Deborah Ross: Our woman in Crouch End

Things that make life worth living (or at least will stop me biting you while I quit smoking)

Share

How, a colleague recently asked, is the not-smoking going? "Fine," I said, "apart from the fact that a) I am getting really fat and b) I am still really bad tempered and c) if I carry on like this there is every chance that I'll end up as a tub of lard with the meanest scowl on it you ever did see." She said: "You're not that fat yet." And? And, nothing. So I bit her. And then gave her a Chinese burn she won't forget in a hurry, let me tell you. I know, I know, I must get a handle on the rage, and I am working on it. Lately, I've been making a real effort to not get cross or irritable about anything while only thinking about stuff that is beautiful, like:

Bird-song; puppies; snowdrops; bright copper kettles; warm woollen mittens; gambolling lambs; non-gambolling lambs, as everyone loves a lamb, whatever; cashmere for £20 at Tesco; T.K.Maxx so long as you're prepared to put the effort in; Ikea (ditto) and so long as you don't get stressed by the thought of so many veneers, so little time; the BBC's Bleak House which is sure to make sense any day now, so just stick with it; teenage boys who, when told that their mothers have to go into hospital for an operation, say: "Oh good. Does that mean I can have the house to myself?", God bless 'em; drivers who return to their cars in hard-to-park places and then, while you are waiting for their space, so blocking the road, proceed to do something mind-blowingly lengthy at the steering wheel, like embark on War And Peace, the cheeky little monkeys, and I'll have a good chuckle about that, while my hazards go tick-tick, tick-tick, and other drivers hoot and shake their fists and shout: "Move your fucking car, you stupid fucking bitch!," but I shall only smile more beatifically which, strangely, may make them yet madder. Some people! Always in a rush! Take a chill-pill, mate!

Other things that make life worth living: raindrops on roses, naturally; hot chips from the chip shop; whiskers on kittens; kittens in pies; lamb chops as lambs are too tasty for their own good; cakes; sweets; full-fat anything, reduced-fat nothing; wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings; ludicrously-priced face creams, the more expensive the better; Rebekah Wade allegedly punching Ross Kemp (oh joy of joys); introducing teenage boys to the art world by forcing them to spend Sunday with you at the Tate Modern where their questions range from "can we go now?" through to "how much longer?" via "don't you think it's time to go?", so proving it hasn't been a complete waste of a day; brown paper packages tied up with all those strings you won't be able to undo, but what the hell; TV programmes like Wife Swap and Supernanny which preview what is coming up after the break then, after the break, recap on what happened before the break, which surely means it is only a matter of time before the two meet and you will always know what has happened and what will happen but never what is happening but that's OK because what's a life for, if not to be entirely wasted in this way? Therefore, I will not throw anything at the television.

Country life

And now on to: cream-coloured ponies; Betty Crocker frosting; teenage boys whose rooms don't so much need tidying up as mucking out with a hot bucket of Dettol and a stiff broom, the little tinkers; Dairy Lea triangles; crisp apple strudels, salad-cream toasties; schnitzel with noodles; Simon Heffer, with or without tongue firmly in cheek, the saucy little sexpot; snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes; girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes; people who move to the country and then go on and on about how much space they have got and how great the schools are and while you might want to say: "Hasn't it ever occurred to you that hunts for serial killers and crazed paedophiles always begin IN THE WOODS where ABANDONED BLUE SATIN SASHES are two a penny" you keep a lid on it, because that would be raining on their parade. So, instead, you agree to come and stay two weekends from now if your charity work allows, which it probably won't, because that's in the nature of charity work and if you are a good person who does charity work, this is the sort of thing you just have to accept unless you are prepared to let down a lot of sad homeless people who don't have a house through no fault of their own unless you include alcoholism, drug addiction and that general fecklessness which makes them their own worst enemies.

My new philosophy

Plus, of course: door bells; sleigh bells; anything on Radio 4 that begins with: "And now, a wry look at ..." because you know it'll be something charming along the lines of those "whimsical" vicars who write in the magazines Nana gets (The Picture Post?) and who will take a comical look at anything so long as it involves Mrs Vicar making marmalade, what a gas; supermarket packers who put the bananas under the potatoes but, then, all the world loves a squashed banana (particularly in a sandwich, with lashings of lard) and so, to conclude, and to outline my new philosophy, when the dog bites, and the bee stings, and I'm feeling sad, I simply remember that Jarndyce v Jarndyce has to become clear soon, otherwise I really will have wasted one heck of a lot of time, and I'll get furious, and it'll be back to square one. I thank you, which is an improvement already, as only yesterday I'd have bitten you and left it at that. Soon, I may even threaten to sit on you.

d.ross@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London