Bob victimised me with the Seven Loveable Things meme. Here are my loveable things.
- Matt. I have never met anybody like him, who goons around but has a black box for a brain, who is extremely ambitious but has nothing to prove at anybody’s expense, who is both wiley and kind to everybody, slobbish and dedicated, a supremely relaxed organiser, accommodating but not a pleaser. In appearance Matt is a medium-sized bear or lion. He wolfs down book after book like one of the big dogs he grew up with, neglecting to chew half the words. He is intelligent, thoughtful, intellectual, not academic. He is cheeky to authority – and friends’ mothers. He suffers fools grudgingly and is completely free of spite. He’s an intrepid cook. He likes feats of endurance, and he’s not macho.
- Certain people I spend a lot of time with, piss off and am pissed off by, know like the back of my hand and will always know and love, often crossly.
- Cheatingly, I’ll lump together physical nature: being in the sea where there are waves and swell, and ideally rock pools, sand, shells, cliffs, a promenade, and a harbour to look at; mountain tops off the beaten track when you realise that you are a speck existing as you do only by the ingenuity and collective commitment of others (I like to feel lucky); places dark enough to see into the depths of the sky at night; Britain’s attenuated summer dusks; snow
- When paths cross. In remote locations when we go walking Matt and I have met some people we are wistful about to this day. The former tenant landlord and gliding enthusiast at Hesket Newmarket who met Hanna Reitsch. The miner-farmer waiting for his friend’s coffin in the pub at White Mill. The Welsh sheep farmer with hip replacements careening down the mountain side on his quad bike. The woman I stayed with during a conference in Baltimore who had me selling t-shirts at a gig by O’Malley’s March, the now 61st Baltimore governor’s Celtic rock band. It’s very poignant how such rich, dense lives can pass each other with the merest brush.
- Also like Bob, happy children – when they’re delighted or mentally tickled, when they’re playing together. Relatedly, watching the children you know grow, particularly if you love the parents. The children in my road make me smile – I hope they won’t outgrow me, although they probably will. On Sunday my friends’ little girl, of whom I’m legally a guardian, lay in the crook of my arm on our sofa while I occasionally pulled the string of our sycamore seagull mobile – it was magic
- Miraculous technologies that transcend distances, connect, document, cost their end-users less and less. The wondrous Internet. My new G1 phone; my netbook. And the social Web – YouTube, Flickr. And true gifts from open source developers – Audacity, GIMP. The superlative recorded lectures of the RSA and Gresham College. Open access journals.
- Walking – purposeful striding towards a destination many days’ distance away, and also roaming the metropolis.
I would, like Bob, say music but it’s no longer generally true – not sure why.
These are less loveable things than things to revere, so I’m going with Martin’s approach and listing second order – sensual – things, because you can roll around in them much more comfortably*.
- Burrowing into bed on a winter weekday morning with Radio 4 on
- Long-distance outward journeys in a car full of friends
- Baby animals; their pratfalls and frisking
- Shallow, slate-bottomed Welsh mountain rivers on hot summer days when you’ve been walking far in your sandals and you don’t take the footbridge.
- Live music outside on balmy evenings
- Cuddling the babies of close friends
- Because it’s topical, when you have been walking all day in bad weather, sheltering in the kinds of places animals favour, and you are cold, wet, tired and pained, getting to a place with a bath and feeling your spirit unfurl like a butterfly out of a cocoon.
- Excellent vegan deserts such as Mrs Morpurgo’s chocolate-rasberry torte, or Manna’s chocolate fondant.
- Putting my face in Matt’s cheek-beard and gently turning my head from side to side (he won’t stand for this – interrupts me with “That’s enough!”).
- Intoxicants. The happiest I’ll every be (I reckon that is the sad physiological truth) was my first pill and the most I’ve ever laughed was the acid I took at my parent’s house while they were away when some of us decided to take the newspapers to the recycling. But I’m long done with funding people-traffickers and pimps, so – like Bob, maybe more so – I now prefer to get sloshed, crowy and excitable, and perhaps dance (and I never fight).
- Warm towels
- Spring foliage and sprouts
I would be most interested to hear more on this subject from from Papanomicron, Peggy, the man who moved to San Diego, the man who moved to Dorset, the man who moved to Philadelphia, Sarah and the New Centrist – oh he’s done it, so in that case, the man who never blogged again.
*I am too prim to talk about carnal affairs but they should be there somewhere – count them in.