Small joys

Thanks to Marie Kondo, there’s a whole lot of talk about “sparking joy” at the moment, mostly in the context of auditing/justifying your clutter. It seems a shame to only acknowledge tiny moments of pure happiness when you’re contemplating whether or not to incinerate an old sweater, so last year I stole an idea from chuckle maven Moose Allain and started cataloguing my own small joys on twitter. There’s no real purpose to it, just a thread of tiny sparks worth acknowledging. Perhaps getting them down in words somehow makes them more real, more cherished? Anyway, here’s a few: 

  • Looking up at the sound of a jet, only to see a tiny bird flying past.

  • The sound of a tent zip.

  • Picking exactly the right size screwdriver first time.

  • Draping your arm across your head like some kind of limb hat.

  • Reading Polly Vernon’s Grazia column on the loo.

  • Realising that The Crown will eventually have to do an It’s A Royal Knockout episode.

  • The beeping of the till at WHSmith in Victoria Station that sounds exactly like the intro to Take On Me.

  • Smacking a Tunnock’s Teacake on your head with just the right force to break the shell into even shards that can then be picked off savoured.

  • Going round the house and opening all the blinds in the morning. The small joy of pretending to have the awesome power of making the sun rise.

  • Hot air balloons. Flying in, hearing, spotting, everything.

  • Giving a lost tourist directions.

  • That brief moment of nirvana between trailers and film, when the screen is black and silent and you’ve momentarily forgotten what you’ve come to see.

  • The boy immediately falling asleep at the end of a bedtime story.*

  • Michael Hutchence introducing the sax solo in New Sensation by shouting “trumpet!”

  • Catching something, anything (rare).

  • “Washed and ready to eat.”

  • Peeking behind a book jacket to find another bit of bonus bronze design.

  • Sending and receiving postcards. Really must do this more.

  • New book smell.

  • Old book smell.

  • Building a dam, changing the course of a stream, even just a little bit.

  • Desire paths.

  • Finding your receipt in a book you bought decades ago.

  • Finding someone else’s annotations in a second-hand book. 

  • The recorded announcement on the Leeds-York train that for some reason sounds like “We will shortly be arriving at … Björk”.

  • The way the tittle and umlaut line up just so in Björk.

  • Sitting at the front of the top of the bus. Yes, even when you’re forty.

  • … even better than this, sitting at the front of the Docklands Light Railway and pretending to be the driver.

  • Cello.

  • Getting the family parking spot closest to the door at Tesco, aka the best damn space in the whole damn car park.

  • Spotting the ISS.

  • The fortnightly evening clink of everyone’s recycling bins leaving home.

  • Observing correct Kit Kat protocol – from the fridge; thumbnail foil-score; snapping off a digit; snapping digit in two; cold milk chaser.

  • Discovering an accidental waferless all-chocolate finger of Kit Kat. Not sure if this still happens, but I like to think there’s still some out there, somewhere.

  • Kit Kats in general. I should probably make a separate list of Kit Kat-related joy.

* There are of course innumerable boy-related small joys, most of which are unique and fleeting. Just this morning he accused me of being a bad lawyer. I have no idea why.