Fairytales – another of the small things in life

I have been thinking about fairytales – and for once I am not being satirical! Just recently I sat down to watch Enchanted – great movie – a sexy Amy Adams might have helped too. But seriously – it’s a wonderful film – full of joy. It’s not my usual fayre of Crime Thrillers, Film Noir, The Bourne series, sci-fi etc, but I’m beginning to like them more. And I don’t even have kids to watch them with. The same is true for Stardust, and more recently Snow White and the Huntsman – although I think the wicked witch steals the show. But enough of me dribbling on. Watch any of these movies and I guarantee that you’ll love them. Fairy tales are one of the small things that make life great – even the dark Brother’s Grimm ones.

George

Your bed – another in the occasional series of those little things…

Your bed …what more do I really have to say? We all know and love our beds; they are our best friends. After you’ve have had a busy day, be it good or bad, sinking into your bed is pure joy.

When your muscles are fatigued, your brain is fried, or you’re simply just partied out, your bed welcomes you into its warm embrace. Your pillow gently cradles your head and you begin to drift into that period of semi-consciousness. For a few moments you can feel your body becoming pleasantly heavy under the weight of the blankets. Your think hazy half-coordinated thoughts as you fade out. You never remember going to sleep – how could you?  But you sleep the best deep sleep imaginable.

Then you wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and relaxed, a nice tingle courses through your muscles as you stretch under the covers. You’re just happy to lie there for a while as light infiltrates the room telling you that another day has arrived.  You cling to the pillow, reluctant to move from this moment of absolute bliss, but your sleep has energised you and soon you are up and about, motivated and ready for anything.

Your bed is one of those small things that make life grand! Treasure your relationship with it.

The Night Sky – another one of the simple pleasures in life

When the night draws back the curtains to reveal the universe within which we live, I find myself gazing upwards in wonder. Light is reaching us over unimaginable distances, distances that would blow your mind. And that light has taken thousands of years to get here. What we actually see is what once was, not what now is. We are looking directly into the past. Wow! A colleague of mine once told me that Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years – well he said absolutely everybody would come to see it. And I think he’s right.

Those distant twinkling points of light, the blues, reds, whites, greens and oranges (if you ever get a chance to see The Jewel Box formation, you’ll see all of these colours – it’s magnificent) might even harbour life. How amazing is that? Are there planets circling those far off stars? If you can escape the city lights you’ll see the Milky Way, our home galaxy, stretching across above you – vast gas clouds obscuring some of the stars, the centre a dense, if distant, white mist of light full of countless stars, and perhaps even a large black hole.

 And if you look hard enough, or are fortunate enough to have a telescope, you might even see distant galaxies, collections of billions of stars slowly spinning tens of thousands of light years away, maybe even further. We are in a big, big universe and every night we get to see it, to gaze up and see our home. It’s awesome.

To cap it off you may be lucky enough to see a shooting star tear across the sky, a brilliant ephemeral streak of light that sparkles into obscurity. Once or twice I fancy I heard them – a faint ripping sound. When I worked in the Kimberly I made a rule that I would see five before I went to sleep each night, and I was rarely disappointed. I was looking for diamonds, but the only ones I saw were in the sky – but they outshone everything else.

A Day With Nothing Planned

There is something rather wonderful about waking up in the morning knowing that there is no urgency to get out of bed. You can simply lie there and watch the light brighten the room. For busy people these days are like gold. You can stretch and glory in the fact that you did not need to set the alarm; you might even want to turn over, hug your pillow and snooze for another half-an-hour.

Then you can have a leisurely breakfast while you unhurriedly read the paper and consider what you want to do with your time. If it is a nice day you might take a book outside and sit in the sun; if it is a cold day you might decide to stay in watch some television. Sometimes you might decide to stroll up the cinema and watch a movie in the middle of the day, or go down to the beach to swim in the glorious ocean.

Days where you have nothing planned give you time to think about things in a clear and undistracted way. They remind us of what a day is, and the fact that we often don’t appreciate how precious days are because we are so busy. Days with nothing planned is 24 hours of total ‘me’ time that is all your own. Treasure them.

A Bunch of Flowers

There is something special about a bunch of flowers. I’ve been in so many dull rooms that have been hugely lifted by the simple act of placing flowers in them. The dullest of small apartments can feel ‘happy’ with such a small addition. If you get a good florist, and at this point I’ll plug my local florist Evergreen Florist in Dianella, Perth who do awesome colour arrangements, then you can bring vibrancy to wherever you live and also wherever you work. So many offices lack any colour or soul and yet it’s so simple to remedy this.

You can also give a bunch of flowers to brighten up someone’s day. I don’t know anybody who would not be uplifted by this gesture. It may be a cliché to send your partner some flowers but, like most clichés, there is reason that it is so popular. The scent and colour of a bunch of roses can take the sting out of most disasters. A bunch of flowers says that you care and you’re thinking of somebody.

When I was recently in London there was a florist, The London Flower Shop on Long Lane, just down from where we were staying. It was selling single stems rather than bunches and I wondered why. Perhaps because there were so many small flats nearby and people might not be able to afford a big bunch. But even a single flower carefully placed in a room brings happiness and light. The young lady in this shop fussed over us and put us together a small bunch that brightened up our apartment. She also made sure that we got flowers that hadn’t fully opened so they lasted longer – and we were able to pass them on to my aunt after a week. When we left England two weeks later that same bunch of flowers was brightening up another small apartment and still going strong.

It’s just one of the many small things often overlooked or taken for granted that makes a real difference and can lift people up.

Take a Look at a Painting

Have you ever looked at painting – I mean really looked closely? Examined the brush strokes up close? Looked at the colours and the different shades within each part of the picture? It doesn’t really matter what the picture is, although I must admit that I am quite partial to landscape, it’s how the artist has meticulous constructed his painting, his vision.

Stand back from the canvas and then stand back further. As you move back, the individual brush strokes lose their coarseness and start to smooth out to produce an even shade, and as you move back further the form of the image starts to become clear. The green shades magically become a field, and the blue the sky, or perhaps a lake – a bit plastic perhaps, but that change as you move back further.

Then the picture starts to gain life and depth. The colours no longer look uniform; you can see the subtle differences and shades. The pale bits in the sky suddenly become clouds and the trees have leaves. A little bit further back and there is movement. You can see that there is a breeze blowing from left to right and leaves on the trees look like they are in mid-sway. The smudge of yellow in the field is somebody’s hat, and the pale red is the shirt of her companion.

This is the magic of a painting. On their own the brushstrokes are simply a line of paint on a piece of canvas. But the artist has, through clever use of colour and an eye for the texture of their subject, made a group of colours into a picture that can draw you in and let you almost feel the scene in front of you. This is an awesome talent.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Lenoardo da Vinci, Reubens, Van Gogh, Monet, or Joe Bloggs from up the road who’s never been heard of. They have the talent, and seeing it is one of the great joys of life.

Buying a carpet

Now, I know that this sounds just a little boring, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not just the carpet that is beautiful, especially the hand-made ones, but there is also the whole process of buying a carpet. I’m talking about buying a carpet in the Middle East, although your local trader might give you the same service. You don’t have to buy a carpet; you can simply enjoy the show.

There is something incredibly relaxing about sitting in the shop, having a cup of tea brought around to you, and then going through the styles of carpets on offer. The number of carpets seems to muffle the stress of life and take the sharp edges off the day. I have spent a long time in such places, learning the difference between those carpets from Tabriz, Kerman, Esfahan, Qom, Nain in Iran, Bukhara, and Samarkand, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, along with various tribal designs from the Middle East. And I have enjoyed every minute of it.

I should note at this point that I hate shopping, but shopping for carpets does not feel like shopping to me. There are the different materials, from the wool on wool carpets, cotton-based carpets, the silk inlaid wool carpets, the silk on silk carpets that are so fine that you’d be scared of walking on them for fear of causing damage. But this is the point about carpets; they are made to be walked on. The more you walk on a wool carpet, the more you smooth the coarse wool fibres and make it feel soft and almost silky.

I am a sucker for a good Persian carpet, but that is my preference, there are many other options for fine carpets. And carpets don’t lose their value either. The more you wear a carpet, the more character it gets, and, provided that it is a genuine hand-made carpet with good tight knots, the better it will become. A good carpet is a feature of your house, both as a work of art, and also as friend to your feet.

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