Sunday, 10 February 2013

It's custard bath night

One of my favourite blogs is this one and one of my favourite things about it is her list of joyful things down the left hand side (even better, indeed, is the list of advice - "considering over-wintering roosters in your study? Don't" -  but I don't have any of that, except GET AN ACCOUNTANT and that isn't quite in the spirit of the thing). So I thought I would try and do mine today. I made myself avoid all the obvious ones (nest webcams, Yorkshire Gold tea, David Sedaris, hairy ponies, Nancy Mitford, salted caramel, gloomy crime fiction). I know this is the blog equivalent of a warm bath of custard but I don't much care, it has been a long week  and I am feeling quite fretful and a warm bath of custard sounds very nice, actually. A warm bath of anything, indeed, our bath is buggered.

Joyful things:

Jays in the garden (I only found out they were jays last year, but they're wild like something out of a zoo, or something that got lost on its way to Africa).
Brightly coloured fine leather gloves. My current ones are a sort of acid green and even the children covet them.

Relics, the grislier the better, but especially whole preserved digits, limbs, or indeed saints.
Orange spine Penguin PG Wodehouse books, inherited from my parents.
Kenneth from 30 Rock.
Having enough scissors.
Béchamel with spinach and a pinch of nutmeg or mace. I had this in a pasta gratin last night in front of that ludicrous Richard III documentary with a nice glass of cheap red wine.
Spotting tiny dirty brown mice, all busy and surprising, on the Central Line tracks.
And getting divebombed by packs of delinquent parakeets.
Lemon curd.
The smell of stables, straw and turpentine and leather and dust and warm horse.
The smell of sugar beet on damp North Yorkshire autumn air, even though it is actually an awful smell.
Or the smell of After Eights on cold North Yorkshire winter nights, which is wholly delicious.
The smell of Soho on hot summer evenings before it all kicks off: spice and posh cologne and beer and hair product and hot tarmac.
Mars Attacks.
3/4 length sleeves.
The produce tent at village shows. And the tea tent, actually. And the 'dog that looks most like its owner' class.
Vuillard interiors.
Christine Ferber rhubarb jam.
Vetiver (especially Miller Harris Vetiver Bourbon).
Warm pub gin and tonics with the barest sliver of melted ice and a crappy half slice of lemon.
With a packet of Walkers Cheese and Onion. (Oh god I want this so much now).
Parrot tulips.
Patent leather.
Sunday breakfast at Midi market, Moroccan pancake with honey and a glass of sweet mint tea for €1,25.
The word 'baleful'.
Working at my kitchen table. I have a perfectly good office, but I just can't resist. This morning the light was just beautiful, with a tiny dusting of snow and a fat pigeon making its rounds. Here is a terrible picture of it.

You can just see a fat pigeon sitting on the wall to the right. 

Mexican wrestling outfits.
Tiny dark red Spartan apples.
Urban foxes, all insolent and unruffled and rifling through your binbags.

I would love to hear yours, ideally avoiding your top five or ten. The weirder the better.


blackbird said...

The last swallow of the tea, where the sugar has settled.
The roof, just outside my bedroom window, which has grown moss.
Chewing my cuticles.
The scent of mothballs, gasoline, vinyl.

K said...

Filing down a jagged broken nail.

Picking burrs from the effing sheepdog.

Shamelessly corny country-type music (I'm looking at you, Faith Hill)

Vacuuming each. Individual. Crack of my ancient and lovely and treacherously splintery hardwood floor.

Mindless, boring, zen stockinette knitting with no stitch or row counting.

The last tepid swallow of beer in the bottle.

A truly disgusting barely-boiled egg dripping yolk all over the plate.

Good god, I'm a filthy animal.

aisling said...

I don't have a list but once I get around to making on this will definitely be on it! Happy Sunday!

Anonymous said...

My own cool sheets.

Sting, drowning in a vat of salted caramel.

The first gulp of cold, fizzy water (no ice) after a long dry walk on a summer's day.

You Tube videos of puppies confused by new things.

Local cider in a pub garden in June. For extra points flowers, bees, distant view of hills.

Lying on my back in tall grass, watching clouds.

Treacle tart and clotted cream. (For extra points, after a long run, hence no guilt.)

Unexpectedly good (as in not gasping like a dying whale) runs up the valley from home - blue skies, kites wheeling, smell of grass.

Popping bubble wrap.

mountainear said...

The coolness of a freshly turned over pillow

Stabbing the plastic tops of ready-meals before putting them in the microwave.

Listening to our dog making dog-dreaming noises.

Owls hooting

Loggos, Paxos, Greece

ali_jane said...

PLEASE say Belgium's new chocolate flavoured stamps might be good enough to fall into one of these lists? I would love a review.

Margaret said...

The whiff of warm subway air that blows up the stairs on a hot night.

Folding the laundry.

The sound of my cat gently snoring.

Meeting old friends after work to drink cheap beer in a dark old-man bar on the first really nice, warm day of spring.

Fresh-baked Italian bread with Irish butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Baby hats with ears.

The Proustian scent of Jean Nate.

frau antje said...

Dead ivy vines on the side wall, they are absolutely transcendent (also quite drought-resistant).

The river out front, boring, I know. It might not rage (and god knows we wouldn't want it to), but damn, it's a river and it is very frequently quite beautiful.

Seeing something good come out of bad situations, this is not so rare actually--saw something like this just yesterday morning. (it was in no way related to carnaval...though a 'glass' carriage with black horses did do a u-turn in the street...this is not a street designed for turning around a team of horses, I can assure you)

Visionaries, and not just because they sound so ethereal, but because they are the ones who ALWAYS save our asses. They could not be more pedestrian, but so crucial that we should be forced to walk on our knees from Amsterdam to Brussels in honor of them (and because it would be faster than the train).

My father used to get a scrub jay in the backyard (Aphelocoma californica) to perch on his hand and eat nuts. He always enjoyed hearing about sugar beets in Europe, this was joyful for him. My dad, not the scrub jay, the scrub jay could give a fuck.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

Enjoyed that custard bath. I find well thought out lists like this are almost like poetry.

I LOVE Vetiver.

Hannah said...

Ooh I love all of your things, especially the g&t and sleeves.

Mine are:
- cos sack dresses, the blacker the better
- spiky greyhound elbows when they try to be lap dogs and fail miserably
- slippers that are so warm my feel constantly sweat
- the cat that sits on our doorstep, nonchalantly torturing the dogs who watch it from the window
- my lovely folio society Thomas Hardy books which were a present from my grandmother-in-law and are just as good as ornaments as they are to read.

That's all I can think of now,

Patience_Crabstick said...

Surprise sightings of the fat bunnies that live in the brush pile behind my car.

The quality of light when the ground is snow-covered.

Fabric shops.

Starting a new knitting project.

Browsing the public library.

Ellie said...

Omnidirectional tiny birds who do not have any concept that they are hanging upside down on branches

The red bugs (Lopidea texana) that show up on our Mountain Laurels every March without fail and then disappear for another year

When the whole upstairs bar is singing along to Merle Haggard songs during the early football games on Sundays

Fat dogs

Anonymous said...

The smell of dogs feet - sniff the weepette, it's like slightly overcooked biscuits.
Summer rain on hot tarmac
The cloud of smoke when a farrier is fitting shoes...burnt pony toenails, mmm mmm
Bad boys' leather jackets - part BO, part pub, part something else
Boots own brand suntan lotion, takes me back to bumming round Europe before I was a grown up

Mara Gaulzetti said...

Secretly eating the crunchy bits left on the baking pan after a roast chicken.

Clipping my smallest toe's nail.

Scrubbing burnt on black bits off of pans.

Folding my husband's socks and pants and lining them up in his drawer (mine get thrown in the dresser without care or matching up).

Cleaning the loo. I really go mad for this one...

Looking at the box of cereal as I eat said cereal. I miss doing this as I no longer eat boxed cereal.

Scunder said...

The fat robin on my bird table that beats up the blue tits- he a real wee bastard thug- love him

The aroma of the French Atlantic coast in early summer-
Garlicky langoustine pine needles fresh baguette mixed alluringly with waste bin sweat last nights Bordeaux and a whiff of peepee.

The part of my dogs ear that feels like silk velvet.

The word: glipe

Breton tops

A good bitey cheddar

Stationary - fancy plain Korean whatevs

Old fashioned hardware shops that sell galvanised ephemera and enamelware and astonishing tools.

Don Bartlett reading Scandi audiobooks.

Dame Jenni Murray

Margaret said...

Mara Gaulzetti: Are you my secret twin? I could've put any of those on my list. I do miss eating breakfast cereal, especially Cheerios and Grape Nuts. And I would not say no to a bowl of Froot Loops.

Léonie said...

Oh I do love your post and this comment thread!

I said "YES" aloud when I read your one about hot Soho before the night begins.

When going somewhere I don't want to go, staring at the return train ticket like it's a promise from the future. Then the relief of getting to use it.

New lipbalm.

Seeing bus drivers wave to each other as they pass on the road.

Spontaneous summer drinking, with re-applied lipstick and flip-flops.

Crime thrillers involving a maverick cop and an unlikely friendship.

Remembering to wear perfume.

Sitting in a café, glamourously, sipping at coffee or wine, writing in a notebook about sitting in a café, glamourously sipping at coffee or wine.

The end of a robust, healthy walk.

Talking to small, serious children.

Anonymous said...

cutting a slice of fresh baked bread while the loaf is still hot and you probably shouldn't cut it yet, but do anyway.

the scent of hot pines in Greece in the summer with the sound of cicadas in the background

cleaning up my office after a big report is complete and getting rid of the all the accumulated detritus.

the scent of boxwood hedges

the sound of feet crunching on the gravel drives of British country houses (I always have wanted to live in the 20s and wear glamourous outfits and crunch along a al Downton Abbey)

the smell of freesias

the smell of spring

the feel of clean sheets on my bed (which I will have today since my mother's dog peed in my bed last night. Lovely)

no doubt others have sent the following to you, but in case they haven't:

Sewmouse said...

Holding my baby granddaughter in one arm and tickling her toes with my fingers.

Bratwurst with yellow mustard and ice-cold beer on a hot summer evening.

Taking the very last stitch in the binding of a quilt I've made, and spreading it over my lap to just "gaze" at thought become reality.

Antje M. Rauwerda said...

When the small cat (a vicious thug) says, sweetly, in an incongruously tiny voice, "mew."

Touching the children's hair.

Clean bedlinen.

When you squeeze a pimple and it pops generously, ideally befouling the bathroom mirror.

Taking off my socks at work.

Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison."

The artistic neighbors who have draped a plastic bag artfully around a branch they have embedded into their front lawn.

And, blackbird, I am your opposite: the FIRST sip of tea, when it's so hot it burns the back of your throat clean.

Unknown said...

At this present time it is sitting in my study, pretending to work but really spending the day watching the ducks and swans and geese trying to paddle against the current of a very fast flowing river Thames. Or even better going with the current facing backwards like a white water ride!

When I walk into my sisters house and her dog, who is my true love, realises it is me.

When my husband, even when he is in the depths of sleep, lies on top of me in bed to keep me warm.

Finishing something, anything....

Alison said...

Sorry, didn't mean to be unknown!

Nimble said...

Glossy thick crows stomping around.

Having both kids' toenails all trimmed.

Taking down the paper snowflake decorations. (I loved putting them up and I loved taking them down.)

Listening to the wind buffeting around the roof.

Anonymous said...

Ponies in cardie's, what more can I say?

Unknown said...

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Scunder said...

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Grace said...

Lovely post. Especially your description of Soho in summer.

Having the backs of my thighs waxed. It is the most divine feeling, a little like having my palms stroked but a hundred times nicer.

Driving out of London at dusk.

Driving into London at dusk.

Waffle said...

Ha. Admittedly Scunder SOMEBODY IS RIGHT.

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