Thursday, 21 February 2013

Three things (which may or may not be beautiful)

My friend Clare has been blogging since before I really knew what a blog was. I'd listen to her talk of websites and page views and I'd nod, smile and look impressed, then say to my husband in private: "is it like an online diary then?".

Bless me.

But her blog Three Beautiful Things has fans (yes, actual fans) all over the world. People love its simplicity and its honesty. She simply spots three things each day which make her smile and writes about them. But she does it religiously and she hasn't missed a day in nearly nine years. Oh, apart from while she was on her honeymoon and the day she gave birth - she had guests stand in for her then.

Unlike Clare though, I find it pretty hard to find beauty in everyday life. Do you know what I think is beautiful? Peace, quiet, wild places far away from other people. Unfortunately, having a two-year-old daughter, peace is something I rarely get.

So it's a far harder exercise than you'd think, spotting three happy moments in your day. But luckily I chose a particular weekend when my family had given me the most precious gift a stressed-out mother can ever get. A weekend without said family.

So I spent the day in glorious solitude, with just my thoughts, the TV, some squeaky guinea pigs and a lazy tabby cat for company. And I went about the task of looking out for happy-making stuff.

This is what I came up with.

My daughter on the phone.

My husband has woken up at his mum's house and phoned to check on me. He's only halfway through the second sentence when he's interrupted by a chirruping not-quite-three-year-old - who wants to speak down the phone to her mummy. I'm astounded by how high-pitched she sounds on the phone and flabbergasted by how grown-up our conversation is. "We're going to the beeeeeeeach now," she says. "We're going to see the stones. And the sand. And the seeeeeeeeea."

The smell of cat fur in the sun.

I'm trying to change the bed sheets and my cat does something he hasn't done for a very long time. He jumps on the bed and attacks the sheets every time I move them. This was his forte in his youth but lately he's just been mainly sleeping and avoiding 'the human child' which nobody even consulted him about before conceiving. Luckily for me he forgets he's being vicious halfway through and falls asleep on the half-made bed. I scoop him up like a rotund, furry baby and transfer him to my daughter's bed so I can get on with my chores. He considers whacking me for this act of cruelty but then realises the sun is shining on her bed. He snuggles down and as the black fur on his back warms up in the sun, he smells all... warm catty.

The letter.

There's a letter sitting on top of the radio looking all inconspicuous but bringing with it a huge change in our lives. Like most people I hate change and hanker after it in equal measure and to see it sitting there, all white and crisp and new, the letter is everything I dread and everything I know I need. I want to burn it and frame it all at the same time.

So there you have it.

While there's no doubt this must be a good exercise - both for your writing skills and for your mental health - the thing I've really learned from pretending to be Clare for a day is that she must have the self-discipline of a Zen master.

I took notes down for this on Sunday and it took me until Thursday to get round to blogging about it. Life gets so in the way of things like this. I don't know how she does it every day.

Find Clare, her awesome self-discipline and her beautiful things at


  1. Thanks Caroline! What a lovely post.

  2. You'll notice that I don't often polish my posts like you've polished yours -- and quite often they are very simple prosaic things (see today's number 3) that don't need much explaining.