Last week, I set myself the challenge of recording 5 specific things that make me feel delight each week (have a read of that first post for the backstory). To be honest, though, writing 5 new delights feels a bit like sitting down for a test I haven’t studied for. When everything feels blank during lockdown, where do you find the answers?… By focusing on very small and very specific moments of relief.
As ever, I’d love to hear what you have found delight in this past week.
A box full of weirdly real vegetables, covered in soil
Like many households, we’ve been getting a veg box delivered on an ad hoc basis to ensure we can keep up our fresh supplies without putting pressure on the supermarkets. We’re lucky to have a local service that takes customers week to week, rather than working on a subscription basis. We’re also fortunate to be able to choose what’s in our box, rather than getting a constant supply of cabbage or obscure root vegetables. There is a thrill when the box arrives, and when we unpack the produce. But the delight is in discovering what vegetables really look like. We’ve been so used to getting them from the supermarket: cleaned, neatly trimmed and wrapped up in plastic. I’d been keen to cut back our plastic before this situation happened but the reality is still a surprise. Stripped of the trappings, it’s like seeing someone you thought was familiar without their make-up on. Who knew leeks were actually twice as long? Or that each carrot grows a bouquet of foliage on top?* I made carrot top pesto (Google it – loads of recipes) out of the strange feathery leaves of real carrots and it was delicious.
*Perhaps you all already knew about the secret real life of veg? But it was a delightful reminder for me!
Painting water indoors, as the rain batters the windows
I’ve been working on some oil paintings based on the waters at Niagara Falls, and this was perfectly timed with some really wet and blustery days. It was a delight to study the intricate colours and layers of that water, whilst buckets of rain were chucked against the window. In general, I’ve preferred the sunny lockdown days to the grey ones, as they feel more positive and it’s easier to bring the outdoors in with open windows and lots of light. But really bad weather has that ‘hunker down’ feeling, which is comforting just now.
Turning the calendar on a new month
The passing of time is very loaded just now – the days and weeks seem to blur and vanish, and there goes another month. Whilst each month brings us closer to the other side of all this, it’s also another stretch of possibilities and plans that have been lost. But the simple act of turning the page on a calendar to see what next month looks like is always going to delight – even if the plans written below are no longer valid. We have three calendars on the go – a little office one, a Tintin one, and a home planner (one of those with a column for each person’s schedule). So each month we get to reveal Tintin’s next adventure, and discuss how the three bears on our home planner are now frolicking. The simple delight of something new, however small.
Clean sheets and clean pyjamas
We all delight in this, don’t we? That really fresh feeling when you climb into a clean linen bed, in newly laundered pyjamas (ideally after an excessively leisurely bath). I don’t need to say anything else.
A bottle arrived on Friday, and was met with a massive rush of delight and relief. I’ve been plagued with itchiness all over for the past couple of weeks. The kind where you just want to be left alone with a rake. At first I thought it was stress, or psychosomatic, but it’s actually hay fever. I never normally suffer from it but its come out with a bang this year – whether it’s those morning walks round the cricket ground (turns out I might actually be allergic to the boundary), the warmer weather or decrease in pollution. I take an antihistamine at night when it’s really bad but during the day the tablets makes me hopelessly groggy. I was pining for something soothing to apply. This bottle is now in pride of place on the bathroom shelf, and I treat it like the greatest luxury.
So there you have it – my little, specific and greatly appreciated bursts of delight. I’m about to get my painting kit on and start a new working week, in which 5 new delights are hopefully to be found.
In the meantime, I hope this prompts some delight spotting in your own week!