Things I Love

The smell of a baby’s head was not on my list of Things I Love but the instant a friend told me it was on hers I was aware of a question that had been gurgling quietly in my mind for years. Why does a baby’s head have a smell? And why do the heads of all babies, or at least all I’ve encountered at close quarters, have the same smell?

My friend, a mother, also finds a loving glow in stretching cats and sleeping dogs, potato bake, red toenail polish and lamb roast, and she sets the tone beautifully for a day that must be happier than the day of Things I Hate on Monday. Not that getting those hateful things out in the open and perhaps out of the way was not helpful.

The instigator of the Things I Hate column, Abundance, as he is known on my blog, takes me way back with one entry in his Love list, plastic toys in cereal boxes. Abundance is a Newcastle businessman who finds a rush in being astonished by a dish in a restaurant, getting precisely the right amount of sugar in coffee, and having cafe staff deliver just what he likes without asking. That presumption would leave me thinking I was there too often!

My list of Things I Love is in no particular order but at the top happens to be a special fave, thick cotton sheets. I’ve heard them referred to as hospital sheets, and when they’re washed and dried in the sun they have a stiffness that suggests they’ve been starched.

Rain on a tin roof, and who wouldn’t list that! Unfortunately all our houses bar the first have had a tile roof, and I wonder, sometimes when it’s raining, if there would not be a market for a device that could sit on a tile roof and transmit to a small speaker the sound of the rain.

Little boys showing off their biceps. They strain, they turn their head to look, and they strain again waiting for something to happen, and you’ll make his day with a wide-eyed WOW.

The smell of freshly cut lawn is one of my delights and often the reason I mow the lawn. Sometimes I mow just the back lawn because that’s where I’ll be spending the day.

I have a thing for old radios, whether they be mantel radios or intricate communications receivers, and it persists even though I never listen to them. They evoke for me the wonder I found as a child in the whistling pitch of shortwave and foreign languages fading in and out. Sadly there is no such wonder in distance for anyone now.

Verandas. Not porches, definitely not porches. And just one of the reasons I love old country pubs is the veranda. Whatever it’s attached to, a veranda suggests to me coolness and relaxation and looking out lazily on the world.

Bread made by people who are proud of it, the smell of sweet black tea, the call of owls and other nocturnal birds, and Oxford dictionaries.

Arriving on a bike at the top of mountain, chicks disappearing into the mother hen’s feathers, old rowboats, driving through the few blocks around my home as I set out on a holiday, the first tentative bird song just before dawn, the glow of a sunset under a ceiling of lumpy clouds, the smell of pipe tobacco and smoke (still!).

Happy women (of all ages), being surrounded by bush, watercolour sketches, canvas tents, swirling black clouds and looming storm fronts.

Small restaurants frequented by non-English speakers, a dog or cat nuzzling my hand to pat it, rubbing a horse’s nose, a river in the still of early morning, snatches of flamenco music, doing something I didn’t think I could do, cooking pizzas in the pizza oven I didn’t think I could make, wide-eyed babies looking directly at me.

Tiny houses, a pulsating cicada chorus, a row of emerging seedlings, the cerulean blue of a cloudless summer sky, my shed after I’ve tidied it and blown it clean with compressed air, the mystery of a lone brick chimney among a few ancient citrus trees, the buzz that follows exercise, my iPhone, an eggplant bush heavy with the bulbous purple fruit, the aroma of hops.

Feel better?

Please share with us your list of Things You Love, the big and little things that can lift your day.

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