IanDuryTo be honest, this has not been a good week. So I hope you will excuse this self-indulgent and frankly, surprisingly long list on the basis that it has allowed me to name and count my not-inconsiderable blessings in a climate of dense gloom.

  1. It looks like the children’s book I have been writing with a friend may well be published. Still in shock, nothing signed, but feeling tentatively cheerful about that.
  2. We are probably-almost definitely-maybe getting a doglet. Going to see one next week. On my own. On a hovercraft – weeeeee – another tick off the bucket list. Small pleasures!
  3. Our sanctuary of a bedroom in the loft. My place of peace with four big windows from which I can see for miles in all directions. Heaven.
  4. An amazing app called Night Sky. I can point up at the stars from my bed and find out what I’m looking at. Apps are pretty amazing things full stop really, aren’t they?
  5. Our boy Blue. Our girl Red. We have our moments, some of them hideous, but there are good reasons for most. We are getting there and they make me happy too.
  6. Elmo and I are going out tonight! Wooohooo! Paaaaarddddayyyy.
  7. Maps: a pleasure inherited from my daddy.
  8. Our family, on both sides. We love them and, whatever the crap, they love us back, unconditionally. They are happy, smiley, positive people too, which helps.
  9. Yoga. I just GET it. These days I even like the breathing and the funny long names. It makes me feel alive and content and temporarily in love with whomsoever is leading the session, even if she is on YouTube.
  10. Our incredible local friends, most of whom we met through the children, an unexpected benefit if you like. I really don’t know what we would do without them. They are a godsend. (Note to self: They are probably getting fed up with the unrequited rescue requests. Throw that thank you party SOON.)
  11. Talking and texting to my sisters in pseudo-European-gobbledegook.
  12. The online adoption community, Gawd bless us. They (you / me) truly understand and are only ever a tweet away. Instant therapy, sunshine or guidance as required.
  13. Planning holidays and trips away. One of life’s most indulgent pleasures (I browse haaaard). In another life, I think I could be a bespoke travel agent.
  14. Walking in the countryside. The joy of nature, as my teachers used to call it. Thank you. I get it now.
  15. All the music iTunes and Spotify can give me instant access to on demand. Singing together, wherever. Dancing, when possible. Old tunes, new tunes, Radio 1-6, I can even enjoy Kiss FM in short bursts. Lately though my preference, while sitting alone in the car or very occasional bath, is Radio 3! Ahhh, the orderly, complicated, measured, harmonic beauty of it all. I really must be getting old. Talking of which…
  16. Old friends who make me feel that I am somehow still whoever I once was. We happily accept the wrinkles and other changes we see as the years pass because we can also see and remember that younger more vibrant us inside each other. Wonderful.
  17. Multicultural Britain, particularly the great mix of children and families I work with and the Turkish shop at the bottom of our road. I can buy almost anything there, fresh and cheap and it smells just like our friend Kemal’s shop in Istanbul. Yay!
  18. The sacred and the profane. I am not religious and I’m not even very spiritual but I do relish the few moments I’ve experienced of that peace which passeth understanding, at least I think that’s what it was. I love holy places of all persuasions (I include no.14 among those) and admire the wisdom, kindness and courage of many who embrace faith, even if I can’t quite do it myself. I’m also strangely drawn to religious symbols and icons, including the cheesy variety. In fact, the cheesier the better as far as they are concerned. Aaaaaamen.
  19. My beautiful, kind, clever, hard-working, young(ish) husband Elmo Stickle. Although the height of passion these days has become snuggling up in our den watching whatever series we are into at the time – I would say Wolf Hall but he keeps falling asleep – he still makes me very happy indeed.
  20. Being old and proud: I got a letter the other day saying my not-very-sizeable pension comes into fruition this year. That made me laugh out loud! I really don’t care anymore what other people think. I already wear quite a lot of purple.