The Pleasure Report. Week 49. The re-upholstered edition.

But then I had a couple of urgent jobs that needed "a man in"

The Pleasure Reports are notes on the pleasure I found in my life each week. This purposeful focus on pleasure began in 2010. I was working with countless managers who were working themselves sick, our aim was to establish new ways of working that would not make them sick. And then realising that whilst ‘not sick’ might have been a good aim to start with, it was a terrible one to stop at. How about ways of working that are a pleasure?!  And so the study of pleasure began with The Pleasure Reports – a weekly record of -how many things were a pleasure -how many a pain and -what the pain to pleasure ratio was that week. I thought I’d do it for one year and ended up carrying on for three. You can read the whole story of how it began here and here.


Hannah’s back with a pleasure report this week. While I’m away. We love Hannah.

Yes. We do, we do, we do.

Here’s her report.

Hello all, here’s to 2011 and all the pleasure she has to offer.

The Pleasure

This, most festive and family-intensive of weeks, I had a big fat snowman of pleasure and a short-lived snowball fight of pain.

A selection of the pleasure

Getting on with it!

I’ve been in my current house for a few months now and at the beginning there was no stopping me in terms of sorting things out, learning how to do new stuff and sheer hard graft. Then after a couple of months of that and commuting 250 miles I kind of got to the end of my ‘passion’ for all that. And since then, I’ve been more or less putting off the final touches, ‘storing jobs up into meaningful clumps’, ‘waiting for the right time’ and in other words, putting everything off.

But then I had a couple of urgent jobs that needed “a man in” and I found the most wonderful straight-talking, no-messing, look-you-right-in-the-eye Yorkshire fix everything type of guy. He says things like “a fort’nit since” for ‘two weeks ago’ and “shuffty yer stumps” for ‘get a move on’ and he doesn’t take any of my lazy-talking rubbish. He’s brilliant and not only has he helped me tons doing the essential stuff, but since having him around I’ve been motivated by his way – I’ve done a second coat on both sets of stairs which has made all the difference, I’ve got around to chopping all the spare dead wood in the garden, I’ve sorted out the shed, moved my bedroom one floor up and re-arranged the cupboards. All these things have been on the to do list for months now and the feeling of ‘just getting on with things’ rather than living under a long list of duties whilst madly trying to avoid doing them is delicious.

It feels so yoop yoop to be happy and free to get on with stuff, to actually shift stuff, not just look at it and feel the weight of it.

And I smile to myself every time I go up my new spanky-wonderful colourful stairs.

Comfort and joy.

My old family sofa, given to my Mum second-hand 25 years ago, and eaten almost completely to death by my dog as a puppy, has a new life! It’s back from the re-upholstering place. And is beautiful! And more comfortable than ever before! And makes me feel happy every time I see it. And all grown up and sophisticated like the first time I ordered a gin and tonic at the theatre.

I always thought OTHER people got things re-upholstered, not me. But I did. Woop woop.

Oh-oh ti-i-dings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.

And I’ve got this new chair in front of my fire too. It’s the right width for curling up in or sitting straight in. It’s the right ‘erectness’ for watching films and knitting or leaning back and gabbing on the phone. It’s light enough to be moved around whenever such things as inviting the neighbours over for mulled wine necessitates a bit of re-organisation, and solid enough to really ‘own’ that corner of the lounge with nothing else around it. It’s antique but already looks like it was born here and has never been anywhere else.

I love it!

And on top of that, the nice man from the re-upholstering company gave it to me for FREE after us having a lovely conversation about saving old furniture from the tip and the grrrrr-evils of our throw away culture. Thank you nice man.

Oh-oh ti-i-dings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, oo-oh tiding of comfort and joy.

Aaaaand breathe

Christmas day this year was a complete delight in its almost complete lack of rushed-ness and stress. Just my Ma and me this year which has, in the past, been quite a recipe of tension and struggle. But no. Not this year.

When should we open the presents? Now. Oh, but I’d like to walk the dogs first and have something to eat. But I’d like you to open them now. Any particular reason? Well, one of them is relevant for walking the dogs. Oh, if I open that one before and the others later, would that be OK? Umm, yes, fine. Great. Everyone happy.


When would you like to eat? Now. Great, how do you feel about spreading out the dinner throughout the day, eg. early starter, lunch a bit later on, dessert early evening as I really don’t like that feeling of stuffing myself to the point of paralysis and discomfort in the middle of the day and not really wanting to do anything else for the rest of the day. Oh, well, yes, I guess it would be nice to be able to enjoy all this yummy food throughout the day without having to cram it all in at once. Which bits should I do and which bits do you want to do?

aaaaaaaaaaaaahhh – so nice.

Best Christmas in years.

The Pain

As they say, “Denial isn’t just a river in Africa”.

You see there was this little brown mark on my newly painted kitchen ceiling. I knew it hadn’t been there before and I knew Maurice (my afore-mentioned wonder fix-it man) would probably be able to explain or investigate it. And that it probably wouldn’t take very long. Or cost very much. But surely it wasn’t anything important. And maybe he could have a look at it another time. He was bound to be here again some time soon. And I really should be paying attention to money before Christmas. I’ll mention it next time. When I remember to tell him about it. Other things to do now. And surely it’s not that important.

Surely …

And then one night before Christmas when nothing stirred, not even a mouse …

Drip, drip, drip, drip, whooooooshshsh, splosh, crash whollop, panic panic panic.

Brrring, brring, “Oh hello Maurice, yes it’s Hannah here, yes, from Cornholme, I’m terribly sorry to call you so late, it’s just I’ve got water gushing through my kitchen ceiling and I’m kind of freaking out and I don’t know what to do about it and I wasn’t really sure who else to call …. no, I’m afraid I don’t know where that is … no, sorry, that neither, I’m not very good with this sort of thing. What really, you’re willing to come out. But it’s Christmas Eve. Wow, thank you so much. No, it’s just that, well, I didn’t actually get around to talking to you about it last time you were here, I meant to, it’s just I was a bit, well, I don’t know really, anyway, there was this brown mark on my kitchen ceiling and it has been getting bigger for a while now … umm, maybe 3 weeks (voice getting smaller and smaller like it’s trying to hide behind my teeth) …”

I think you can guess what straight-talkign Maurice had to say about all that!

Eek. Avoiding things is rubbish. And costs a lot. And makes you look stupid. Don’t do it.

The pain I did something about

Hmmm, friendships are tricky things aren’t they? I’ve been wriggling and squiggling through a few friendships recently as a few, four in fact, separate friendships have almost simultaneously ‘come to a head’. By that I mean come to the point where all the wriggling and avoiding and placating and ducking has had its day and I’ve come to the point where I just need to say what I need to say, and get it over with. And accept the consequences.

The pain has been my difficulty with ‘just being straight’, the fear about what will happen, what if we don’t stay friends, what if other people think I’m a big meanie, what if they tell someone and someone tells someone and all those primary-school-esque fears that don’t seem to have morphed over the years into anything more sophisticated than good old-fashioned fear of being rejected and alone. In all its exaggerated and unrealistic glory.

So, I’ve been sitting around worrying myself about ‘just being straight’, ‘saying it as it is (for me at least)’ and accepting the outcome.

And the decision I’ve made – given the kind of big fat “coincidence” of four of these beggars coming to separately bite me on the bum at the same time – is to just go for it. Hopefully not in a wild, cavalier way which can often happen when I’ve been storing up a task that I find difficult. No, I don’t want to lunge and crash my way blindly through this/these conversations – but I do want to hold myself high, be clear and kind to myself and the friends which I feel I have things I want to say to. And hopefully hold ‘an open stance’ even at the times when I fear a painful reaction from the other.

Now, I know here I’m possibly cheating a bit in the received rules and wisdom of Pleasure Reporting given that I haven’t ACTUALLY “done something about the pain” yet. I haven’t actually had the conversations yet. However, given this shift in how I FEEL about having the conversations, I do feel that that’s a form of having done something about the pain.

To be continued.

Happy New Year everyone!


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