Do you ever find the news tough to digest? It’s important, if not essential, to keep abreast of world events and I listen and watch, discuss the headlines with Mr M, think about political shenanigans, financial wrangling, education, the Jungle, Donald Trump’s incessant, alarming sound bites and barnet, the Syrian crisis, climate change and even the worrying inability of pandas to procreate. I immerse myself in it and try to fathom solutions…and rightly so, but it’s exhausting and often full of doom, DOOM, and a tragic dearth of baby pandas.
There are the ‘and, finally’ stories at the end of certain bulletins, the Today programme sometimes has a light-hearted feature and now and again a surfing beagle or a vociferous goat might make it onto the 6 o’clock news, but I feel strongly that good news -the kind that lifts the spirits, makes me want to cheer or do a small dance – is rare and sadly lacking on the box and wireless.
So, I have decided to start a new post series. Each week, diary permitting, I shall gather the kind of news that really does bring cheer. It is one woman’s answer to the drear and grim.
*shuffles papers*. Here is the anti-news…
(disclaimer/warning: it’s heavy on the handmade, the feathered and the leafy).
Jose Heroys came to my silver workshop last weekend. We had had several online chats earlier in the year but as I have, um, quite a few such chats every day, I had forgotten what we had talked about. For shame. It turns out that Jose crochets. She doesn’t just hook up mittens, mufflers and titfers like the rest of us though. Jose crochets BABY ROBINS…
So life-like are her baby tawny owls, that she posted them to an owlithologist (I’m certain this is a real word) Facebook page for the appreciation of owls in all their feathery glory and parliament, AND MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT JOSE’S OWLS WERE REAL. This brought me joy (although it didn’t surprise me, the women is clearly a birdy crocheting genius), as did the sight of this handmade baby owl perching on Jose’s hand. You can visit her website here (prepare yourself: there are tiny baby plovers and a wren nesting in a plant pot).
Otters were really really endangered when I was small. They were as rare as a glowing review of a wonky rock cake from Paul Hollywood. Things looked bleak because of pollution in our rivers and estuaries. They were at the top of the food chain and harmful chemicals built up in ecosystems meaning that the fish otters ate were either scarce or highly toxic.
In 2016 otters are no longer endangered. Their numbers are growing. They’re having LOTS of stubby-nosed, whistling, stickleback-chasing, swimmy babies because our waterways are MUCH cleaner and pollution levels lower. They are spotted fairly regularly in inner city Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol and in rural areas of every county in the UK and their numbers are healthier than they’ve been in many decades. This is bloody bloody good news. Read more here. HURRAH FOR OTTERS.
Last Friday I picked up some rhubarb on a day trip to Southwold. I’d been meaning to make Tess’s rhubarb and orange cake recipe for, ooh, 8 years. I decided Saturday was the day (I bake for each of my silver workshops) and I made and served it up during the break in my workshop.
It was moist, fruity and delicious. So much so that something unprecedented happened. There were only five of us in the room and the cake was intact when I brought it out of the kitchen.
…About 10 minutes later I took an empty plate back into the kitchen. We had eaten THE WHOLE THING such was its cakey goodness, oh and there wasn’t a scrap of guilt amongst the five of us. Nope.
The end of winter
The dusty blues and pinks, subtle yellows and sharp acid greens of the plants that flower in early Spring in my garden are some of my favourite shades. They’ve started to appear, tentatively and slowly and it’s filled me with small bursts of genuine happiness. I’ve hacked away at most of the dry twigs of Autumn and winter and soft Spring colour is returning. I’m planning to make a small film about the transition into Spring next week and am hatching a cheering plan on Instagram with a lovely pal of mine to celebrate the greenish change. Hurrah!
I would LOVE to hear your anti-news – snippets of lovely things that have brought you joy in recent weeks. I expect others would too…