House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Laugh with me. Cry with me.

"The achievement of bringing someone to tears, is infinitely greater than the achievement of bringing them to laughter"

"We laugh all the time. And easily"

(Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker.[1] He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996)

Lucky me, I also cry easily.

But I cry easily at stupid stuff.  
Like over sad animal stories. Oh, and at the happy ones too.
Like at the big reveal of those gardening make-over programmes.  
Like National Anthems (everyone's. All of them). 
Like whenever anyone wins anything, or loses.
You can imagine I am a puffy-eyed wreck during the Olympics.

Mr Gladwell is right.  We do seem to laugh all the time.  Although I propose that not all Laughs are equal.

Neither are the Cries.

The Laughs

The most common is the 
Joining In or, I am One of You laughs.
The one you do when you don't really know what you are laughing AT but it feels more comfortable to laugh than not.
It is a shallow laugh.
It is a social nicety laugh.

In that it is a Getting Along laugh, it is a superficial but positive heh-heh-heh.

I am ok with that.

There is the OMG! I can't believe you just said that laugh.
This is accompanied by hands covering eyes or mouth, a *gasp* and some furtive looking around.
You love it, but you hate it.
You are also glad that whatever was just said, was said by someone else.
See, the technicality that YOU were not the purveyor of whatever-was-said, protects you.
You can laugh at this, and not be a complete bitch.

The rarest, most elusive and, most healing laugh is the Belly Laugh.

Now, this one is the one that will clear your soul.

Your entire body and mind surrender to this laugh.  

It purges and drives tension away - that's why often you feel quite weak after a good ol' Belly Laugh.

What makes this special is that only very special people can make you Belly Laugh.

If you have some of those people in your Life, you are blessed.  They are as essential to well-being as a good internet connection and a freezer full of chocolate biscuits.


As I have mentioned, I do cry fairly easily.
As someone who completed a Pet Bereavement Counselling course in the hope of being able to help clients, I am a big fat #fail.
You see, I am unconvinced that crying along with Crying Clients helps much.

That aside, yes, I well up fairly easily and fairly regularly.
Stuff moves me.
Eyes get watery.
Empathy = welling up

But, what is, thankfully, rare is the Full Sob of Sadness.
These are reserved for those extra-close, extra-special people or real-life sad or bad situations.

It doesn't happen much, I am happy to report.  But I am glad that it does.
It means that I have extra-close, extra-special people in my Life.

And, it occurs to me, as I write, that they are often the same people that Bring on The Belly Laugh.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Look up and love the Clouds

Of Magpies & friendly grass.
Of newspapers, magazines and radio.
Clouds and blue skies.
Wish I could wriggle my toes in all.

Last year it was the trees.
This year, whilst Trees maintained their Significant Significance status, out of nowhere, Grass stepped it up.

Perhaps Grass got wind of Trees' 2013 rave reviews.

Whatever its drive, clearly Grass has a competitive streak.  Its work, this Summer was impressive.

How had I in previous years, failed to acknowledge the deep joy of walking of soft, squeaky (the absence of dust and sand helps) juicy green grass?

The grass where I live is harsh, spiky, pokey, stabby stuff.
And, within it, live ants.
Bad ants.
Walk on this stuff you will find no joy.
Only risk.

The Bad Ants will give you the kind of bite that makes your dog suddenly drop and chew madly at its foot.
When, and it is 'when', not if, it happens, first it will hurt.
And then, it will swell.

If I could chew my foot, I think I almost certainly would.

So, I wriggle my toes, free from threat, in that lovely juicy squeaky clean grass whenever I can.

Also, I shall salute Magpies.

Can't help it. Always have.
I do it without thinking.

See a Magpie. Salute.

In fact, I salute groups of Magpies, which I know isn't, strictly, necessary, but, so far so good, I ain't risking it now.

As well as the United Kingdom's Grass and her black & white birds, I also fell under the spell of her Clouds this Summer.

My FB page is awash with photos of Seagulls (I am partial to a seagull too. Since Roo Time began, without a seagull fix, I haven't had me a British Summer Holiday) ...........................and Clouds.
We just don't get Clouds like it. And I couldn't take my eyes off their cumulonimby glory. (Cloud types)


And so, we return to our sandy Home-for-Now.
We have those Happy/Sad feelings that all who have chosen our kind of life have when it comes time to say Goodbye & head home*.

(NOTE the lowercase 'h') See also Being Home

We have much to look forward to but, do me a favour ........
If you live in the UK, or anywhere that has good clouds, be thankful for them.
Look up and love your Clouds.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Fix - of calm, quiet Booky Coffeeness

Scattered around the world are Happy Places.
My Happy Places.

Some, but not all, are bookshops.
My Favourite Bookshop, just FYI, is Waterstones on Piccadilly, but I am blessed to have a 2nd AND a 3rd favourite.

I wish I could say that one of them was an Indie but sadly, no.
If I had regular (read: any) access to an Independent Bookshop though, I have no doubt it would be a contender.

All this aside, yesterday, I got to spend time with #2.

Waterstones (coincidence?), Swansea.

A hidey-hole of calm, quiet and considered bookyness.  It doesn't feel like a place where the primary concern is the rather vulgar financial transaction of selling paper, with words on it.

Here, I sense their desire to share books & to share their treasure box of enjoyment for them.

When you walk in, you feel the diversity of riches, inviting you, welcoming you to immerse yourself.
Here, you will be entertained, educated, amused, informed & enriched.
All you have to do it take your time, and make the leap.

It helps that it is also, beautiful.  The Art Nouveau frontage, the grand sweeping staircase (of this former Carlton Cinema) as you enter is a thing of beaty and, irresistibily, it draws up UP.

UP is where the most delicious coffee is.

UP is where in spite of all muttered good intentions as you ascend those pretty twisty stairs, the first sighting of a homemade Lemon Cake or Victoria Sponge will leave you powerless to resist.
Anything you want, just give the cake.

It is up to you how you want to do this.
For myself, the Optimum Book-Shopping Experience goe thus.
First, we are talking about an ACTUAL physical thing. That's why I am here, and not buying books sitting on the loo, hoping the Wifi stretches this far, with a Kindle. (no disrespect Kindle, but I am sure alot of your transactions happen there.)

Browse the shelves.
Pick up books.
Feel them.
Smell them.
Examine cover.
Red the back
Open, check font, paper and spine.
(Note: A book may be rejected & replaces, at any point, during the above sequence).

There is one final test I carry out before I decide if it is a Yay or a Nay, but it is a secret.
Not secret because it is terribly clever and high-brow, secret 'cos you will think I am ridiculous if I told you.

Once selection(s) is (are) made ........ THEN coffee.

Never coffee first.

Peruse Selections in an increasing caffeinated, cake-fuelled high.
(Note: this part of The Process is academic.  You will be buying all of them.  We know this.)

Gaze out of that beautiful bay window, if you are lucky enough to have scored yourself a seat there.  Look past the anti-pigeon net, feel like an Elizabethan m'lady locked up in an evil Uncle's beautiful house watching the Cheerful & The Free below go about their lives. #princesscomplex?

IN fact, what I can see from my vantage point within this cocoon of dignified, latte-rich serenity are a series of mobile phone repair/unlocking shops, e-ci vendors, bookies (that is book-IES, places not generally know for their excellent espressos, or books) & H. Street Jewellers.

Withdraw back into this other world, just for a little while longer.

Finish your FlatWhite/Cappu/Whatever, it is time now, Sweetheart.
Time to re-enter the world of parking attendants, mega-super-uber stores & pasties shops.

For me, it will be a while till I can get myself back here.  Such trips are always bittersweet.

But, fortified by these few hours, I shall float along buoyed up by today's purchase until I can get me to another of my Happy Booky Happy Places.

Wherever in the world it may be.


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