challenge will work:

https://beckiesmentalmess.blog/2019/09/19/pop-of-positivity-aka-pop-debut-and-test-run-time-to-be-happy/

Rules

  1. Each Thursday, I’ll pick a Theme (Naturally something positive).
  2. I will, therefore, Tag Two Bloggers to continue the themed positive message along.
  3. You, the recipient of the tag can select anyway fit on how you want to share this positivity.  (Example: Quote, Affirmation, Music Video, Memes, Pictures, etc… As long it sticks to the Theme).
  4. Please create a ping-back to the original post (Beckie’s), as well as notifying your tagged bloggers that you have selected them.

    THIS THURSDAY’S THEME: TIME TO BE HAPPY

    Well…anything positive has to be a good thing, so I am keen to think of a little something to offer up. I am not sure quite where to begin…so you are probably going to end up with a Caramel flavoured PICK-AND-MIX:

    • I am pleasingly happy because I have been working with some really cool people recently – and I love it! Nothing like workmates who you think are awesome.
    • happy tvI am cheerfully happy because, The Great British Bake-Off and Masterchef (apparently it’s Celebrity Masterchef, but I am rather foggy about who any of them are) are on television, which is great because normally there is nothing worth watching on the enormous monstrosity of a television which is in this little nest.
    • I am super-dupa happy because the man who has been behind my worries for the last few years has waltzed back into my life in fantastic style – and he is just as mesmerizing as he ever was!
    • waiting on a benchI am giddy happy that I am about to finish the last parts of the first long fictional project I have ever attempted. I am delighted with the way Annabelle Riley’s story has turned out. I have loved working on her story!
    • I am deeply happy because I have a wonderful family, fantastic friends and great colleagues. And I cannot wait to share with them that my ex-flatmate is being awesome at the moment!
    • I have been ecstatically happy all week because we have been enjoying gorgeous September sun and…this morning I heard September song which has been running round my head all day. I don’t know if it is a happy song or not, but I loved it!

    …so I thought I would share with you:

    And …I am going to tag two incredibly positive bloggers  to take up the POP challenge:

 

The Great Phone Dilemma

my phone.jpgMost of my friends know that I am pretty hopeless when it comes to mobile phones. I wasn’t always quite so dysfunctional as I am now. I completely ignore my mobile phone when I am at home, I have a landline. My new mobile does not receive signal in this house. A guy recently told me that the reason nobody can get mobile signal in this house is because of the underfloor heating. Who knows if he is right? We had just presumed that it is because the walls are so solid.

For years my mobile phone was always someone else’s cast off. People would give me a phone and I would pay to top up the credit Eventually someone introduced me to a smart phone. Along with the smartphone came Instagram, Whatsapp and other phone apps (I cannot remember what they were all called) which gave me the chance to send and receive communications with photos and videos as well as text.

its odd.jpgI was baffled by the hundreds of photos that arrived on a daily basis – what people were having for breakfast, lunch, dinner, their pets, their new this, their new that, their dream this and their dream that, holiday spam, nights out on the town, days out at the fair, even pregnancy scans – it was all becoming a bit nuts! What was weird was the scale – the sheer quantity of posts and that the interconnections were so vast and sprawling.

You may be aware, if you have read my STORM IN A TEA-CUP series that I had a very bad experience which was magnified by the use of these – what do they call them? – social media apps? Rumours and gossip, slander spread like wildfire. The subjects of which were Jack and me. Anyway…I have not had a smart phone for the past four years.

smart phone.jpgWhen I was in Australia I promised Goldfinch I will get myself one as it will make it easier to keep in touch with him, Only…I haven’t yet. I am so reluctant. I want to be able to communicate more easily with Goldfinch, but I dread the thought of having the burden of a smart phone again. What a dilemma! Only I love him you see. Have I mentioned that before? And love makes you do things you don’t really want to do.

I have a little basic phone – which is really lousy I have to admit. It won’t allow me to send text messages to Australia. I often forget to take it out with me. My friends get cross because they are ringing and texting my mobile and it is on my bedside table or in a coat pocket in my closet.

I find it very hard to use. The key pad is strange and it takes forever to type a message. So I have been sending less and less text messages. Nowadays I use my landline a lot and I use e–mails a lot. And the mobile phone is forgotten, neglected and abandoned.

weird callsHowever…today, I had to show a builder around my flat. And I noticed my debit card and my little mobile were on the coffee table, so I picked them up and put them in my pocket. And it was because the phone was in my pocket that I felt it buzzing (I keep it on silent all the time) and pulled it out of my pocket.

Can you imagine my delight when I saw it was Goldfinch???!!! I was happy right down to my toes all afternoon because I heard his gorgeous voice. And I went to bed feeling so glad to be in love.

If you are in love. If you are married or in a relationship – then please do something for me. Ring your spouse or partner. It doesn’t matter if you only spoke this morning, or if they are in the next room. Just ring them and tell them that you were thinking of them and that you just called to say that you loved them.

Because something like that is priceless. it’s enough to make your loved one forget all sorts of sad things and to to feel happiness right down to their toes all day long!

I Am All For Happily Ever Afters

I guess we have all at one stage been quite taken by a Cinderella story. I know it has perhaps been told five billion times too often. However not even the most hard-hearted can deny that it is the very essence of a happy ending.

I really liked the film “Ever After” which was a Cinderella story, because there was no magic pumpkin or fairy god-mother. It was just about two people from of course the opposite end of the social rift falling for each other. Plus Anjelica Huston has some memorable lines.

Here is the happy ending for Drew Barrymore’s character:

But I am not really here to big up the movie. No, I am here to big up happy endings. Especially happily ever after endings. I am all for them! Of course I would love that with Goldfinch, but I have accepted that my happily ever after is not going to be with him.

Yes, it is sad…especially so for me. After all, this man has given me the biggest smile in London! But, even if I turned out to be a princess with a palace and a collection of sports cars, and any other luxury Goldfinch may ever have imagined – it still would not change things. He is not even keen on royalty, so if I did tell him I was a princess he might want to have me guillotined!

He is gorgeous. He treats me like a princess. But he is going. He wants to be in Australia for a while. He wants to be back with the familiar. He has his own house there, which is full of tenants who pay him a monthly rent at the moment. He has a lot to sort out. He is unsure of whether he will move into his house. He seems unsure and undecided. There is this gypsy streak in him that makes me think he does not really know what he wants.

woman cryingLots of lovely bloggers have tried to keep me optimistic. I really appreciate that. But he is going. And there is a strong possibility I will never see him again. Yes, it is a big deal to me. But I have come to terms with it and I am alright. I am going to be sad. But I will be alright. Crying is a miraculous gift that helps us to deal with pain and grief and I feel I will be perfectly entitled to my fair share of crying after he has gone. But…I will be alright!

I will explain all the reasons why I know he is not my happily ever after at a later date – to be honest I don’t want to dwell on those reasons right now. I just want to continue to squeeze all the joy out of this wonderful page in my life. He is coming to London in less than 48 hours!

I love him so much and that is all that matters! Let’s not worry about happily aver afters. I am all for them – but Goldfinch needs his freedom more than he needs me. That doesn’t make him a baddie. He is a wonderful wonderful man…but he needs to be home. He is not going to make any decisions that will alter the course of his life, while he is 10,100 miles away from everything that shaped him.

I am all for happily ever afters, but for me and Goldfinch…the most I can hope for is a simple happy ending. That ending will be goodbye. This year with Goldfinch will have a happy ending. A year of happiness ending with a goodbye. A friend for life, my favourite penpal in the whole world! (although I am sure I will be the more devoted penpal).

The future has not happened yet…I am not overly worried whether I ever do have a happily ever after myself. I already have a life so rich with memories and experiences that have shaped me…I could be happy until my last breath quite easily. But the future has not happened yet and there is no reason why I should think about breathing my last breath yet!

Lots more happiness is ahead without doubt.

 

 

My Happy Place

I set my alarm for a very early hour this morning to give me time to take my painkillers and be ready to face the day. I went back to bed after taking them with a cup of tea, and tried to remember the happiness that filled me when I slipped under the covers last night.

Friday…is my loooooooooooong day. A minimum of fifteen of hours of work. Normally I can recover on Saturday with an easy-ish morning. However this weekend I am working all day Saturday too and I am working extra hours on Monday also. I can’t wait to be in bed tonight and return to the same happiness. By the time this post is published, I will be on my way to the last location I will be working at today. It will be another three or four hours before I am able to return to my bed.

Last night I lay in bed thinking of Goldfinch.

Happiest of thoughts! Happiest of memories!