Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Lovely Day

Today, as you may have guessed from the title of the post, was a very nice day. (It was also not a very nice day at all, if we're talking about the weather; but I wasn't.)

In the morning - less than an hour after waking up, actually - I got on a train and went to Bath with a few of my friends. I absolutely adore Bath, it's one of the loveliest cities I've ever been to, and I really must remember to do some research into the university. We didn't really shop much - we walked around the shops, but in a rather vague, not really looking at anything sort of way, which was fine by me. Then we went into a lovely little cafĂ© by the river and ate houmous and pitta bread and salad and chips - yummy! It was a lovely little trip, though potentially the least  productive supposed-shopping I've ever done. No matter, I should be saving money anyway.

When I got home, I had a sort-of-picnic with the boyfriend (by which I mean it was pouring with rain so we packed up a picnic and ate it in the summerhouse in my garden) and then watched An Education, which is a brilliant film, and stars the lovely Carey Mulligan and a Colin-Firth look-alike. (I can't remember his real name. He looks like Colin Firth; that's all that matters.)

You may have noticed the massive overuse of the word lovely in this post. It is actually deliberate, I promise. Because to me, the word lovely means contentment; and that is how I felt today. It is also, conveniently enough, what this post is about. Funny that!

Contentment. Isn't it a wonderful feeling? Not quite happiness - there is a subtle but significant difference between the two. Happiness is a bright, dynamic feeling - it leaps out at you, rather like an over-excitable puppy, and plasters a tell-tale smile across your face. Seeing a friend you haven't seen in a long time; hearing some really really good news; laughing until your stomach hurts with your best friends - that's happiness.

Contentment is more demure, more understated. It is the calmer, quieter puppy, which curls up neatly on your lap like a friendly cushion and stays there, keeping your legs warm. It's a warm, deep bath in the middle of winter; a quiet afternoon with the people you love most; a day when everything just goes smoothly. If happiness is bright golden sunshine and a clear blue sky, contentment is the light of the setting sun, or the glow of a gently crackling bonfire.

I've been thinking about this quite a lot lately, and I really do think contentment is my favourite feeling in the whole world - inexplicably more wonderful than happiness itself. I'm also really nosey, so now I have a question for you: what makes you feel content? Please do comment below, I would love to see what people have to say on this matter!

I'm going to end this post with a video of Bessie Cursons singing Wouldn't It Be Loverly at the auditions from the first series of Britain's Got Talent, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this song seemed appropriate because not only does the song have 'lovely' in the title, but I also think the lyrics describe very well the exact sort of situation that creates contentment.

Why this particular version? Well, one of the memories which first sprung to mind when I was trying to think of examples of times I'd felt content was sitting with my family tucked up in my duvet with a warm drink watching Britain's Got Talent. It's something we've always watched as a family - probably one of the only things - and I think that is one of the main reasons I love it. Plus Bessie is utterly adorable, and One Day I'll Fly Away from Moulin Rouge, is played briefly at the end. What's not to love?!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sand, Sea and... Rain?

I arrived home this afternoon after spending two nights with a friend of my parents who lives in Penzance, in Cornwall. Nothing monumentally exciting, but it was a very pleasant couple of days - I read lots, wrote a bit, ate good food and saw some beautiful views. And I had gingerbread men for breakfast - what more could you want?

The main event of the trip, and the reason for our going in the first place, was to visit The Minack Theatre; an absolutely stunning open-air theatre built into the cliffs at Porthcurno, near Land's End, with amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean. (It also sold really scrummy vegan flapjack - bonus!) Now, in the pictures on the postcards, the Minack looks like this:

But as is so often the way, the weather was not on our side, and in reality, it looked like this:

Still beautiful, but not quite as practical, particularly once the rain had started to pour down in bucket-loads. So, sadly, the show - an excellent performance of Anthony Burgess's Cyrano de Bergerac - was called off during the interval for health and safety reasons (one of the actors had already slipped while trying to climb a ladder, and the rain didn't look like it was going to be letting up any time soon). A great shame, but they do say that every cloud has a silver lining - and believe me there were pleasantly of clouds! - and now my dad feels guilty and says he'll take me to see another play soon, which is very kind of him, and rather exciting.


One of my self-imposed tasks for the summer (see here) is to take more photographs, which I did with relative success. So I shall end this post with a few pictures I took.

Oh Cornwall, how I love you.