Music has got to be up there in my top three happiness boosts. I love music: pop, rock, classical, folk, country, blues, gospel, soul, jazz, punk, reggae – heck, I can even handle a little bit of rap.
But best of all I love live music. There’s something magical about listening to someone sing or play in real time, whether it’s being part of a huge crowd at a festival, or just a gang of friends round the campfire. Much as I love a polished performance by a famous band, I get just as much pleasure from squeezing in to one of our locals for a sing-song, especially if it’s Kendal’s quirkiest little pub – the only one in England on consecrated ground, so ideal for worshippers of real ale.
Many years ago on a counselling course, I remember the tutor saying that while it was a good thing to be proud of ourselves and our achievements, it wasn’t on to be proud of other people, for example our children.
Now, I have two observations on this: a) he wasn’t a father himself, and b) I think it would be hard to stop!
I am blessed with two brilliant and talented sons, who often play in public (one as a magician and street performer, one as a singer and musician). So it’s not uncommon to find myself in the front row, bursting with pride and graciously receiving compliments on their behalf from the audience.
Now, thinking about it, perhaps my old tutor had a point – after all, my boys’ accomplishments are sadly not due to any entertainer’s genes inherited from me, but rather down to personal motivation and long hours hidden away in their bedrooms honing their skills (at least, I think that’s what they were doing).
Spring is proceeding in its usual fits and starts here in the Lake District. Last month we bypassed it altogether and went straight from winter to a summer heatwave. For a week it felt like a little miracle to be able to shed our fleecy jackets and boots in favour of last year’s shorts and sandals, hardly able to believe the March madness of wall-to-wall sunshine in the rush to get out the sun-loungers and barbecues.
Of course it couldn’t last – a snow-laden blast from the north soon reminded us of the capricious nature of spring. Nevertheless, with the fields full of frisky young lambs, Wordsworth’s daffodils waving in the breeze and the trees budding with fresh green leaves, the sense of new life and regeneration is energising.
It always strikes me that spring is a much better time of year to be motivated to make plans and resolutions that gloomy old January, when the temptation to hunker down with the left-over Christmas cake is a much more attractive proposition that starting that diet, taking up jogging or cutting out the booze.