Get Happy!

When they were small: Rose and Lily
Friday sees me at A&E again with another episode of flashing lights and severe visual disturbance in my left eye. I have the great good fortune to be seen by the same consultant ophthalmologist who saw me last year and remembers me. Even better, she’s able to tell me that all appears to be in order and sends me away with a follow-up appointment in six weeks’ time. Hopefully all I have to do is wait for my eye to settle down, although the whole frightening business has given me a few sleepless nights.

Trying to concentrate on the positive, I was interested to read what Professor Paul Dolan has to say about happiness in this recent article from the Telegraph. Apparently, nobody gets any happier with extra cash after a salary of £50,000 … fair enough, although I reckon I’d be like a dog with two tails if I ever made half of that! Joking apart, because, of course, happiness is not about material possessions (although there’s a lot to be said for new shoes) I certainly agree with Professor Dolan’s five ways to be immediately happier. Getting outdoors, for example; we have a little south-facing suntrap at the back of the kitchen where, assuming it isn’t lashing down with rain like today, we’ll often take a short tea break. And having started thinking about the nature of happiness, I’d add three suggestions of my own:

1. Sit in your favourite place. I love our large bedroom; it’s one of the rooms which attracted to me to our deeply unfashionable dormer bungalow. With its duck egg blue walls and dual aspect windows, it makes me very happy indeed to sit there on a lovely afternoon feeling the sun on my face and looking out across the sea.

2. Read a good book. As well as being a big fan of nature writing, I love a bit of ‘rural noir’. This week Daniel Woodrell’s bleak, poetic Winter’s Bone has distracted me from my eye problems.

3. Flick through some favourite photos. Revisit those happy memories for an instant pick-up. This one (top) of Lily and Rose makes me laugh every time I see it – despite the protests from the girls about putting them in the same clothes (which saved a lot of scrapping, I can tell you). Both my daughters have exciting challenges this week which will bring big changes… but it doesn’t seem a moment ago that they were little dots eating milk lollies! And I also love this photo of Ma … who’s probably laughing at something naughty she’s said!


Jane Lovering said…
Lovely pics! I find looking back at old photos is a great way to make me feel happy, mostly at the fact that I will never again have five children under ten. Also I'd add, watching a set by a comedian whose work I enjoy is enough to make me grin like a loon, long after it's over.

Hope the whole eye issue settles back down, and that everything turns out well...
Margaret James said…
I hope the eye problems settle down soon, Chris. As the consultant at the Exeter hospital said to me - as we get older, we're all allowed some floaters and flashes. She explained about danger signals and I now know when and how to get help straight away, should the need ever arise.

As for Rose and Lily - aren't they cute? I miss my babies, who are now great big girls.

I find watching a riveting drama series on telly makes me happy. At the moment, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell are doing it for me.
Chris Stovell said…
Well, you certainly had your hands full, Jane - and you're still very productive, novel-wise anyway! Happiness suggestion noted and thanks for your good wishes.

Thanks, Margaret, it's reassuring to know it's 'allowed'! Rose and Lily have grown a tad since then too! We're watching Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, although it's not quite Poldark. Ma's complaining because there's no one 'scrummy' for her to look at!
Clare Chase said…
I do hope you’re very much better soon, Chris. I love your happiness tips - I can definitely see why the view from your bedroom makes you cheerful! I do find getting outdoors is good – but at the moment it’s chucking it down, and freezing cold, so I think my recipe for happiness might be a fleece and a hot water bottle…!
Flowerpot said…
Sorry to hear about your eyes, Chris,but how lucky to have seen the same ophthalmologist. As for happiness, well I;ve never had any money so I wouldn't know what to do with it! Living in Cornwall I really appreciate the outdoors in the sun aspect of things - always lifts the spirits. And time with my nearest and dearest and Moll makes me happy too.
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, Clare - I tend to agree with your recipe for happiness today; it's like November out there!

I felt very fortunate, Sue - thank goodness. Yes, although I make jokes about how much nicer it must be to cry in the back of a Rolls Royce rather than an old banger, happiness isn't about money... although I would very much enjoy being able to help the children more or give bigger donations to charity. Your blogs about living in Cornwall and getting out and about with Moll make me happy too.
Irish Eyes said…
Well my friend, one thing definitely high on the happiness list is reading your blogs, and that, as we say here is "not plámás" [flattery]. I hope the eye is settling and that today will go well for you. Prayers said and fingers crossed. I love to come into the kitchen early in the morning when the household is still asleep, watch the dawn come up over Dublin and listen to the first song of the day...the blackbird. Sets the tone for the day. Next doors two rescue terriers set an altogether different tone, but we endure. ;-)
I like your happiness tips. I love the view from our bedroom too and the one from the shepherd's hut. A walk always does it for me too. Hope the eye trouble has receded. Eyes are such precious things.
Frances said…
Chris, lots to comment on in this post, beginning with that adorable photograph of Rose and Lily as little girls. Lucky little girls to be your daughters. Of course, they know this, but I could not resist saying so, too.

Oh, that odd visual sensation of "seeing" flashing lights. I've also had it happen a few times, and been reassured by my eye doc. It is so reassuring to have a trusted doctor when our eyes are so very valued.

I do like your reasons to be happy, 1, 2, 3. As years pass by, my top three might change a bit, but I do seem to hold on to the value of unencumbered time. Currently, I am delighted by my ability to easily sleep through at least eight hours every night. Waking up rested and welcoming a new day...well, it's priceless to me. Nature and good friends are other treasures.

What a joy to see this post includes the photo of your Ma. And above i see some wise comments from some blogging pals we know from way back when.

Chris Stovell said…
IE, thank you so much and may I say likewise to your blog. You describe a fine view to start your day... even if the musical accompaniment from the two terriers is not to your liking! x

Elizabeth, yes a walk helps to put everything in perspective too, your right. And thank you - I think the eye will take a little while to settle down. Rather scary times but hopefully it will settle down.

Frances, that's very kind of you! I can't quite relax as I still have lots of visual disturbance but at least I have a follow up appointment. Sleep is so important, isn't it? I shall have to take some tips from you! I sleep better after a run, but I'm taking a short break from that (I hope) until my symptoms ease. Yes, too, to nature and good friends - several of whom have posted here! All best to you. x

Popular posts from this blog

Roman Holiday

Dairy, Sights and Fairy Lights

Cakes and Cadair Idris