In honour of my 31st birthday, here are 31 beautiful things from today. (Cross posted to my main blog.)
1. I’d gone to bed before John and it’s after midnight when he comes to bed. I stir as he climbs in next to me and we have a sleepy exchange, the content of which I can’t remember now. He finishes with a whisper of “happy birthday by the way” and I remember that.
2. The next time I wake up (well, it’s not the next time I wake up because I had to get up for a wee just after dawn and Carla woke me up again an hour after that, but for poetic licence, let’s say the next time I woke up), John’s stood in front of me holding something in his hands. I move the pillow from on top of my head and grab my glasses to see what it is – two carrier bags, containing chole & puree, and barfi & other sweet treats. Yum!
3. I notice that without its dust cover, my book matches the bedsheets.
4. Lily woofs and helicopter-tails around the room when George arrives. She brings him shoes and circles his legs. Lily loves George.
5. I sit on the stately patio chair – which I call “my birthday throne” – while John and George (unsuccessfully) attempt to split the giant logs. We laugh a lot at their efforts.
6. The poultry spice – a “mineral supplement and general tonic” – smells like an old fashioned sweet shop.
7. After introducing himself, the voice on the phone says simply “I’ve got good news”. His news should save us anywhere between £6,000 and £10,000, and months of coordinating building work. Very good news!
8. Despite being washed many times, my fingers still smell of the breakfast curry.
9. One of the scaredy cats from next door half-raises his tail when he sees me. When I’m feeding him & his brothers, he likes me a lot and we have big hugs but outside of those times, he’s a shy boy. The half tail raise is progress.
10. My mum breaks a 31 year tradition by buying me a birthday card without a cat on the front of it (it had a Lily-esque springer on it instead.)
11. Not-very-garlicky mushroom, olive and fresh basil.
12. Parma ham and more not-garlicky mushrooms.
13. Tuna, chilli and capers.
14. I add a new simple living blog and a new comic to my feed reader. It’s inspiring and invigorating to find new fellow travellers – but a bit of silliness is always welcome too.
15. The cats stand at right angles to each other as they drink the leftover tuna water. From directly above, the white rims of the bowls look like halos.
16. Splashes dribbling down the side of the pan produce a burning smell but every now and then, the sweet comforting warm milk smell breaks through.
17. Lily’s brown spots are strangely soft and silky today. (#notaeuphemism)
18. I squeeze the butter muslin and the curds form into a pleasingly round sphere. When I unwrap it, the cheese will be imprinted by the fine check of the fabric.
19. It’s dark – overcast and under many layers of tree cover – but still the grass and ferns glow an unearthly green.
20. The rain is heavy and sonorous but not unpleasant.
21. “Listen,” I tell John after directing him into the bedroom. A wet roar drowns out everything else but it’s not rain on trees like we both first thought: it’s the beck, flowing more heavily than it’s done in months. Just a few minutes earlier, we’d step through it on the stepping stones left by the last flood. Next time we cross it, we’ll have to navigate it anew.
22. Amongst the lines of light and shadow, the black cat sleeps in a ball.
23. The other black cat is asleep in the dog’s bed. I find him there when I get out of the bath. He looks dramatic against the neutral cushion and pastel blanket. He blinks at me as I dance around the room.
24. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of playing hide and seek with the dog. I can see why cats do it now – hide when they know they’ve not been seen then jump out. I don’t bat with the victim with my paws though, I give her a hug instead.
25. It’s at this point – after I’ve inserted an earlier beautiful thing and had to renumber the rest about five times – that I realise it would have been easier to use an ordered list (<old>) instead of doing it manually. I don’t know if the pay off is worth it now though. Oh, and I realise this isn’t really a beautiful thing but do you know how hard it is to come up with 31 of them? Even on a rather jolly pleasant day? It’s hard! ;)
26. Now we’re flanking her on the sofa, there isn’t quite so much room to stretch out length ways so she stretches across it instead. Her head dangles over the edge, her tongue lolling, her lips flapping.
27. I savour the parma ham. It feels like it’s melting on my tongue but it isn’t. I think if I could only eat one type of meat again for the rest of my life, it would be parma ham.
28. I point John at the most recent Hyperbole and a Half comic about her dog. He laughs loudly as the dog twists its head further in an attempt at understanding.
29. We watch “The Counterfeiters” – the next in my short, impromptu German language film festival. The subtitles aren’t quite right for some reason and the mistakes remind me of child language acquisition.
30. Carla sits on my knee throughout the film. I stroke her, she purrs.
31. We look at the dark window – not at the world outside but at the rooms behind us. It makes the living room seem new again and through the doorway, the dining room looks so lovely that I can’t believe it’s ours.