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Monday, 16 February 2009

A Life and Library Of Simple Pleasures...

tranquility Pictures, Images and Photos

Saz at never Fat, frumpy & fifty presented a wonderful post yesterday in which she set out some lovely images of a library of simple pleasures - Things she loves to do which help her to be herself; Prompts to help oneself be more positive about life... Whatever I might have planned to expound on today, I asked Saz's permission to purloin her piece, and share my own simple (sometimes guilty!) pleasures avec vous, entre nous!

I just learned at the weekend that my back op, which has been postponed twice, is now brought forward and so I go into hosp tomorrow. All being well, ( ... what kind of expression is that?! At work, I am always fond of saying 'Such and such piece of work is here, just in case I go under a bus tomorrow!'...), I expect to be back with you at the back end of the week ... (Too many backs, Fhina, I think!).

So, I thought that it would be beneficial today to '...accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don't mess with Mr Inbetween...'

Here are a few of my favourite simple pleasures... In all honesty, I didn't find this as easy to pull together as I expected, which has made me ponder that I really must try to do more things to treat myself when I am up and about again... As an example, Saz swears by pedicures as gentle therapy, and I have been toying with the idea having a pedicure for ages, stopping myself, by thinking I can't spend that money just on me, blah, blah, blah - You get the picture, mes braves?

So here they are - My present list of wonders!


I love notebooks, and I shall buy myself a moleskin notebook when I am up and about again... I like going into Paperchase, or somewhere just like that, and buying a fresh, new, hopeful notebook. Its empty pages full of portent and potential pleasure... I like coloured notebooks, or ones with hard backs, or those Chinese embroidered fabric notebooks, anything really... chinese fabric Pictures, Images and Photos I think it is the lifelong Snivel Serpent in me, but I am rarely without a pad in my handbag, even if it is just a bunch of fluorescent Post-It notes!

How men use post its Pictures, Images and Photos

Second in Command to the notepad is having a pen on my person. I like pens, but rarely do I have a really nice one, for I tend to lose them down the back of sofas, or leave one on my desk and someone 'borrows' it... My favourites are the rolling ink kind, for I press down hard when I write, (a little like engraving, a lot like braille!), so those are less hard on the senses, and the nubby fingers! Pens again for me are a necessity, and also bring romance, for I fall for them, heavily, and can write with nothing else, until the Pen-Faery descends to entrance him to her lair, and I am left with those post-conference plastic pens which shatter harshly, like my romantic reverie!

I would love a Mont Blanc, or beautiful antique pen, with which I would write with a flourish and sign cheques, for such needful things as French handbags, against promises and dreams... Truthfully, I will never buy myself such a luxury, for I would fear the wrath of the Pen-Faery, and I would also rather spend that kind of money on something that we need as a family, rather than something that I just desire...
Brand New Mont Blanc Fountain Pen Chrome Pictures, Images and Photos

Next, for me, is making lists... When I snatch a few moments, I will scribble out what it is I want to achieve; What little jobs remain to be done; What great works I need to carry out still on the house; Little prompts of shopping still to be chosen, toiletry requisites to pamper and delight...

Photobucket I once worked with a girl who was heavy on the OCD spectrum, who wrote lists obsessively - 'Go home, change clothes, empty dustbin, make tea...' kind of thing - That's not me, I can forgo the pleasure of a list often, but sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than having a list at the bottom of my handbag, with everything ticked off on it, and nothing more to do but sigh pleasurably!

Photobucket I love nothing more than floating in water and swimming - Like a graceful hippo, I am as one with the water, moving through it like a dolphin or a seal... Okay, not quite, but I love to swim, and I also love to take long, luxurious, scented and bubbled, baths!

bubble bath Pictures, Images and Photos I love Lush products especially, bath bombs with rose petals, sparkling and perfumed baubles... I cannot resist the lure of those shops on every high street, oh and I adore candles!

I also live to paddle my feet in the sea, or in a cool river in mid-summer - There's nothing quite like it to still the mind and cool the senses...

And... one of my greatest luxuries, is to read in bed...
Photobucket I can waste hours, lying in my pit reading in morning light at weekends, when I really ought to be doing something else, but I love it!

Usually, with one of these:
Photobucket We have a pretty extensive collection of books with which we cannot part, but I am a real sucker for second hand bookshops, charity shops, church stalls and any place where I can feed my habit... I do recycle, often to charity again, but a few times a year, I make a special trip to Barter Books in Alnwick.

Barter Books 1 Pictures, Images and Photos A book-lovers' Mecca - A cavernous former Victorian railway station, now chock full of all manner of books and maps - Whatever you may wish for, and you can take in a bag of books, have them appraised by the friendly staff, and then leave with even more books that you have 'bartered', or bought in the more conventional sense, with filthy lucre exchanged!

A hug from my teenage son, Grizz. He was ever loving as a small child, and I received cuddles and kisses I practically took for granted, yet nowadays a hug from his beautiful hulking self is as rare as hen's teeth, so I covet, beg and treasure his warm bear-hugs... He is now 6' 4", so dwarfs his mum, and being enveloped in his warm, After-Shaved embrace, is a simple pleasure for smelly old me!

grey cat Pictures, Images and Photos I love the special smell of cat's paws... Now that the house is cat-less, and I was never a 'cat woman' previously, I promise you, I really miss the simple pleasure of smelling the verdant and luscious green of outdoor adventures on the sleeping paws of a furry feline... Go on, lock me up now!


These past few months, because I haven't been able to cart equipment back and forth, or bend to work the piece, I have really missed the simple pleasure of making stained glass art...

I have been going to an evening class for almost 5 years now, run by a husband and wife team, who are the most wonderful and peaceful teachers of this art. It is amazing to me, but anyone who joins the class ends up being able to make wonderful and very personal art, even if they have complained for ages, that they are not up to it, they can't draw for toffee, and so on and so forth...

There are bits and pieces of unhung and semi-finished stained glass about my house, like little man-traps... I want to devote time to getting back to class and getting it all finished off and displayed in good time... I know I will never be good enough to make my living at it, but I love the fact that the tools and techniques we use have little changed since mediaeval times... I love the 'blood and guts' nature of 'proper' stained glass work - don't kid yourself that it's dainty work, it's pretty tough, all that lead and poison... And I love the fickle nature and texture of glass, how it breaks and cracks; the wondrous colours and styles of glass available, and using a lethal soldering iron to cement the pieces together with tallow and solder...

Photobucket Watching gentle and surreal TV Comedies, such as, Father Ted, with my family... Photobucket I love to laugh, find it therapeutic and healing, and chortling is so easy with the likes of Father Ted... My favourite character is Mrs Doyle, the parish housekeeper, with her catchphrase...

I love mooching around old churches:

I enjoy learning bits and pieces of their history, and even the pre-history that came before them... I love wondering about who the people might have been using the church, looking out of the stained glass windows, and pealing the bells... I look for mason's marks, and parish registers, and it is a simple and cheap pleasure... Whenever I disappear when out for a walk with GJ, he knows where I can be found!

Finally, a little like Saz, I dream of having 1. A studio to practice my stained glass in in solitude! and more realistically, 2. A little summer house, where I can go and read and relax, where I can look at the lambs at the bottom of my garden, drink elderflower juice in the spring and summer and tea in the autumn and winter, and just be me...
little sauna house Pictures, Images and Photos

Oh, and if it were big enough to also house a hot-tub, I'd like that more than anything, and so would the rest of the family!

Sauna - Artist House Pictures, Images and Photos

See you soonest, mes amis! xxx


GB said...

I wish for you a very successful day tomorrow. I will be thinking very positive thoughts for you.

I love your list. I would certainly have fountain pens on mine: I have several dozen including a Parker which I have had since I was 9 and which I still use (it was overhauled by Penfriend 30 odd years ago). My fear for you is that if you press that hard the nibs may not like it!

Diane said...

Oh, Fhina... we are so much the same person! Almost everything on your list would be on mine... though I prefer my big dog's paws to kitty paws :). Though I've never tried to make stained glass, I LOVE it, and I've been thinking of looking for a mosaic class here (nearly the same thing, right? :).

Be well tomorrow!!! I will be thinking of you until I hear from you again... sending you good thoughts for a successful op and a pain-free and quick recovery! Take care... XOXOXO

Cynthia said...

Hi Fhina,
Love your list of comforts and photos...the two children...so cute. I used to put my baby son in a little tub so I could wash him outside in the sun. The girl hugging herself is so sweet.
I'm so sorry to hear that you were suffering back pain...I hope everything goes well and you can get back to your beautiful stained glass!
I saw your award...and I think I will accept it for Oasis with a link to you. How pretty it is...thank you.

May you heal with speed and be able to rejoin us soon. <3

Anna Lefler said...

A lovely, positive post! And, BTW, we love many of the same things...like fantastic pens and notebooks...

I wish you a smooth, easy and completely successful surgery tomorrow! (((hugs)))

:^) Anna

jeannette stgermain said...

Several of your list are like mine - reading, fountain pen, notebook, stained glass- I have the book, but all the tools cost quite a bit, huh? - architecture of old buildings - well you can ponder all these things while you are recovering - that all may go well, and your healing will be speedy!

presious said...

Love your perspective of life. Sounds like your are going through a few hurdles in your life. Sorry it's not so smooth right now. However, your love-for-life comes through like rays or light after a fresh rain! I love it! I am encouraged by you. I have a few medical hurdles of my own. Try to focus on the more simple pleasures of day-to-day life; things we tend to forget about or take for granted, but should appreciate.

Love your blog!

jinksy said...

Seems like the perfect time to wish you part two of Love, Light and Healing, Blogpal! xxx

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

How lovely. I can identify with lots of your favourite pleasures, like the indulgent baths, candles, reading in bed etc. It's such a good idea to list these things sometimes - we just let life slip by otherwise. M xx
PS I so agree with the hug from a grown-up Son too - that's one of my best!

Michelle said...

Dearest Fhina,
Brilliant list and so you!!! A pen on my person!! I love that!!!

I want to wish you good luck tomorrow and be well my love!!! Just think after tomorrow you will be sans back pain!!! Perhaps, when we meet we can go on a run???

I love you!!!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

fab post fhi!!! Thanks for giving it the Fhi-spin!!

I also could've added notebooks and pen..I am a stationary fetish-er...you too eh??

I also love my bed...maybe l shall do a simple pleasures #2 one day!!

carma said...

Will be thinking about you tomorrow. I hope you will soon be up and about and back to doing your stained glass work- nice!

Vodka Mom said...


and I wish you Godspeed and good luck........

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Honestly - good luck with everything.

And I'm 100% with you on reading in bed. I used to think nothing of it and now it's such a luxury...

Scriptor Senex said...

Very best wishes for a good op, a speedy recovery, a full cure and a quick return to blogging. Don't forget to take yout notebook, then you can list all the blogs you mean to do when up and about!

Chairman Bill said...

Before buying a moleskin notebook, please consider the poor mole that gave up its life so you could have a luxury.....

Derrick said...

Hello Fhina,

Great list and pics, as ever. I love the post-it pic! I'm so glad to hear that you (and lots of other bloggeristas, it seems) love notebooks. It's something that I feared would go out of fashion with e-mail, internet etc. So, I may just start selling them. Can I put you down for half a dozen?!

I too press hard when writing, so it's usually a cheapo biro for me! I also love stained glass, as you may have noticed, but have never tried to make any. Well done you. I look forward to seeing some of your pieces featured here. I also really enjoy looking round churches but the snob in me prefers the grandeur of cathedrals!

I'm adding my good wishes to all the others for your speedy recovery and relief from pain. Take care and ... be back soon!

French Fancy said...

I am so sorry to have missed wishing you well before you set off for the hospital today. I will be thinking of you and waiting for you to come back and tell us all how grand you are now feeling.

I loved your list and also crave a hot tub - well, I crave lots of things but I am quite a self-indulgent person so I try and get the things I have set my heart on.

anyway Fhina, come back soon

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for the op. Imagine I've missed the boat now but perhaps you'll feel support from here anyway.

CJ xx

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Love the list, my hubby gave me a mont blanc for my birthday and I love it. Speedy recovery. Jo

Charmaine said...

You're a cool chick. Good luck in surgery...never fun.

I have a mont blanc I don't want. Want it?


claudio said...

I invite you to visit my blog. you can find my last works of art at:


yours Claudio Tomassini

Mel said...

That's a fantastic list! Notebooks, pens (although I prefer felt tips), books, bookstores, lists, books, funny shows. Your son's hugs? Today I got teary-eyed thinking about my niece turning 6 this weekend and wondering when would be the last time she'd sit in my lap or come and crawl in bed with me for some cuddles because she's gotten too old for those things. I guess the hugs will stick around a little longer.

Brett said...

I'm with you on the books.

French Fancy said...

I'm hoping your hubby will keep an eye on your blog and give you all our greetings. I do keep wondering how you are getting on.

We miss you Fhina.

Working mum said...

A heart warming post.

Good luck with the back operation - can someone update us on how it went?

Get well again soon.
WM x

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

charmaine, how could you NOT want a MOnt Blanc???? OMGosh!! how lovely..

A Woman Of No Importance said...

GB: Thank you, Sir - I know the kind thoughts of my fellow bloggers have helped to sustain me - It was like having a whole barrage of visitors, for you were in my thoughts! I know what you mean about not pressing too hard with pen nibs, and it is my cackhandedness which prevents me from treating myself, that, and the cost!!!

Diane: We have ever known that we might have been separated at birth, eh? I do love dawgies very much and will have a pair some day soon, I hope! Mosaic work will be very interesting - I find that fascinating too - I think it might not be any easier than creating stained glass art, but it might be a little cleaner! It's good to do something creative that you enjoy, and I love my class when I can get to it! xox

Cynthia: Glad you liked the pics and home comforts - I am glad that you like the Oscar, which I sort of photoshopped to get the effect of the rays - First time I've tried anything like that, and you deserve it so much, C! Thank you for your kind thoughts and well wishes!

Anna Lefler: I am proud that you have made it here, Anna, thank you so much! Bless you for your kindness and hugs and, of course, your love of pens and notebooks!

jeannette stgermain: As for the stained glass tools, we loaned them from our tutors to start with, and I just bought bits over time, and asked for them as birthday/Christmas gifts and so on - Overall, the most expensive thing overall was my soldering iron, but it would be fair to reflect that glass itself is quite expensive to manufacture and therefore to buy...

presious: Thank you for thinking of me - and I needed you to say something positive about my love for life, so I can actually see it myself - because I don't always! Look after yourself, presious! x

La jinksy: Your thoughts are always well placed and soooo welcome, Blogpal gal! xxx

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong: Thank you for commenting and sharing pleasures! It is easy to overlook what is important in life, and Saz has helped me to focus on those, which is vital! x

Michelle: Thanks for your fun and kindness, M! I like the idea of building up over time into running, I would love to be able to be positive about that! x

Fat, frumpy and fifty...: Bless you for coming up with it, Saz - It is a wonderful focus! I think you could easily do a simple pleasures #2 - Your first was just perfect, with your teacups and really simple pleasures - I don't do that enough! And, yes, you cuold call me a stationery fetisher, like you, defo! xox

carma: Thank you for taking the time to send lovely wishes! Keep on bouncing all those balls, C! Even the cheese ones! x

Vodka Mom: Bless you for taking the time to come here out of your wonderful energy filled life, I really appreciate it, you, and your unique blog! x said...

Kate Coveny Hood: Blessings!

Scriptor Senex: I found myself actually writing things in the back pages of the book I was reading - I should have taken a notebook in with me! You are always right, Sir!

Chairman Bill: I wonder the same thing about those moleskin trousers you can buy from the back pages of the Sunday supplements!

Derrick: I think for us notebooks are affordable luxuries - A bit like handbags, only far easier on the purse! Put me down for a dozen, (for friends' birthday and Christmas pressies yet to come!) and let me know where your shop is in Melrose, and I'll be up there in the summer to collect them! Perhaps I can write a blog review then?!

I need to start taking my own photos, and I've asked my OH whether I can get a camera of my own to begin to chronicle some of my (shabby) stained glass pieces!

French Fancy: Thinking of your sweet cakes in your profile pic - The lovely colours, is enough of a sweetener to get well soon, and back to enjoying what's important - Like the tastes and smells I was taking so for granted! I think I definitely need that hot tub in the garden now!

Crystal Jigsaw: Thank you for explaining the other day about the lambs with red and blue marks - I live right in the midst of flocks, and didn't even know that! I shan't look at them the same way again now! I am a veggie, after all - Thanks for sending your lovely wishes - It means a lot from someone so busy as you, CJ!

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3: Take care, too! Imagine, a Mont Blanc as a pressie from your hubby!

Charmaine: Bless you - No, surgery wasn't fun, but it was a far better experience than I could ever have imagined - The staff were just lovely! I shall send you my address for that unwanted Mont Blanc - Perhaps I need to open a pen sanctuary?!

claudio: Welcome, I shall come and see your etchings! www.claudiotomassini.blogspot.com

Mel: Glad you enjoyed my little list! Felt tips in funky colours are very cool, although I can't use them for work - I always select a gold one to write my Christmas cards! Treasure your niece - They grow up faster than you can ever imagine - Just blink, and one day they are towering over you like giants! x

Brett : )

French Fancy: If you ever thought that I would give him the keys to the door of my blog, you were sadly mistaken - I cannot trust the man with most things, least of all my writing - I once had a dabble at a bit of a novel, and he was so disparaging, I have never picked it up again! Bless you for your kind thoughts - It really has meant so much to me, you won't believe! x

Working mum: I am here - healing, hopefully - A bit tired, wobbly, weak and woozy with the painkillers - I cannot type that well - Hence a lot of cutting and pasting to my blog today - But I'll get there in time, I just know it, with all those kind thoughts spurring me on x

Saz: ; ) xxxoooxxx

Dusty Spider said...

Good grief that was like reading my own list!
So glad you are home and recovering now. All the best for a speedy recovery dear lady. xxx

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