Taking my joy from… 10

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon at home, and for the first time in ages, it is actually quiet. We had to move out of our lovely house of four years last autumn because our landlords wanted to move back in. The ground floor flat we managed to find is beautiful and finished to a very high standard, but about as soundproof as a cardboard box.

There’s a weird cognitive dissonance because this place is full of Victorian elegance and charm, but sounds more like a Victorian slum. There’s a couple upstairs with a toddler and well, she shatters our peace so regularly that we have taken to living in noise-cancelling headphones most of the time. Today they seem to have gone for a car ride, and I hope it’s a long one.

Being a domestic creature of peace and quiet, you can imagine how this has affected my downtime and happiness. There’s not much anyone can do about a rambunctious toddler, but dear lord I wish their landlord had had more sense than to rent to them. I am trying to look on the bright side, but I will admit it has taken a couple of months to find my equilibrium and not lose my temper every day. This experience has some small bright sides though, so I am going to focus on them instead.

Here’s what’s bringing me joy these days:

  • Wireless, noise-cancelling headphones. My sanity demanded them, and though I balked at the sticker price, they have been worth their weight in gold.
  • Thanks to a re-watch of one of my favourite movies, Moonstruck, I’ve gotten back into listening to opera, using those headphones. I’m just working my way through all sorts of highlights albums, and my life is richer for the experience. Opera also completely eliminates all of the running, screaming and clatter of dropped toys. *sigh*
  • This flat has a gas stove, the first we’ve had in years. I’m having fun with it, and recently resurrected an old Jamie Oliver Naked Chef favourite – Beef with Soy Sauce and Ginger – scrub to 17:32 for that particular recipe:
  • Using my cast iron griddle on the stove was almost as nice as using the bbq would have been, but hey, it’s January.
  • I’d been feeling a bit hopeless about my little Etsy shop – Bellicose Soap Co. – but I just got my first (5-star!) review, which is a really great feeling.
  • The headphones are also great for watching TV shows – recent faves include Schitt’s Creek (start on the 3rd season, when it gets really good), Modern Love, and Picard (of course).
  • The noise has also meant I’ve had to go against my first instinct to be lazy at home on weekends and have been galvanised into day trips here in the North – we had a wonderful afternoon at Crosby Beach, north of Liverpool, looking at as many of the Iron Men installation as we could manage. I also went to York last Sunday and had my mind absolutely blown by the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience washing over me.
  • Finally, I’ve also been collecting instrumental, lyric-free music that isn’t classical or opera to listen to while writing and editing, and Brian Eno is knocking my socks off, but also allowing me to focus on my work.

So in short, the toddler is winning, but I’m getting some great music and day trips out of it.