Finding More Happy (Part 3)

12 Jan

So today to find more happy has been a little bit challenging given the background noise I’m having to deal with – but I guess that’s life – finding more happy is a way to overcome that noise and look for the proverbial silver lining on the shit-storm surrounding you.

Given I had stuff to do, I decided maybe happiness could be found in the gym. A few minutes later on the rowing machine and I’m not feeling it. So I try a few sit-ups, a few squats and a few star jumps.

They don’t really do the trick and so instead I just stretch from top to toe and enjoy the feeling of being alive. Yes, I am here – I am happy.

Then I do a few minutes on the cross-trainer finished off by a pretty sedate ride on the exercise bike.

Happy? Well, I tried. But wanting to try harder I pondered how I could up my finding more happy.

Busy at my computer I heard the neighbours outside unlocking their front door. I sprang into action.

Yanking open my entrance door, I smiled wildly. “Hello, how are you?” I beamed magnificently at my neighbour helping his five-year old daughter up the stairs. We exchange pleasantries before I say: “I’ve bought this book, it’s a beautiful book about Victorian houses and it has pop-ups and things you can open – would you like it?”

Before they can answer, I’ve rushed off to get the book. I hand it to the little girl who looks at it in wide-eyed wonder. Her father looks at me. “Are you sure, that looks a fantastic book, that’s very generous.”

“I’m very sure I say, I hope she likes playing with it as much I did!”

The little girl collapses onto the floor excitedly opening the pages and pulling the papers to reveal the contents.

She looks at me in awe.

“Thank you,” she says, in her gorgeous little-girl’s voice and quickly turns her attention back to the book.

“You’re welcome,” I reply, meaning it from the bottom of my heart.

Yep, found more happy today 🙂

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Finding More Happy (Part 2)

11 Jan

When I woke this morning I was really happy at my adventures from yesterday. They may not have been big – I found a vintage board game! But, what got me was how that little task gave me a great sense of mission – and it was fun. It wasn’t something I HAD to do, it was something I WANTED to do.

And so today, I decided to carry on with this.

Today, I would continue my search for another vintage board game in a different part of town via some more as-yet-for-me-unridden-bus-routes. So I start the day at East Finchley. Now, there’s a very good reason why I started the day here, and that was because I had slyly put into my diary a little property viewing.

It wasn’t something I was meant to be doing and I don’t really want to move, given I’ve only been in my revamped flat a few months, but in the spirit of finding more happy, I decided I would go take a look and stop wondering and pondering and instead go see.

So, the block of flats is ideally situated on the A1 which is great for traffic watching. It also backs onto a little stream and the multi-million pound homes of The Bishops Avenue. The block ‘Belvedere Court’ is a Grade II listed block built in the 1930s and the reason why I so wanted to look inside was my attraction and addiction to the circular bit – and I’d found a flat for sale in one of the circular bits!!

So once inside the building, replete with in-keeping carpets, I look around wanting to feel like I wanted to live there. Once up inside the circular reception I am prepared to be dazzled and wanting to move straight away.

Alas, the feeling never comes. But I am happy with that. I am happy that I don’t want to move and that I have now seen and got rid of this idea I had in my head.

And so onwards.

East Finchley doesn’t produce much of interest and I soon find myself on the bus to Crouch End, via a small transfer at Muswell Hill (again!).

Crouch End is a fab place. There’s lots of shops, bars and restaurants and the area, despite being a bit of a grey, dreary day has a lovely bustle to it. And so I bustle here and there…and despite managing to resist temptation at many lovely looking food places, cannot walk by the bath buns for sale. 90p lighter and a whole inch wider on my hips I continue.

Many shops later and I am dizzy with offerings – but nothing of the vintage game offering which is what I’d come out in search for.

I did, however, manage to pick up a delightful pop-up book about Victorian Houses. I know I’m not the target, but similarly to the bath bun, there are some things I just cannot resist.

Up and down the high street I wander. In and out. Here and there. And then in the last shop of the Broadway, stuffed unceremoniously under a shelf full of soft toys I spy my prize: The Game of Life.

How I didn’t burst into song is beside me. I clutch greedily at the box, tossing the soft toys willy-nilly and canter to the cash desk.

“I have been looking all over North London to find this!” I declare to the serving lady. She looks at me bemused, perhaps wondering to herself if I’d heard of the internet.

“I didn’t want to buy it online,” I tell her, anticipating her thoughts, “I wanted the thrill of the hunt – to find my happy!”

At this point, even I am aware of my OTT exhilaration and start to edge back. Need to tone it down.

She grabs the game from me and smiles broadly.

“This is a brilliant game, I was playing it with my nephew just recently – he got so mad because he kept having babies!”

OMG I almost faint – a fellow gamer who understands my thrill!

“I’d never played it before – you will have so much fun!” She continues.

Encouraged by her willing excitement, my spirits raise even higher and I spout yet more about my life that she doesn’t need to hear – in great detail -about my board game day and how excited I am.

I’m sure she wished she’d never asked.

But she didn’t say anything.

Instead, she listened enrapt, like I was telling her the *most interesting thing* ever. And then she replied. “You know, that sounds so much fun, you must come back and show me the photos.”

Finding More Happy? Her comment made my day 🙂

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Finding More Happy (Part 1)

10 Jan

I’m not really a self-help kinda girl, but when I was passing by the shop and saw this sunny, bright yellow book in the window, I had to buy it.

It’s called: “Happy is the new healthy” by Dave Romanelli.

Now I’m not going to go all in for a book review, and to be honest this book is pretty much what you expect – pithy, positive and full of platitudes – but, there was something about it I liked. Maybe it was my state of mind at the time, but I wanted to reach out and find more happy in my life – not that I’m unhappy, but I figure there’s always room for more happiness.

And that’s what I liked about this book, because it inspired me to look for and try and create more happy in my life. I’m not talking all big, shebang whizzy stuff that beams your face out, but more simple happy. Everyday happy that makes you feel today was memorable because…

So, having finished the book in a little under two hours I decided today’s happy mission was to go buy a vintage game for our board game party we’re having at the weekend. This is a job that could so easily be done over the net – but that was not the point. The point was to get out and explore and find. Plus, the sun was shining – so that’s always a great start.

Muswell Hill was my first stop off point and having scoured round the charity shops for vintage games, I just wasn’t feeling it. Yes, I’d found Countdown – but I never really liked that anyhow, so what was the point?

So I caught the bus to Highgate, I didn’t allow myself to look at my phone or to check my emails. I simply looked out of the window. It was marvellous.

Again, treasures of the vintage game world were not to be had in Highgate and so I decided to call it quits and walk back via the park. However, with the sun still shining I decided to go a different way back that would take me past the cemetery.

I pondered how I would be a long time dead.

Then decided to go to West Hampstead. Unbelievably, the bus arrived just 30 seconds after I had made that decision and again I sat NOT LOOKING AT MY PHONE and enjoyed looking out of the window. Even when the passengers were up in arms about the diversion I inwardly smiled – I’d never taken the route anyhow and so had no idea where I was meant to be going and instead took notes of the places I want to go back and eat and drink at.

After a variable quality cream cake at Wenzel (I really wanted a pretzel, but they don’t sell them, which surprised me as I thought they looked German and I was quite sure all German bakeries should sell pretzels, but maybe I got them confused…) I trotted round the shops some more. Up and down the high street I went like some sort of lunatic shopper. But alas, there were no vintage board games to be had.

Not willing to give up, and given the sun was still shining I decided to aim for Finchley and Frognall – via the map on the roadside. Yes, there was no google maps for me – I was doing this analogue style and perfectly enjoying the experience of getting lost.

Down the Finchley road I found myself enjoying the polluted traffic fumes while again noting down future restaurants of interest…before long I found myself in Swiss Cottage.

“What exoticism!” I exclaimed to myself. And smiled smugly.

Of course, the truth is – Swiss Cottage is a dual carriageway, but no matter, happy can be anywhere.

And so I continued my trot. In and out of the shops, peeking, seeking and not quite getting anywhere. Until…there stuffed behind a teddy bear jigsaw puzzle I found my prize “Go For Broke.”

Ecstatic I jumped my little frame off the floor to clip the corner of the box into my grabby hands. 1994. 25 years old. Perfect. Vintage.

More Happy Found 🙂

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The Landlord’s Prayer

9 Jan

Today I pray, that I may wake,
To no phone calls of fury, or texts in the night,
That sweet, sweet, sleep has not fooled me right,
That all is well in the land of tenants.

Today I pray, that I may breathe,
And keep my patience, beyond the ease,
Of a plumber charging me a million quid,
To fix a leaking pipe or bang a busted boiler.

Today I pray, that I may see,
A property inspection where the tenant has cleaned,
And doesn’t moan about mould in the windows,
That they never open.

Today I pray, that I may go on,
About my daily business and not have to argue about the rent,
The reasons it’s late, unpaid, hijacked by aliens,
And otherwise spent.

Today I pray, that I may not argue,
About who’s responsibility it is to change the light bulb,
Bleed the radiators, flush the toilet,
And live in a house (in a tenant-like manner).

Today I pray, that I may have patience,
To see me through the governmental abuses,
The penal tax reforms, selective licensing, extra charges, forms and all,
For being a sodding landlord.

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Would You Hire A Hitman Online?

2 Jan

OK, I admit, maybe that’s a bit presumptive that you’d want to hire a hitman. But, you know, times are angsty and it’s always good to know someone’s got your back…

Funny thing is, when I started writing Eternal Forever some years ago, hiring a hitman online seemed a really sci-fi thing to do. Ordering a murder over the internet wasn’t really as taken-for-granted as Deliveroo bringing your food. And it worried me that I was stretching the credibility of my story too much…I mean would anyone really believes this happens online?

Fast forward to 2018 and hiring hitmen for real online is in the news. Obviously, there’s news and fake news, so you’ll have to take everything with a pinch of the white stuff – but let’s be honest, do you really have to suspend your belief so much about what you can buy online?

I found the article fascinating. Not only because I learned there are scam sites purporting to be hitman hires (note to self – be wary and do due diligence on reputable sites), but also because this entire article reads like some sort of crazy story in itself!!

Real life is certainly stranger than fiction!

The unbelievable tale of a fake hitman, a kill list, a darknet vigilante… and a murder

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