Who would have thought that I would be writing a list, on a machine, whose workings I don't understand, at the request of a lady thousands of miles away, all at the age of sixty nine. But why not, indeed!
Taking it for granted that family and friends need no listing being precious beyond mention, in no particular order, Things that Make me Happy.
1 Attending Derby County Football Club matches.I expect few to understand. Its an occupation, a leisure activity sometimes without rhyme or reason. In winter it is often cold beyond belief. The seats are uncomfortable, it is impossible to leave the car park within forty five minutes of a match ending, it is also expensive and the team is frequently terrible beyond belief. (Last year we were relegated from the Premier League with the least points ever in the leagues history.) Yet our ground is called Pride Park.
It is also real, live, as opposed to television, always intriguing and sometimes exciting. We live primarily in hope and expectation. It is both tribal and traditional. I have a brick alongside hundreds of others set in the pathway outside the ground. Going from memory mine is inscribed 'The best of times, the worst of times.' (Hard Times?)
My wife attends with me, as do over 25000 diehards. Bellicose ranting and sabre rattling is not for me. I don't 'hate' the opposition as many scream weekly. But I love my football, have attended since 1948 and hopefully will continue to do so until I die. I might even consider having my ashes scattered in the penalty box.
I have what could loosely be called a 'museum'. It houses a multitude of objects, of little value in the main, but a source of pleasure and education to many. Some exhibits have been bought, some given, some retrieved from roadside skips. There is no theme, I collect anything that takes my fancy, size and space permitting.
Puppets, Jack in a Box, an Etch A Sketch and Sindy plus horse (and pram, and scooter, caravan, dog, etc,etc.)
Sewing machines, valve radios, wicker basketed child's weighing scales and cameras by the half dozen.
Butter makers, Victorian bike lamps, treddle boot and shoe repairer and magic lantern.
Victorian bottles, cut throat razors, and a grappling iron. (used for fetching bodies from the river.)
Gas masks, WW2 helmets, field telephones and Morse Keys.
The list is endless and is added to on occasion. Finding a new item gives satisfaction, I love it, the local school 'borrows' and we are all happy. Last 'in' so to speak, an old type blood pressure monitor in a wooden box. When did you last see one in use? (Bought at the car boot in Hexham Cattle Market)
You start with one item and a pattern emerges. I acquired a ceramic 'potty, to which was added a pot bedpan; along came a pot urine bottle and a stone hot water bottle and now the blood pressure monitor. This little group incidentally fascinates the infants at my daughters school. (And I suspect the young teachers who have not experienced the joys of using such objects.)
3 The Purchase of Anything New. New to me, that is, as opposed to new 'new'.
I suspect this is a throwback to a childhood that was poor in the extreme. (Poor but not unhappy.)
I remember an early Christmas toy; a tinplate, wind up toy jeep maybe five inches long.. Then a small toy cannon, even smaller that fired matchsticks. A huge leather football that gained immense brownie points with other 'kids on the block'. A second hand bike for passing the eleven plus (bought by a relative) and a Raleigh bike with Sturmey Archer gears bought from the proceeds of a paper round, aged fifteen, 7/6d a week.
A 9mm gun, surreptitiously hidden away from adults when I was around sixteen. (I now abhor guns, aged sixty nine.) A second hand 197cc Francis Barnett motorbike and later an old minivan which I lovingly brush painted. Plus a Mini Cooper S; boy did that car get me in trouble but how I loved it. Ladas, Moskvichs, Fiat motorhomes, all passed through, all appreciated, all eventually superseded.
Marriage and our first real home, a draughty, rented semi-derelict farm cottage, but we were in heaven. Five houses later and we are in the first year of what will almost certainly be our last home.
The pattern is obvious. Toy jeeps for pennies, bungalows for many thousands. all treasured but all temporary I fear. But in this material age 'retail therapy' is still as good as any drug to banish the blues. (Perhaps it is a drug.) I can buy virtually buy anything I want within reason at this stage of my life. And thank goodness I still get pleasure from the ability to purchase 'something new'. I am not known for my sartorial elegance but I must admit I do like my new corduroy trousers I bought last week. Plus my wife says my new jacket bought in the sales looks very smart. It ought to, she chose it!
Now comes the tricky(for me) bit.
I am being instructed/taught tagging by one my mentors, Frogdancer hence this blog 'Six Things That Make Me Happy.' Or in my case three! I've tagged six people, and I've probably done that wrong. The joys of getting old, technology never was my strong point even when I was still alive! Anyone can take part, feel free. If anyone out there responds, that too will make me happy.