Objects of Small Pleasure

Sometimes it is just a word or phrase that I catch as it or they emerge from the radio. Yesterday it was a man voice talking about what he called objects of small pleasure, which were in his case pencils. I didn’t catch the rest. Small pleasures make life liveable, for me at least. They don’t overwhelm or threaten an anticlimax, they are comfortable, hand-able and pocket-size. Like the daffodils he bought for me, or the little jug she gave me for Christmas two years ago, or the taste of tahini yesterday, or a line in a novel that makes me smile. Such things aren’t everything, they won’t solve much – world poverty, hunger, the coronavirus or stop the floods – but they cheer, they lift and that has to be enough.

I walked this morning as usual even though they threatened howling gales and it surprised me how many people appeared to be awake. They weren’t out like me but windows were lit in the darkness. A Hopperesque scene with those oblong blocks of yellow light, usually from a ceiling light. No figures just a shape of yellow, seemingly amorphous, floating in the black.

Reading Worsley’s book she informs me that it was women who used to sew together the printed pages of a book before it was bound, which in those days printers didn’t do, this was then courtesy of a bookbinder. She also makes lots of connections between Austen’s sewing and writing. Her niece describes her as ‘doing two things at once: ‘working’ on one task with her needle, and another with her brain.’ Nice. I find sewing does the same for me. On the next page Austen is quoted as saying: ‘I really am impatient myself to be writing….I can command very little quiet time at present, but yet must I begin.’ Amen to that, Jane. Me too. Me too. I am impatient to be writing but first things first. That form. It must be attended too.