Ah, hello there, old friends. You know, it was my birthday yesterday. If there are any days in the year when you are allowed to wallow in a little introspection a birthday is one, eh? Here is a list of things I have come to be certain of over the last year. There are 32, one for every birthday. Except that I am actually only 31 – I had already compiled the list at the point at which my Grandad wrote on my Facebook wall with my actual age. I’ve officially reached the age where it is possible to respond “Somewhere between 30 and 33ish” when people ask how old you are. So, here we go….
1- Joy is contagious.
2- Kids have fun when their parents have fun.
3- So, always zoom down the zip wire, leap about on the trampoline and paddle in the sea.
4- Everything tastes better when you pick it yourself; strawberries, tomatoes, figs, apples, blueberries, bogies. (Ramona fed me one of hers earlier, so not as good.) (I kid.) (Kind of.)
5- Luck is a state of mind.
6- Counting your blessings, going with the flow and looking on the bright side are three naïve adages that will actually make you feel pretty jammy.
7- There is a vast chorus book of songs that can be played by the lazy ukulele tinkerer with just 3 chords, G, D and C. They won’t always sound beautiful but a nice rhythmic strum is probably more important for a singalong.
8- Sometimes a singalong is exactly what you need.
10- Horses are a hard one to depict in facepaint.
11- Almost everything in the world can be bought second hand. Potties, beds, make up.
12- But there is a reason brand new shoes end up in charity shops. They will nearly always be uncomfortable. Everyone should own one good pair of shoes that were bought for their feet and their feet alone.
13- There is a natural version of almost everything and it is nearly always better than the collection of toxins we can buy in a tube.
14- Banana peel is an AMAZING soother for mosquito bites.
15- Banana (also rosemary leaves and porridge oats) however is a rubbish and messy alternatives to shampoo.
16- A tidy house is much easier to keep tidy than a messy house. (I have learnt this through the process of having viewers stoping into check out our home when we were selling it.
17- Just because I now know and understand many of these things doesn’t mean I am going to do them all OKAY GOSH. *lives contentedly in squalor*
18- Getting older is a Good Thing. I don’t really envy the young ‘uns with their insecurities and doubts. I am sure with every year I become more ME and more okay with who that ME is.
19- There is very little funnier than an enormously ferocious trump coming from the bottom of a tiny wee baby.
20- Life is a lot more enjoyable if you try hard to think the best of everyone.
21- It is pretty hard to do that sometimes, so having a Someone you can talk things through with is really, really important.
22- It is really excellent if you Someone is able to figure out the perfect balance between listening and soothing and helping you think the best of people.
23- Garlic and fresh air is the prevention and cure for a lot of illness.
24- Fears can be conquered.
25- Once you are a parent, you should try and conquer fears, lest you pass them on.
26- Labour and childbirth, and the extreme challenge and ecstasy that come with them, assures me I can do anything. There isn’t a challenge left in this world I couldn’t overcome.
27- A generation of children nurtured in love and peace will spend their lives building a fair and beautiful world.
28- Parenting is A LOT more important than I ever thought it was. I always imagined I’d take as little time out to “parent” as possible, in order to spend more time building a fairer world.
29- The relationship between childhood and social justice is crucial and inextricable.
30- Trying to save time and effort by putting wasabi right in the middle of your pre-rolled home made sushi doesn’t work. There is a reason this ancient Japanese cuisine has deigned wasabi on the side, applied to each bit, as the best way. >WASABI HEADACHE<
31- Every child is born good and lovable and with an investigative mind. If given freedom and love they will learn all they need without even a dash of interference.
32- Even a baby just four months old is able to wriggle enough to grab a biro and draw all over their forehead while you are doing a bit of Twitter.
(A naughty number 33: Photos where the perspective makes some people look little and others big never get old. Hehehehe. Look. Hehe. It’s tiny little Ramona sitting there. Hehehehe.)
PS – We are still in Lake Como, Northern Italy, and it actually looks as if we might have to send the lovely Betty back home to Blighty for repairs. It wasn’t just a little fix she needed, but some major jobs that the local mechanic wants to charge us over £1000 for. We’ll follow in a couple of weeks and set off again, in a new direction. But we are still trying to make our minds up about it all…