As you are aware, or you wouldn't feel like reading this, life after the magic seventy is rather different from life at forty. How banal: I know, but it seemed to need saying. What I have been noticing, even relishing, in the last little while is the way in which happenings, occurences and so on have changed their weight and balance. The concern for what goes on in the world remains and is heightened. A colleague recently said she couldn't bring herself to listen to or watch the news. Surely, the least one can do is listen and watch. What I wanted to put to you, today, though, is the pleasure in things one might not even have noticed in earlier decades. I like to 'do' the crossword in a national broadsheet. (The inverted commas are because I finish it but rarely). Usually, it is on the back page so all you need to do is turn the paper over and there you have it. It's easy to check yesterday's and it's easy to start on today's. However, recently the paper has been going in for more advertising so rather too often there is a full page advertisement on the back page and the crossword is inside that page. On the days when it is on the back page I feel a little flutter of satisfaction, something warm in the region of the solar plexus that goes down in to the core of me. All is right with the world.
A parking space just where you most need it drops some more warmth in to that happiness bucket. Sometimes there is a real letter in the post, hand written and from an identifiable source. Plop goes another fluid ounce. Opening things provides an inexhaustable source of potential pleasure and contemporary pain. I can't open things. Someone close to me gave me a gadget which grips a top and, when a handle is turned, obligingly takes it off. That's pleasurable. At work in the hospital I have to use my teeth on a bottle of water. No, I can't take the gadget with me, silly. My bag is the weight of a small toddler anyway. I do have grave doubts about the professionalism of being caught with a bottle in my mouth when an enquirer turns up at my desk but I do need the hydration and, of course, the swallow of warm glow that comes with success. Finding I do have some more toothpaste, cupboarded but forgotten, is another example of this delicious phenomenon. Someone who uses a singular verb with a singular noun has the same effect; further, sea water that is warmer than you thought when you plunged bravely in. I am struggling to find a simile that will really illuminate what it is I am relishing and trying to share with you. Is it like gulps of warm soup on a cold day as, one after the other, they settle in your tummy and spread warmth down your arms and round your back? No, it's not quite that. It's gentler and more profound: a sort of central 'yes'. Never mind. One must just hope that the bucket keeps replenishing before one kicks it. Bore da