1) On the train to London Liverpool Street: someone has tucked their newspaper — The Evening Standard — behind the vertical red hand-rail next to the carriage doors. Makes me happy to discover it waiting for me there, as though it was left there just for me (it’s always amazing when you find something free on an English train which has been ripping you off for many years). There are a hundred other free newspapers scattered around this carriage and this one shouldn’t be special, really, but for some reason there’s nothing like finding one of these anomalies. The person who left it there has even folded it neatly in half — no edge is creased — which leads me to believe that this may, in fact, be an elaborate ploy by the printers of The Evening Standard to appeal to the genteel side of the more discerning man (or woman) on the street.
2) Sitting around the dinner table with family, two conversations going on — Grandad and dad, my nan and my mum, football versus how to cook beef — and it sounds like a mess (I am involved in neither conversation, really), but amongst it all is a kind of tranquility which I know I am lucky to be a part of. Many people don’t have the luxury of a family, love, unconditional support and the presence of a person in another room when that’s all an individual needs. Actually, come to think of it, many people don’t have the luxury of a roof capable of keeping out the elements, let alone a dinner table. All of us with these things, we are all so very lucky.
3) A total stranger running up behind me in the street — for a moment I think I might be about to be mugged or something weird is about to happen, then I remember that this is Cambridge UK (home of the middle-class non-criminal) and it is the day-time, so both these scenarios are quite unlikely — but, no, it’s fine; this guy, he just wants to hand me the receipt I dropped on the floor, just in case I needed it. Yes, just in case I needed it. I almost feel like dropping it again just to test the theiry. This ain’t New York or Boston. The receipt is useless of course — I have already eaten my Double Decker and it was a fine and perfect combination of nougat and chocolate on top, no reason to take it back — but it makes me smile. The goodness of people can turn your day around.
4) I’m heading into town. When I left the house it looked fine, but half-way to the station it’s starting to rain — those fast-moving clouds on an endless blanket of grey that promises so much more to come. Then comes that instant, colossal, all-consuming barrage of water that seeps into everything and turns the pavement from silvery-grey to the mirrored reflection of a lake in just a few seconds. I get soaked through and when I arrive at the station and take pointless cover under the shelter — with all the other wet people who look like a Lama just spat in their face — I feel freezing, but it doesn’t matter. Feels like being alive. Autumn finally has smells and a personality and once again I smile. I am happy!
5) Making things out of clay, paper, wood — whatever. I have no idea where to put them — I already have too many and I wouldn’t ask a friend if they wanted a giraffe painted as a zebra, not after last time… — but that is beside the point! The creation of material things may seem, to some, like it’s contributing to all the crap on Earth, but I disagree. Creation in all forms is vital. Without it everything stays inside, and we already have enough inside, don’t you think?
6) A surprise postcard from a friend. The fact I can barely make sense of the words is irelevant.
7) Making sleepy mistakes, then putting them right when wide-awake.
8) Almost falling out of bed: makes you feel alive!
9) The pan is over-flowing….but I get there just in time!
10) Tax rebates. I think that’s all I need to say.
11) A squirrel on a fence: we make eye-contact for just a second. As he scurries away, I wonder if he’s a male and we just communicated something vitally important and about what it means to be a male in this day and age. Or it may be my imagination: how do you tell the sex of a squirrel, actually?
12) Finding and reading other people’s blogs, websites and cool Tumblr sites by pure chance.
13) Charity-shop books with mysterious notes written on the pages…