The Pleasure Report. Week 50. The dark edition.

Week 50 in a year of pleasure.


I’m back.

*waves happily*

Many thank yous to Hannah for writing the pleasure report last week while I was away.

I love reading her posts.

I also want to hear about the “to be continued” as soon as there’s anything to know.

Imagine leaving us dangling like that. I suspect she’s warming up to a career writing soap opera cliffhanger endings.

I’ll be attempting to secure a promise of ‘more news asap’ from Hannah.

*smiles at Hannah with eyebrows lifted slightly in expectant expression*

The Pleasure

37 points

and a 37:0 pleasure to pain ratio

Eegads that’s three, of my weeks, in a row with no pain that registered on the ‘bad body chemical producing’ scale.

And it’s about half the pleasure of recent times.

A selection of the pleasure

Coffee beans

My wee man bought me a coffee grinder for Christmas. He was so happy thinking of that, knowing I’d love it.

I do love it. And the extra freshness it brings to my enduring daily pleasure.

What a thoughtful wee man he’s been. Big warm hearted appreciation for my wee man’s thoughtful present.

So. I now have a coffee grinder but no beans.

I remember this while we are away and as I walk past a quite, quite enchanting (yes…really…enchanting is the word) independent coffee shop.

I go in and ask (in what turns out to be an ignorant request) for some Colombian coffee beans.

Respected coffee seller “No I haven’t got any of those. Because they’re not in season.”

Me “Oh!”

Me “Can you recommend an alternative?”

RCS ” What time of day will you be drinking it?”

Me “Oh?”

RCS “In the evening? morning? afternoon?

Me “Morning”

RCS “OK. Then the Ethiopian beans, they’re a little spicy but not too much and quite balanced”

(She said other things I don’t remember but that made the beans sound lovely and her as if she really loved her work)

Me “Oh”

Me “I’ll take some of those then”

My gentlemanfriend turned to leave but I was really reluctant to leave.

I so wanted to hang around and listen to this enchanting young woman talk her deeply knowledgeable coffee bean talk.

A young man, whose gaze never left her while she served me, stepped in to be the next subject of her coffee consideration. I got the impression he spent a fair bit of time there.

How delightful. And WHAT a pleasure.

Best bits

Since moving into our new home a few weeks ago my wee man and I have had more time together doing things. Settling on how we’re going to do things. Thinking things through together.

Cooking. And chats. Good chats with the cooking.

Our interaction has been lifted out of the mundane “Can you bring your washing down?”

To the joyful, from him to me “I’ve sent you a link to a TED talk I think you’ll like – it’s about education and the negative impact of assessment”

All his best qualities are there visible for me to appreciate. We’re spending 90% of our talk time on the inspiring, amusing and uplifting rather than 98% on the mundane.

MUCH MUCH better.

I’m a very happy Mother.

Daily reminders of what it’s all about

My life is about to change radically. I’ve accepted an invitation to join an organisation 4 days a week to work with their leaders. This is a wonderful opportunity and it will mean a change of pace.

I’m anticipating moving from steady stream to torrent and it will leave only one day per week for pure unadulterated pleasure research.

I’m very aware of how easy it could be to be swept away and forget what it’s all about.

So I’ve been looking for touchstones. Things that happen daily to help me remember.

I’ve found some that work beautifully.

Poem for the day. I’m reading ‘Poem for the Day Two’ with a foreword by Andrew Motion

One in the morning before I start the day.

Fits easily in and yet always lifts me right out of the rush, calms me and reminds me what life is for.

Half an hour before dinner with my book and maybe a wee glass of something

Some Tove Jansson is always transporting for me. But any reading that absorbs and lets me put the day down.

I’m getting them bedded in as habits now so they’ll be established and solid for when I start.

Wish me luck with remembering. I start next week.

The Pain

No light.

As you know I’m researching pleasure. I’m curious about the things we need. And in what proportions, to be just satisfied and up a level to be happy and trigger the production of ‘good body chemicals’.

I’m judging it to have reached the happy level when you can genuinely say and feel ‘it’s a pleasure’

I’ve been away. In Norway. Arctic circle Norway.

I knew before I went that at this time of year there’s very short days and long spells of darkness.

I did not know that it would be total darkness. I thought it would be like dusk rather than full daylight but that the day would still be recognisable as daytime and that we’d be able to see things.


For 22 hours of the 24, it was pitch black.

I want to know how light affects our happiness. Or how it affects mine.

Actually, at this time of year, before the 21st of January, the sun doesn’t actually appear above the horizon.

At all.

There’s a pink strip of hope appears as if the sun is about to rise and there’s a lightening from pitch black to a softish dusky gloom which lasts for 2 hours from 10am till 12noon, then another pink strip which is the sun setting.

I thought the time when it was up would feel like full daylight and the rest of ‘daytime’ would feel like dusk and then black at night.

But no, two hours of gloom and that’s your lot for the day. Back to pitch black.


At first I thought. OK. This could be taken as a good chance to get cosy and read more and maybe have more bedtime (I cannot begin to describe how much I love my bed so this was a good prospect).

But having only two hours a day of light started to have a sort of sedative effect.

Locals have no different expectations, but me with my 8 hour a day in winter habit was quite knocked flat by the lack. Another pleasure was out of my reach there as well. My lovely wine, sip and savour moments cost £40 a bottle for something ordinary in Norway. Eight times as much. That’ll be tap water with my meal then, thank you.

Double deprivation.

Smile flattening out somewhat.

Gloomy disposition landing and creeping in uninvited.

Oh dear.

The pain I did something about

The gloom. Heavy lifting equipment called in on my return.

Much energy giving music and people needed. See if they can start to lift the darkness.

Suzanne Vega No cheap thrill. Her voice is so light and clear, whisks up the energy. Ah good.

Buena Vista Social Club Candela. Spirited and deeply soulful at the same time. And they make me want to move my body.

The Jacksons Shake your body (down to the ground) for good measure.

And Natasha Bedingfield’s ultimate hope song Unwritten, allowing all possibilities to flood back into the gloomiest of times. And makes me want to sing.

There we go. That’s helping a little.

Things were looking very flat for a time there.

It’s also made me very aware of how much I do. not. like. being up and doing things (like opening my eyes) while it’s dark outside in the morning.

So I’ve been clearing out morning things I do before getting out and about and putting them into other parts of the day so that I spend the minimum amount of time up and attempting to function while it’s dark.

Writing moves to lunchtime or evening. 30 – 60 mins moved

Hairwashing and deciding what to wear also moves. 30-60 mins moved

Breakfast, now a banana in the car. 15-30 mins moved

That leaves me needing to spend only about 20 minutes fumbling and squinting about.

And only till the middle of February when the sun is up in time for me to restore the morning position to those things that are really best done in the morning.


The Pleasure Posse

No #itsapleasure tweets this week. Is everyone in the gloom?

H2 What about you?

How’s your pleasure and pain been this week?

See you in the comments. *smiles, waves and tries to look welcoming*

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