Friday, 9 October 2009

Ten pleasures that don't cost very much

  1. The chance to be creative: Now that spending is out, I have to be a bit creative about how I get my jollies. That in itself is a pleasure, as sometimes it feels as if the things I make are beautiful, but rather useless.
  2. Books I didn't know I had: I go through the bookshelves and discover a pile books that I haven't yet read. Now I have the time to read them all if I like. I feel as if someone has just handed me 20 free books.
  3. Stretching: Body in Balance is a free-to-view channel which broadcasts exercise routines: including a variety of yoga styles.
  4. Cheap video games: There's a branch of CEX in town: it's a shop that will take back your old games, and give you credit which you can put towards new (or secondhand) ones.
  5. A mint plant next to the front door: Every time I brush past it, I smell it.
  6. Fleece blanket: I'm so glad we bought a fleece throw last winter. It was only £15, and I bought it to go on the bed. As winter comes on, I spend most of my writing day wrapped up in it.
  7. Languid beauty: I was amazed by all the beauty products I had stashed away. I guess that when I had an income, I didn't have the time to enjoy them. Now my morning routine (more like a mid-morning routine) is about twice as long and feels very luxurious.
  8. Finishing food: I've got time to use up the leftovers, so there is much less waste in our household now. I also have the headspace to come up with ideas, and the energy to carry them through. Last week we got four beetroots in our veggie box. I can just about manage one beetroot in salad (I like them raw and grated into long, earthy-tasting magenta strips). But the rest? Then I remembered chocolate beetroot cake, and the rest is history. A rich, reddish chocolatey history.
  9. Charity shops: To get the best out of charity shops, you need to have time for a regular run. Which I do. If I have clothes that I don't wear, I try to imagine what would make me wear them: they often just need a top or jumper to take them into Autumn. I carry in my head those missing-piece outfits whenever I go to the charity shops. Most of the time I find something -- not always what I expected. Tanktop the colour of redcurrants, anyone?
  10. Having a lie in whenever I want: Even more fun because Nick has to go to work. I don't do it very often though, because I really like eating breakfast with him.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

10 Activities for a naughty housewife

I am presently not entirely employed. I spend a lot of time at home doing chores, looking for work and scribbling. But that doesn't fill all the hours that stretch between Nick turning to wave as he turns the corner at the end of the drive and him startling me at 7pm by tapping on the window as he comes home.

Here are some other things I can do:

9am: Fail to empty the compost bin.
10am: Return to bed with my Ninendo DS.
11am: Eat Nutella straight out of the jar.
Noon: Take a shower and use large quantities of beauty products.
1pm: Watch a Warner Brothers cartoon DVD.
2pm: Coffee with a friend, followed by shopping-but-not-actually-buying-anything.
4pm: Cook a complicated and untidy supper.
5pm: Nap
6.57pm: Race round hiding all evidence of Nutella, make bed, plump cushions, putting ribbons in hair.

Monday, 5 October 2009

My favourite stories: Number four: The blue radio that may have come from space

I was moving out of my first flat because I'd quit my job to go travelling. It was a happy occasion, of course, because I was very excited by the adventures that lay ahead; and I was glad to get out of a damp old concrete box. But it was a sad occasion, too: I'd been happy there; it was a huge leap into the unknown; and I was anxious about flying alone to Pakistan, meeting the group and starting the journey.

So all these feelings were sloshing around inside me as I cleaned the flat for the last time before leaving. Most of the boxes had already gone, including the one containing my stereo. As I washed the windows, I thought "I wish I had a radio to give me something else to think about."

At that moment, there was a cheery "Good morning" from the open front door. It was the postman. He had a small parcel for me. "Lucky I caught you," he said, handing it over.

I pulled off the wrapping. Inside was a small blue radio, and three batteries. No note, no packing slip to give a clue as to who sent it. I stood there astonished, feeling as if somebody, somewhere really did care about me. It's a bit of a leap of logic, but it made me sure that this travelling wasn't all a terrible mistake.

I still have the radio. It's a reminder that the world is full of wonders, and to look out for the signposts.