25 Good Things

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Great music, played with passion and flair.

Really good cheese.

A sunny place with flowers and trees and birds and the sound of trickling water and maybe a butterfly skeetering past.

A tense sporting event of boldness and endeavour, watched with friends.

Words, written in such a way that you want to read them fast and slow at the same time, and you eke out the final pages for as long as possible, and then maybe when you’ve finished you just go back to the beginning and start again.

Coffee, strong and dark.

The happy coincidence that the noise a male blackbird makes to attract a mate also makes the human heart leap with joy.

The warmth and humanity and sheer darned perfection of Detectorists.

Chips on the beach while wave-watching.

A bench, on which to sit and look at the intricate geometry of a tree or listen to the tinklings of a goldfinch or watch the swifts dance their aerial ballet or experience whatever happens to be nearby.

A walk, long enough to make you weary but not so long as to exhaust you.

The meal after that walk, knowing you’ve earned it.

The giddy squeal of swifts.

Spending time in front of a piece of art and drinking it in.

A really – and I realise how middle-aged this makes me sound, but dammit I’m 54 so if I can’t sound middle-aged now then when the hell can I? – comfortable pair of shoes.

Making a kite stay in the air for more than three seconds.

A lavender bush heaving with bees.

Chair, book, pool of light.

Taking exercise for long enough and hard enough that you don’t feel sick but do feel you’ve done something healthy.

The memory of a perfect evening.

The irrepressibility of a wren.

The smell of a good meal cooked by someone else.

The swifts – and I hate to go on about them, but honestly they are perfect – absolutely tearing it up past my office window.

The feeling that nothing need be done just yet, so you can just lie on the grass in the sun for ten minutes more.

The kindness of fellow humans.

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