I enjoyed a little but lovely happy moment today whilst waiting in line for my lunch. There’s a small and fairly unremarkable looking Turkish cafe on the Caledonian Road that, in my humble opinion, makes some of the best fresh sandwiches in North London. The cafe’s friendly and flirty manager seems to know everyone, if not by name by sandwich filling. And as I’m only ever in the area on a Tuesday (and because I don’t buy my lunch there every week) I’m always impressed by his ability to remember my order with perfect accuracy; chicken tikka with mint yoghurt on a poppyseed baguette with extra cucumber. Today the lunch queue was a long one and I found myself towards the back, sandwiched (chortle, chortle!) between an impatient man with a list that suggested he was ordering lunch for his entire office, and a trio of giggling, shrieking girls talking loudly to each other as they teetered on their heals. In the midst of my ‘should I stay or should I go?’ thoughts, my lovely Turkish ‘sandwichier’ caught my eye, gave me a wink and placed my freshly-made order on the counter, gesturing for me to step forward to claim my lunch. No one seemed to notice my unintentional queue jumping and I was in and out of the cafe in less than 3 minutes, thus arriving at work early and smugly satisfied, both nutritionally and logistically. How’s that for service!
Today was a fairly unremarkable Wednesday until I took the dog for a walk. The kids were at school and nursery so I was looking forward to some ‘chatter-free-no-need-to-referee’ time with just the puppy and my iPod. T’was not to be! We got about 200 yards down the road before Beano made a beeline for the bum of an enormous German Shepherd who appeared to be randomly weaving in and out of parked cars. I then spent the next hour or so doggie stalking (as I tried to work out if he was alone and lost or heading home like Lassie did), sweet talking a van driver to lend me his belt as a makeshift lead to guide the gargantuan beast back to the safety of my garden, googling the RSPCA (and being redirected to the local dog warden service), and trying to prevent my over-excited puppy from potentially pissing off our furry guest. I then had the dilemmas of what to give him to eat (the options were limited to Beano’s Turkey n’ Rice kibble or Lamb n’ Rice kibble…he liked the lamb) and where best to leave him while I dashed to school and back. After a short deliberation I realised the garden was my only option. The boys were just as excited by our garden-guest as Beano and it took all of my patience and powers of persuasion to convince them that no, we should not let him come inside, even just for “a little bit”. By 4pm I was beginning to panic, having not heard back from the RSPCA, Enfield Council or the Dog Wardens. I mentally began planning how to turn the playhouse into a makeshift kennel for the night whilst Reece offered to make flyers to begin mail-shooting the neighbours with. He loves a project! But my ultimate happy-cheesey-Hollywood-style-moment finally came when the dog warden arrived with the fairly distraught owners in tow and my canine squatter was reunited with his family. They were grateful, I was thankful and we all lived happily ever after…for today at least.
I’ve really struggled to hone in on my happy moments this week. And after talking to a friend who pointed out how unlikely it would be to have 100 consecutive happy days in a row, I’ve been re-examining my compulsive need to blog about the mundane. Surely the marvellous is more interesting? I reached an editorial low when I realised that Tuesday’s happy moment was having tea and crumpets. And when the delivery of a new filter for my vacuum cleaner was the single most satisfying thing that happened to me on Wednesday, I decided enough was enough. Who reads this shit anyway?!
So, in a bid to reduce my daily to do list and to avoid blogging for the sake of it, my new approach to the happy days project is to only write something when I actually have something to write about.
Today was Mother’s Day and I’m feeling loved. At breakfast-(in bed)-time, Leo announced the day’s itinerary; “We’re having cuddles, lunch and dinner mummy”. I was given 9 cards including 2 laminated ones (apparently Mother’s Day card-making is a competitive sport amongst my lot) as well as the promise of unconditional day-long good behaviour (although her afternoon tantrum in WHSmith suggests that Niamh didn’t fully understand what she was signing up to).
I love the fact that my family are so tactile and so affectionate. Even Seb, my physical-contact-phobic 11 year old, has given me an (albeit fleeting) hug today. And as she cuddled up to me at bedtime, Niamh sweetly explained that she loved me, and daddy, and the boys, and Beano, and Elsa (of the Frozen variety). I asked her what it meant to love someone and she put it plainly…“to be best friends”. So I’m feeling very thankful for all of my best friends today. Happy moments aplenty!
Truth be told I’m loosing momentum at this stage of my happy days marathon. Thinking of something new and unique to be happy about every day is turning into a bit of a chore, not least because most days I’m just happy to make it through to bed time! But with some very lovely things to look forward to in the next 60 days, I’m determined to keep calm and blog on, so….
Kids & dog nodded off. Onesie and welly socks on. Oven off. Dishwasher on. Laptop off. Telly on. Happy.
1992 was a good year. I was in the upper sixth at college, everyone wore DMs and corduroy blazers (mostly bought from charity shops) and Green Day’s lyrics were gospel. I was also lucky enough to have the best group of mates ever. So fast forward 23 years to a time when most of those people still feature regularly and importantly in my life leaves me feeling luckier still. And what’s more, we now have an enormous gang of children between us and, in some cases, are godparents to one another’s offspring. Ah! (Sentimental is my middle name). So the 120 mile round trip to an overpriced gastro pub in trendy Twickenham today was completely worth it as I got to hang with my homies, have cuddles with my godson and listen to our next generation of little ones swap fashion tips over lunch (“I got new shoes”, “I like pink ones”, “I like peppa pig ones…”).
Today it was warm enough to pop to the shops in a t-shirt and to hang duvets on the washing line (instead of over the radiators) Simple things, simple pleasures! (“Good dry out” Gran, and I thought of you 😘)
Today was World Book Day, an annual event that helps to profile the importance and value literature and the commitment and creativity of mums. Because let’s face it, who actually has an 8 year old bookworm who self-styles themselves into a Dickensian hero? In my experience, most kids just want to be Spider-Man. So since the World Book Day note came home in the school bags, I’ve been batting ideas back and forth in attempts to find literary characters that my children can relate to and I can cobble together a costume for. After last year’s Mr Stink debacle involving a pasta sauce stained shirt and a very unhappy 10 year old, I was determined to send three happily costume-clad kids off to school today. And I think I just about managed to! What’s more, Leo had taken such pride in helping to make his two foot tall Cat-in-the-Hat hat, that my happiest moment came when he ran excitedly out of school waving his certificate for 1st prize in the ‘superb book character costume’ competition. Result! So glad I won…I mean he won! 😜
Today has been one of those days when we’ve been late for everything and I’ve exhausted the phrase “Will you please stop arguing!” So after a stressful school run, a long commute to and from work, a hurried dog walk and three separate pickups from school, football practice and nursery, even the children themselves seemed to notice I was running on empty. They still used the sofas as trampolines, had a fist fight over dinner and waterlogged the bathroom but when they collectively clocked my nonchalant, too-tired-to-care attitude (as I collected the soggy towels off their bedroom floors) they ushered me downstairs. There I was instructed to wait in the lounge whilst they disappeared into the kitchen. And when I was eventually allowed to join them, all four proudly presented me with a cup of tea (grey and tepid but I drank every drop), a plate of chocolate biscuits (calories I could really have done without but I ate all three), an episode of Friends ready to play on the telly (one I’d just watched but the only one left on the SkyBox planner) and this sign…
They then took themselves off into the lounge to pacify Niamh with an episode of Peppa Pig and left me alone to enjoy “the peace”. Seb even convinced Niamh to let him brush her teeth and read her bedtime story! My little terrors are in fact little treasures and I’m off to bed feeling very lucky to have them.
Today’s happy moment was a simple one. I was expecting a ‘signed for’ delivery of things I needed for the kids’ World Book day costumes on Thursday. To miss the delivery today (in the knowledge that I’m going to be at work all day tomorrow), would have lead to disappointed children and a stressful costume shortage.
I got an early morning text with a tracking number that didn’t work and an estimated delivery slot of somewhere between 9am and 6pm. Seething, I left a post-it note on the front door pleading with the courier to the ring my neighbour’s doorbell if I was out. I then did the school run, the nursery drop off and the dog walk in a heightened state of stress before rushing home expecting to find a ‘Sorry we missed you’ card. There wasn’t one. Cue mini happy moment. Not daring to use the hoover in case it drowned out the doorbell, I had to sideline my housework for a heap of outstanding admin work. After lunch and still no delivery, I did a mad dash to the petrol station and post office before rushing home. Nothing! By 3pm I had to deem my pre-planned afternoon run as an ‘non-essential reason to leave the house’ so I defiantly began hoovering instead. And no sooner had my Dyson roared into life, the doorbell went and my much hyped delivery arrived. I almost kissed the courier. Happy moments come in all shapes and sizes it seems.