It’s been a while since I put fingers to keys, and I’m a little overwhelmed by how different a place the world has become in the past six weeks. These here are crazy times, to quote an old Boom Crash Opera song — which no doubt shows my age (but also proves I’m not old enough to be included in a high risk category based on the number of years I’ve been kicking around the planet).
My own life has had a series of challenges lately, which explains my absense from my little patch of cyberspace, but that does not mean I have taken a hiatus from pursuing the delightful in my world and life. In fact, I’ve become so much more attuned to things that bring delight that I have had to start differentiating between delights and things that make me happy (like hearing my kids laughing together) and occasions of pure, unadulterated joy (such as the moment my beautiful little blue car was driven down the ramp at the Smash Repairers after being fixed, looking and smelling like it had come straight from the sales showroom).
Dark days demand delights, I say!
So rather than limiting myself to a top five or something, here (in no particular order) is a list of truly delightful things I have encountered in the past six weeks or so — many of which you are welcome to avail yoruselves of even if you are in quarantine.
Listening to Whole Albums Uninterrupted
We all have favourite songs and tunes we could listen to on repeat for days. But every now and then, it is an absolute delight to listen to a whole album in its entirety: just as the artist wanted you to hear it. In the age of the playlist the album is easily forgotten — but you can bet your last roll of toilet paper the artist who recorded it thought long and hard about which songs made the final cut and what their sequence should be on a record. Here are some albums I think benefit from listening to uninterrupted:
- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — Ghosteen
- Max Richter — Recomposed: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
- Thom Yorke — Anima
- Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
- Anything at all by Christine and the Queens
There are so many more…and they can transform doing the ironing or anything else uninspiring into something delightful if you let them.
Snippets of Song Lyrics
On the flip side (SUCH a bad pun it’s almost delightful), snippets of song lyrics sometimes stop me in my tracks and produce a moment of sheer delight. Here’s one I rediscovered lately when listening to the Foo Fighters’ song “Times Like These”…
I, I’m a new day rising
I’m a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
What an image! Love, love, love it. Delighful.
Anyone with hair will tell you that the best thing about having a cut and colour is having your head massaged when they wash your hair at the salon. It’s deeply relaxing, a true act service, and an unmitigated delight. Enough said.
I used to joke my kids know the only two things I have regularly delivered to our house are books and wine, but since I’ve ditched the drink the only things likely to turn up on our doorstep are boxes from Booktopia. Book deliveries are, to my mind, full of the promise of good times to come — particularly becase they are also likely to involve my favourite armchair and a cup of tea.
The last delivery I received included the tome that inspired my journey of delight, Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights. Not surprisingly, the volume itself is delightful — it is small enough to hold comfortably in your hands, but not so tiny as to be twee. It’s also beautifully bound in silvery grey, with a lovely slip cover, and contains short essays I want to savour rather than tear through.
Finishing Pride and Prejudice
It is a truth universally acknowledged that children become readers in the laps of their parents…
I still read aloud to my kids. I’ve done so ever since they were newborns and I suspect I will continue to do so for as long as I have literature to share with them and they have the time to hear it. For years now, most of what I have read to them would probably be considered to be above their reading level but which I think they’re capable of understanding. In any case, since we’re reading together they can always ask questions if there are things they don’t comprehend on first hearing.
The last novel we read together was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I can honestly say that nothing has brought me greater delight in the past few months than hearing both children tell me it was the best book they’d ever read when we finished it. That said, I should qualify that statement by saying I found it equally delightful when my younger child described someone having a colossal dummy spit at school as “doing a Lady Catherine de Bourgh”. Parenting win.
Oh! Delight in a seashell…especially at the tail end of summer. We are so spoilt with our seafood around here, thought in the interests of sustainability we try not to go overboard with our consumption. Even so, The Bloke is and always will be a sucker for a prawn roll — not the variety that looks something like a spring roll, but the kind where you cut open a fresh bread roll, butter it (in most cases generously, in his case obscenely), fill it with freshly shelled prawns and slather those with seafood cocktail sauce. Yum.
Me? I’m an oyster girl through and through, and the Sydney Rocks have been absolutely delectable this year. There is nothing more delightful chilled oysters on a hot day. Like today, even…
So that’s it for the moment, folks. No doubt we will need to indulge in other delights as the world changes around us. Some of these delights are accessible most of the time, others might have to be savoured even more sweetly when they become available again.
In the meantime, stay safe and well, and be kind to each other.