Late on Sunday afternoon, when the rain briefly stopped raining and the sun peeked out, we pulled coats on and strolled ten minutes up the road to visit our town's local castle. You know how it is, you live somewhere a while and quite often don't really think to do the touristy things sitting on ones own doorstep. Don't really think to pop along the street and have a mooch around a 900 year old medieval castle (one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England, apparently) which stands very conveniently at the top of the High Street.
But on Sunday the castle was open for free to residents of the area and so along we toddled, and mighty fine it was too.
As with all fine Tourist Attractions, as well as the ancient attraction itself, there is also a lovely looking tearoom and a souvenir shop. It was the latter which we decided to call in to, even though visiting these sort of shops with eager Little People can be something of a strain. The Pester Power is enormous, the sudden desperate need for Castle Pens, fridge magnets, badges is urgent. I got away with limiting the purchases to two very small soft cuddly toys @ £1.50 each and a bag of chocolate raisins, but boy, it was hard work getting Little Fingers to leave the other merchandise alone.
Anyhow, I am babbling, I am sorry....get to the point Lucy, chop-chop! Yes the point of this is to tell you about a little book I spotted in the castle souvenir shop and purchased for myself. Its called "Words on a Simple Life", by Helen Exley and can be found here along with other delightful sounding titles in the same series.
If you click on the top picture there, you'll be able to read the description written on the back of this dinky little book :: it's basically a collection of images and quotes, celebrating the "quiet joys of life".
Now this is not normally something I would go for, I have never owned any books of this nature before. But something about this little golden book really touched me.
I keep coming back to it's pages, keep reading and re-reading the words :: words on a simple life. These words are so appealing, so meaningful, so wise, they touch my heart. Yes, they do!
Take these daffodils for example. So very simple.
A bunch of 20 stems cost less than a pound.
They can be purchased without guilt, brought home and enjoyed wholeheartedly.
To me, they capture the essence of living a Simple Life.
The joy they bring me is immeasurable. Priceless.
I have split them up and distributed them around the house....
....simply displayed in an empty milk bottle on the hall shelf to make me smile as I pass through one of the most stressy times of my day (getting Little People out the door at 8.30am with polished shoes and all relevant school paraphernalia).
I've also put little bottles holding a few blooms on the kitchen and bathroom window sills, for providing joy when ones hands are in the kitchen sink and brushing teeth.
And beside my bed too, for providing joy when I drift into my dreams at night and greet the day each morning.
It seems somehow so luxurious to have flowers beside ones bed, don't you think? Yet so simple at the same time. I would urge you to go out today and buy yourself a small bunch of flowers to put beside your bed, Arrange them in a little jar, a pretty mug,or a small vase and enjoy the pleasure they bring.
I thought over the coming days and weeks I might share some of the quotes with you from this little book. Some are very short, just one sentence, some are longer. This is one of my favourites, it was written by a man called Thomas Dekker (c 1570 - c. 1641), so he was around dispensing wisdom a pretty long, ancient time ago...
"To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face;
to greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains;
to approach my work with a clean mind;
to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things, the ultimate purpose toward which I am working;
to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart;
to be gentle, kind, and courteous through all the hours;
to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep and the joy that comes from work well done -
this is how I desire to waste wisely my days."
Have a great day everyone, waste it wisely.....