I hope you will forgive me but I am talking about happiness again. Ah, well, if it keeps me happy, do I hear someone say?
started when I found myself watching the Really Rather Wonderful Wendy Mitchell on breakfast TV this morning. Wendy, you may know, is the inspiring woman and mother who, despite suffering from Alzheimer’s, is determined to make every day count. “Every
day spent dwelling on the bad days is a day lost to happiness,” she declared. Dear readers, I wanted to give her the most massive hug because her message is not only for those with dementia but for every single one of us. However blessed we are, we all
have our bad days - but following Wendy’s sage advice means we won’t lose a single moment of happiness worrying about them.
I was still contemplating
this thought as I drove to my weekly Singing for Pleasure choir session. On the radio, Desert Island Discs where Kirsty Young was quizzing screen-writer and playwright Abi Morgan on which favourite pieces of music she would want to have with her if stranded
on some mythical desert island. One of the pieces of music Abi chose was Sigur Rósa’s Hoppipolla, one of those tunes I somehow knew but would never have been able to name in a hundred years. What stayed in my head, however, was the story Abi told
of coming home one day to hear her daughter playing the piece on the piano, of standing stock-still listening in delighted silence and her husband telling her: “Stay in the moment...”
Our choir conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, may or may not have been listening to Desert Island Discs as she drove from her home in Hove to our meeting place in the Heene Community Centre but there was a happy theme running
through her choice of songs. Not too many soulful ditties about lovelorn fellas and feckless lasses. Rather we were allowed to sing our hearts out on “We do like to be beside the seaside” which took me straight back to the previous weekend and
my Seaside Day with my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys. Now that was, indeed, a very happy day!
We don’t sing Spread a Little Happiness which is one of my
all-time choir favourites - but then I tell myself I can always sing that to myself on the way home, thus keeping the happiness spreading, if you know what I mean. We do sing a couple of songs about sailors - the first of them being The Saucy Sailor. Rita
tells us of the days of her youth, when she and a friend used to walk along the prom at Brighton in their bathing cossies, towels draped casually around their shoulders, singing this as a duet. Guess who was the Saucy Sailor? she asks us. Knowing Rita as we
do, it didn’t take much guessing. I carry home with me a delightful picture of the teenage Rita and her pal, singing their way along the Brighton prom, probably oblivious to the stares from passers-by. Happiness personified.
The other sailor song we sing is The Dark Eyed Sailor, the tale of one William (of the dark eyes ) who returns from his sea-faring to find that the comely young lady he left behind him has stayed true
to him despite the passing of the years. I do like that word “comely” don’t you? Not a word we use much these days; I think I will endeavour to bring it into conversation whenever I can.
Now I didn’t think The Dark Eyed Sailor was up there with my favourite songs - until I read the last line of the final verse: “For a cloudy morning brings forth a shining day.”
Yes! Wendy knows it. Abi Morgan knows it. I like to think I know it too. Happiness is there for all of us to grasp with both hands - remembering that every cloudy morning brings forth a shining day...