Within or without?

Where does happiness come from?

Do you make your own or does it arrive as a gift from others?

These days I’m a relatively happy person. But then I’m lucky – a roof over my head, a partner to share life’s ups and downs, enough food on the table and no financial worries. It’s a good start and it means I don’t wake up every day fretting about the practicalities of life. But after that, I think it’s probably more about attitude than anything else. We all know that waking up feeling cross or sad or scared (for whatever reason) sets the tone for the whole day, whilst starting out feeling positive generally results in a much better day.

So, with my positive hat on (ooh – perhaps I should make one), here are some (simple)things that have made me happy recently…

Gosh, I realize now that my ‘happy’ certainly originates close to home: eggs from our hens and things made from them (ice cream and French toast), a spot of mending, some (British wool) knitting and a jar of honey from some friends’ bees. The preserved fruit that went with the French toast came from further afield, but I did bottle it myself… only the maple syrup was not a product (at least in part) of my own work.

Clearly what makes me happy is domesticity. How about you?




Finding pleasure

What makes you happy? New shoes? Going to the cinema? Champagne? A walk in the park? Diamonds?

It’s different for everyone, and it changes as we get older. These days I get much more pleasure out of ‘doing’ rather than ‘possessing’. Experiences with my friends and family give me much longer-lasting pleasure than I ever get from ‘stuff’. And being creative -making, growing or cooking – makes me incredibly happy. Of course, there are things that I own that I love and wouldn’t want to be without: my knitting needles and crochet hooks; my laptop (old by current standards); my work light; my new varifocal glasses; my mp3 player (ancient by current standards!) for playing audiobooks… But I don’t want to replace them. Newer versions would not make me happier.

Judging by what we see presented in the media I am the exception. You only need to think of the queues that form when a new i-phone is about to hit the shops to realise that this sort of thing really means something to lots of people. I do wonder, however, how long the joy lasts. Is there a constant desire to have the latest/newest/shiniest/most fashionable ‘thing’? So that as soon as they own the new thing, they are thinking about its future replacement. And there is plenty evidence (here for example) that materialism does not make you happy.

So, this weekend, when I had two days to do as I pleased,with no one else to think about (Mr Snail was away helping my sister dismantle a shed) I didn’t rush off to the shops, I painted the hallway, I planted potatoes (in pots in the limery) and me and the pups did lots of this:

The only thing missing from the pictures is the tea and biscuits!

I do need to do some shopping soon, but that’s for seeds… which you only own for a short time before they magically transform into something else!!


Happy day

Today I know that I have made at least two people smile… that’s something I would like to achieve every day.

A pair of odd socks

A pair of odd socks

First, I finally completed a pair of socks for Mr Snail from yarn that I bought at Wonderwool. These socks are very unusual for me, in that I wasn’t able to make the colours in them match up exactly, because there is no regular repeat in the dying of the yarn. I am usually very careful to get an exact pair, but that is not supposed to happen with this wool, Anyway, Mr Snail certainly smiled when he was presented with them, despite the fact that it’s too warm to wear the things at the moment.

A little jolly chunky bag

A little jolly chunky bag

Second, I received an e-mail to let me know that a little parcel I sent on Wednesday had arrived safely and was found by the recipient in her woodpile, where the postman had carefully hidden it out of the weather. This particular parcel was sent to a blogging friend who is having a hard time at the moment and needed cheering up. Despite only having met over the internet, I had a real desire to make her smile and so I got out my crochet hook and yarn and made her a jolly chunky bag, just slightly smaller than the one I made for myself as a project bag the week before. They say that when life gives someone lemons, you should pour them a gin and tonic (or something to that effect), but it’s much easier to post a piece of crochet than a gin and tonic! Anyway, her delight at receiving the parcel also made me smile, so we are clearly recycling happiness here – what a great way to end the week!

A pair of jolly chunky bags

A pair of jolly chunky bags


An aside from my usual subjects… but we are celebrating chez Snail because Mr Snail-of-happiness’ first book has been published on Kindle.

In fact it is part of our sustainability strategy… poly-employment… a way to make our income stream more robust.

But really I just wanted to share the happiness!


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