Sunday, December 03, 2023

A meander through the everyday

I used to find it sad when my mother and father were the age I am now and I asked them what they would like for Christmas and they said ‘Nothing, thank you. There’s nothing I need.’

But this week when my daughter asked what I would like this year my mind was blank. What did I want?  The things I want are unattainable - 

A one state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. 

Any kind of solution to the conflict.  

A UK government with integrity that cares about ordinary people.

Politicians the world over who act as though there is ACTUALLY a climate crisis.

Enough of this.

After some thought I told her that what I’d like was an outing of some kind with her. It could be as simple as a walk with a cuppa and a scone at the end. Spending time with my adult children individually has become something rare because they are all so busy. 

I saw a tweet from @VeryBritishProblems on the medium-formerly-known-as-Twitter this week that I really liked.  I liked it because it was about tea (the drink) but I liked it for a larger meaning -  because it celebrated the value of the ordinary. 

The best types of tea: 

-The tea brought to you in bed on a Sunday morning 

-The tea that comforts you after bad news, gives you the energy to carry on 

-The leaning on the worktop after cleaning the kitchen tea (usually held in two hands)

-The “struggle to take a glove off as someone hands it to you” gardening break tea 

-The tea you almost forget to drink when you’re in a rush but you remember it just in time 

-The hotel room tea 

-The tea with a cooked breakfast 

-The recovering in hospital tea 

-The tea on the freezing sidelines of a Sunday League football match

-The back at the desk after a long meeting tea

-The first tea of the day 

-The first tea of the new year 

-The tea you take to bed 

-The tea while slapping a new coat of paint on the walls 

-The tea in the shed 

-The tea while staring out the window on a rainy Saturday afternoon 

-The tea you celebrate with (and calm down with) when you’ve just received very good news 

 -The tea you didn’t expect to be offered -The tea in a museum cafe -The free tea 

 -The tea after an argument 

 -The tea that gives you an excuse to open the good biscuits -The tea with a view 

 -The tea with buttered toast 

-The “afternoon tea” with lots of little sandwiches and cakes 

-The tea in a tent while camping 

-The tea from a flask on an Autumn hike 

-The tea while reading a book in an armchair on a rare day off with not a care in the world 

 -The tea after a hard day at work

-The tea after getting in from a run / bike ride 

-The first tea back in your home after a holiday -

-The picnic tea 

-The ‘break up a long car journey’ tea 

 -The tea you make for someone and they say it’s a really lovely cup of tea, one of the best teas they’ve ever had

-The tea made by your Mum/Dad

People reading the tweet had made additions to the list and I concur with two of them - the cup of tea you have with toast after giving birth (amazing) and the first cup of tea you have when you arrive home from abroad (the relief.)

Reading the list again reminds me of that phrase at the top of Megan Young's old blog The Scent of Water where she said that she was a lifelong devotee of the beauty of the quotidian.

After all, my blog throughout the years has been about everyday life: Days are where we live. Maybe paying attention to and celebrating the tiny enjoyable moments that make up our lives leads to thankfulness and perhaps, thus, to happiness. 

And I’ve just remembered a bit at the beginning of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn where she says “I love the everydayness of marriage, I love figuring out what’s for dinner and where to hang the pictures and do we owe the Richardsons…”

Well, each to her own. Nora Ephron loved cooking. Personally, I hate deciding what to make for tea

And so do at least 88,000 other people, apparently.

Also, deciding on where to hang my paintings is a nightmare, but let’s park that one.

I’m getting lost on the subject of the everyday, so here's Larkin:


What are days for?

Days are where we live.   

They come, they wake us   

Time and time over.

They are to be happy in:   

Where can we live but days?


Ah, solving that question

Brings the priest and the doctor   

In their long coats

Running over the fields.


Philip Larkin 

This is what our today looks like:

I hope you enjoy your today.

p.s. I may leave Twitter (X) in the future, so you won’t see me posting a link to my blog posts there. If you google me when you want to check in, you can find a link to the blog and then, once on the blog, if you click on the blog title it will show you the latest post. 

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