Fay Weldon has got a new book in the pipeline- an exploration of what makes women happy.
"With her inimitable wit and insight, Fay Weldon offers her wisdom on
the subject of female happiness and how to achieve it. What makes women
happy? Nothing, for more than ten minutes at a time, so stop worrying.
In this new book, Fay Weldon offers wisdom gleaned from a remarkable
life, a brilliantly successful career and a fair share of trouble. She
explores what makes women happy; how our lives, jobs, families, bodies,
desires, morals and responsibilities affect that happiness, and what we
can do to lead more rounded and desirable lives. As she delivers the
verdicts, she also delivers short stories, or perhaps parables, to
prove her points. To be good, she concludes, is to be happy, to be
happy is to be good. The Victorians had it right. A blend of
philosophy, storytelling and self-help, this inspirational work shows
Weldon at the peak of her creative powers, as brisk, stylish and
entertaining as ever."
Would it be terribly pedantic to question exactly what kind of happiness she is talking about: the slightly demented, near hysterical happiness of a dream coming true? Momentary bliss? Or something more deep rooted- barely acknowledged contentment? A sense of peace? Security? A sugar induced coma?
Happiness you see comes in many guises: not all of them guaranteed to have you smiling like a simpleton in the irrational fashion you take up in the first throes of love…
I’ve been dithering about this all day. Fay Weldon manages to establish a list of only six universal triggers for female happiness: top of the list of which is chocolate. Which plainly goes without saying. But only six? Did she never hear the phrase, "happiness is made of a thousand little things, which often pass unnoticed?" Did the woman never eat fish and chips straight out the paper? Shave her legs to scrumptious, strokeable smoothness? Feel overcome with joy at the sight of a tidy living room?
Try as I might to be permanently miserable readers, it is an impossible task. I am happiness on a butty, even in the face of desertion and next to no chance of the pleasure of a weekend lie in in the foreseeable future. I am a glass 90% full person. A beaming idiot in black trousers and false eyelashes…
And so my darlings because I didn’t think you would be able to endure one thousand pieces of my personal happiness, I hereby present to you the top one hundred things that keep this Mama happy. Just writing it made me smile.
What Makes Me Happy.
- Finley’s hair. Because it is silly.
- Violet and Basil washing up liquid from Tesco.
- Finding treasure in a car boot sale full of junk.
- 7.30pm, because my beloved babba is finally asleep and I practically dance with joy.
- Paying bills. Because I am so bad at it, part of me thinks I deserve a medal when I finally make it to the post office.
- Back tickles offered without bribes.
- An afternoon in the library. My favorite place in the world.
- Chinese noodles.
- Mind wandering right before you fall asleep.
- New shoes. New bags. New knickers.
- Great big enormous boxes of washing powder.
- Proof, in whatever form, that someone is thinking about you.
- Hotel rooms. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Sorry Mum.
- Long drives all by myself. Getting kind of lost.
- Coffee at Kath’s house. Even if it does make me feel shaky for the rest of the day.
- Men. I know. But I love them.
- Case’s in point: Robbie Williams. Jose Mourinho (sent by God). James Stewart. Say no more.
- The Rugrats cartoons.
- Wailing along with Crystal Gayle. Or Kenny Rogers. Or Meatloaf.
- Brushing my teeth.
- White bread: even though it practically kills me. Yep, I’m stupid.
- Christmas present opening at Mum’s.
- Moaning. I am embarrassingly good at it!
- Dreams. Never, ever, never had a bad one. Once had a riotously fabulous one.
- Johnsons baby powder.
- Beans on toast the way Mark used to make it.
- Buying myself flowers.
- Magazines. Mary, Martha, Vogue, Oh how I love thee…
- Handwritten letters. Postman Steven plodding up my path with said such letters.
- Handwashing vintage linen.
- Unexpected texts from someone I’ve been waiting to hear from.
- Waxing my pine table.
- "Its A Wonderful Life" .
- Deciphering the messages on the back of old postcards.
- Finley’s morning greeting. (Good morning Mummy, did you have a lovely sleep?).
- Doris Day films on cosy, grey afternoon’s.
- My bed. I kind of take a moment to feel happy that I’ve made it back to bed in one piece. Every night.
- Poetry. Even when I’m chocking back unbidden tears.
- Secondhand bookshops. Delicatessens. Tatty tatty junk shops.
- Fendi perfume.
- The possibility of being in the first throes of love all over again. Please.
- Gin. For silly happy nights. Never with milk.
- Scrumptious piles of newly ironed tea-towels.
- Sex and the City re-runs. Friends re-runs.
- Prestat Violet Cream’s.
- Selfridges food hall. Harrod’s food hall.
- Carry On films. I never said I had taste did I?
- Cake stalls at church fairs.
- Red wine and very, very strong cheese.
- Dancing with Finn.
- Music channels. All day every day.
- Shopping all by myself. Like I’ve escaped from the asylum.
- The miracle that is foundation and Touche Eclat.
- Newly waxed eyebrows.
- "Rainy Night In Soho" by The Pogues. (You’re the measure of my dreams..)
- An old Rupert Holmes album called "Partners In Crime"
- Prawn salad. I swear I’m gonna look like a prawn soon.
- New babba’s. The smell of them.
- Afternoon naps. In bed.
- An armchair, a brand new book and a hot chocolate.
- Things too rude to mention.
- Lavender scented Eygyptian cotton pillowcases.
- Going to the theatre. Or even the pictures.
- The house when its dinner party immaculate. Twinkly and clean.
- Summer days in the back yard.
- Mum’s roast dinner. Or scouse. With brown sauce.
- Fabric shops.
- Shake and Vac. I shouldn’t but I do.
- My friend Judy Dargen. Cos I love her.
- Living in this road.
- My Helen. My Gabriel. How much my Finn adores them both.
- Christmas Eve. Because it’s the cosiest day of the year.
- January because it bleaches all your misdemeanours and offers you the opportunity to re-invent yourself.
- Stationery. Writing paper. Pens. Paper-clips. Etc, etc.
- Tomorrow. Bound to be even better than today.
- Simple Abundance.
- Finley. Finley. Finley. I think I must have dreamt him up.
- National Trust Manor House’s. National Trust Gardens.
- Dad’s cup’s of tea. Hotter than anyones elses.
- Getting on like a house on fire with someone new. Curiously wonderful. Curiously scary.
- The internet. It is an obsession I will have treated one day very soon.
- BrocanteHome. It’s mine and I love it.
- Hydrangeas, sunflowers, yummy, yummy hyacinths, and conkers.
- Foot rub’s. Though with pig’s trotters like mine they don’t happen very often.
- The Sunday Observer Food Magazine.
- Meals out with people who make me giggle.
- The scrumptious afternoon that is Starbucks and Borders.
- The heart shaped baskets on top of my wardrobe.
- Crying till my mum makes me laugh.
- Kissing. Like a teenager.
- My ceasarean scar. Convinced myself I would probably die and plainly didn’t.
- The silly year round wreath on my front door.
- Having my milk and Sunday papers delivered.
- Pink. The colour. Though she who sings makes me laugh too.
- My dishwasher.
- Being a Mommy.
- Growing teeny tomatoes. Thank you Clare.
- Hope. Possibility and dreams of New England. Someday.
Goodness I could go on and on…
Go write yourself a happiness list. I suspect it is good for the soul. Thank you Fay Weldon.