Monday, 27 December 2010

Pym and putting my feet up

I've read a lot of Barabara Pym over the last few months and if you haven't had the pleasure of reading any of her novels, I strongly suggest you do. They're a gentle pleasure, mostly set in the late 40's and early 50s and including a large amount of vicars and women of a certain age but she is a very sharp observer of the small things that make up day to day to life and there is a very strong wit running throughout all of her work.
I remember a line in one of her last books "Quartet in Autumn", where one of the characters who is about to retire says something along the lines of "Well why shouldn't I knit, and listen to the radio, read novels and think about my clothes if that's what I want to do?" And having finally reached a quieter period after the last few frantic weeks of sorting out presents, dealing with the snow and Christmas, that, my friends, is exactly what I intend to do.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Simple pleasures

I haven't blogged for a while as a combination of an evil migraine, a rogue bit of gluten causing havoc, the cold weather and the subsequent ME crash have left me largely sofa and bed-bound for the last few weeks meaning that sadly, very little in the way of eating, knitting or reading has been getting done!
Since I last blogged I've had some big news, I passed my MSc with merit and will be starting a funded PhD in January, which is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time! The plan for December is meant to be winding down with work and trying to get myself organised, so as to be in the best shape mentally and physically to start hitting the books again in the new year. Alas, the ME fairy seems to be conspiring against me on this one, as the aforementioned poorliness is leaving me with very little energy at the moment but deep down I know that it is all pay-back for living on borrowed energy for the last six weeks or so. Fingers crossed, I'll be feeling perkier soon and dear old body, I promise I will start looking after you properly and letting you have lots of rest and delicious food!
One thing I have been doing today whilst stuck in bed and struggling to read or write much, is watching Nigella Kitchen on iplayer. I actually don't own any of her cook books and have somehow managed to only catch snippets of her previous series but I've been delighted by this series. I think she gets mocked a lot for her enthusiasm for cooking and eating but as I was watching, I realised that she's one of the only foodies that I've seen or read that genuinely seems to take as much pleasure in eating as I do and for that reason, I have a new found love for Nigella! (Her recipes looked pretty good as well, so if Santa would like to bring me her book for Christmas, I'd be delighted!)
One of the things she mentions several times that really struck a chord with me was the idea that you should take your pleasures where you find them, especially in the simple joys of things like the beautiful golden colour of cooking squash or the feel of cold flour running through your fingers. I watched Amelie again recently which has a similar theme running through it and it got me thinking about how true it is, especially for people with ME or other illnesses, that instead of resenting all the things I can no longer do, I need to start being more grateful for the simple things that I can still do and which do bring me joy. Like the happiness that touching soft, colourful yarn brings or the pleasure that talking to a friend gives you. So I'm curious, what are your simple pleasures?