Monthly Archives: July 2021

Reasons to be Cheerful #7: Instructions for Looking up at the sky from under the water


Anyone else remember the pleasure of doing this?

First you float in a leisurely fashion on your back, then spontaneous as an otter you roll backwards underwater looking upwards.   As you go under there are  2 bright shades of blue tilting away from you; the water and the sky beyond it. Now watch your bubbles of air mushrooming up through it, and look! there are your feet upside down like an astronaut.

What do you mean the water goes up my nose?

If I start feeling like a commuter  grinding up and down the pool I do a few of these and remind myself why I like the water 🙂

Reasons to be Cheerful #6 ‘Beethovens 6th Symphony’


Alright I know he’s got a grumpy face; but this is happy Beethoven. He’s sort of/ maybe walking up a river, hearing some birds, and getting caught in a storm. Then the sun comes out for some al fresco dancing.

This time of year I suggest listening outside with a mug of tea and a Kit-Kat, look up at a near-by tree with the deep blue sky behind it, and let Beethoven take you for a wander.

If the storm does come you can go in and have your Kit-Kat there.

Reasons to be Cheerful #5: Stretching


Oh dear I had to look up how to spell it, – ‘stretching;’  – I’m not talking here about rigorous callisthenics or anything Joe Wickes might get up to. No this is the simple pleasure in an idle moment of rotating your ankles or, (if  you’re built that way) doing up your laces with straight legs.

If you do have time while the kettle’s boiling, work up from the feet,  I suggest travelling around your body to check it’s all still there  – that’s some amazing machinery, most of the time most of it’s working; and if that isn’t a reason to be cheerful what is?

…Ps Don’t force anything!  most good things happen slowly,  let yourself enjoy the feeling of those sinews gradually  stretching out; then run like hell to catch the bus.

Reasons to be Cheerful #4: Paul Klee ‘Fish Magic’

Talking of the Clangers…. this painting seems like it’s from a similar world, playful and mysterious, childlike but grown-up; and isn’t one of the challenges of being a grown-up? Hanging on to some of your playfulness and being fascinated by small things, like a child in a sandpit.

In fact don’t read this nonsense! – take some time to just look at the picture, let your mind wander if you want you can tell me what it makes you think of 🙂

(there’s a much bigger version here: Big One!)


The Clangers

I’m not big on nostalgia, but you can’t deny ‘The Clangers’ was great Children’s TV ;  imaginative, and inviting imagination. Oliver Postgate provided a beautifully mysterious  narration over a pretty avant-garde soundtrack; and it was, well poetic.   I mean here’s a bit from the opening of this episode:

“this calm serene orb, sailing majestically among the myriad stars of the firmament”

… you know if you talk down to children you make them stupid.

Not bad role models either those Clangers. they were all about working together and figuring things out kindly; at least I think that’s what they were saying…

Tomorrow ‘The Teletubbies’ (I’m kidding)

The Clangers :Episode 1



Reasons to be Cheerful #2: ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’


I wake up at 6.50 every day, and Monday to Friday while I’m brushing my teeth and shaving, Radio 3 play  some ‘Bach before 7.’  To be honest after the weather I tend to switch over to that new-fangled pop on 6 Music,  but I start the day with a bit of truth; Bach goes somewhere deeper than emotion, into the blood stream of things.

You could listen to anything by him (except maybe that church organ stuff) but how about this dark and broody end to St. Johns Passion? – reminds me a bit of Black Sabbath.

365 Reasons to be Cheerful #1: ‘Dear Prudence’ by the Beatles

Yes – 365 days worth of  something beautiful or uplifting each day.  Will I keep it up everyday? –  doubtful, I’m going camping in 2 weeks – but 365 of them will happen;  it should be easy I’ve thought of a few already.

Here’s one to kick off:


‘Dear Prudence’ off the White Album  – I mean I could pick a lot of Beatles songs but this is  my favourites today; kinda  beautiful and lumpy sounding at the same time.  Love the sleepy atmosphere woken up by that heavy bass line, and when the backing vocals come in and don’t stop where they should… there’s a lot to hear in it.

Written in Rishikesh for Mia Farrows sister, Prudence, who Lennon thought was taking the meditation too seriously…  well you already knew that didn’t you pop pickers; but did you know that’s Paul McCartney on drums?


You can Listen to ‘Dear Prudence’ by clicking on this

if you want to make your own suggestions you are very welcome.