From my sitting-room window I can see lovely views across the countryside including the church spires of two nearby villages and Dartmoor on the horizon.
Last week, as lockdown gradually eases, I had visits from my two sisters and one of my brothers. I sit here now, soothed by the purring of my cat, feeling that all's well with my world.
I was reminded, if I needed reminding, not only of how lucky I was to be born into a lovely family but also to have the good sense to be born in the glorious English county of Devon.
Forget winning the lottery, owning a private jet, having the figure of a supermodel (I wish) or the muscles of a Mr Universe, it’s the little things in life that bring the most pleasure – or so I was reading the other day.
You’d think Richard Branson would be at his happiest clinching some mega-millions business deal while lounging on the beach of his own idyllic Necker Island in the Caribbean. Not a bit of it. He claims nothing brings him more pleasure than a mug of tea and one of his wife’s egg sandwiches.
Top-flight actors may well love the adulation but it’s not the flash of the photographer’s camera on the red carpet that brings them most contentment but the simple pleasures of hearth and home.
There can have been few more iconic actors than Cary Grant. But he said it wasn't until later in life that he felt true contentment after the birth of his daughter and later still settling down with his fifth wife Barbara. Incidentally, Barbara - then Barbara Harris - came from Tiverton in Devon so I'm not surprised! True contentment is so often found with a good old Devon maid - just ask my better half!
Superfit Olympic gold medal-winning heptathlete turned sports pundit and TV presenter Jessica Ennis-Hill said her favourite thing was never training or even standing on the podium to international acclaim.
No, she likes nothing better than settling down to watch the soap opera Coronation Street, which reminds her of being a child and makes her feel normal and relaxed.
As for the C-list celebrities, you would have thought they were happy enough with bosoms and lips that look like they’ve been inflated by a Li-lo pump and skin that has the appearance of having rolled around in gravy browning. But in a survey The Love Island crew, just like the rest of us, said there favourite things were hanging out with friends, relaxing in front of the TV and taking the dog for a walk, even if they were tottering along in six-inch heels – the celebrity, that is, not the dog.
So what floats your boat? A quick poll of my friends threw up a variety of occasions when they felt the most contented.
For one it was her dog welcoming her home, for another it was going for a walk in the woods, and for a male friend it was the first cool pint of beer after a busy day at work.
They liked settling down with a good book or watching a good film, cuddling up on the sofa with their better halves or brewing up a nice pot of tea.
All of them mentioned family moments, like a hug from a child or their kids doing well at school. Grandmas’ best moments were centred around their grandchildren.
I’m rather pleased that it’s not great wealth that brings the most happiness. In 20+ years of playing the lottery I have never won anything more than £45. I do, however, have a very nice teapot, a comfy sofa, a TV and plenty of family members to make me laugh.
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