Ten things I like beginning with the letter G. As requested by Wendz.
Guffawing. Oh, I do like to laugh. A few types of laughter stand out though. Such as waking from a dream laughing – sometimes not even knowing what was so funny – it is so much fun.
Or a fit of the giggles, however inappropriate the moment. I remember a few years ago at a jazz concert – you know how each performer gives his* own little virtuoso bit, so that he milks that extra round of applause. I always wonder why they need that, when there is never a corresponding moment in the spotlight for the French horn or the clarinetist in an orchestra – on this occasion, we had dutifully applauded the pianist, the trombonist, the trumpeter, the double bassist and it was the drummer’s turn. His drumsticks twinkled gleefully and we duly clapped … but too early! He redoubled his efforts and we had to clap again … but he still had not finished. I was finished, though, I chortled and chuckled and completely embarrassed my son who was sitting next to me. Luckily, I was in the seat nearest the wall and near the back, so not many people noticed my heaving shoulders.
And there’s the sort of laughter that leaves you with aching ribs and stomach, when you need to stop because the laugh hurts so much, but you can’t and as one of you starts to regain control, another snorts and everyone starts spluttering painfully again until you are weak and helpless.
*please always read ‘or her’ of course. If just for the fabulous Kathy Stobart (scroll down).
Grandchildren. You might have known I’d say that. They are a total joy. Squiffany knows she can get almost anything out of me. “Granny.” “Yes.” “Granny…” and I’m lost already. And Pugsley beams when he sees me. He’s a friendly lad and probably beams at everyone, but I believe it’s for me.
Grapes. In my younger days, I used to eat them by throwing each one up in the air and catching it in my mouth. I haven’t done that recently. I wonder if I still can. Hang on.
The third attempt, it bounced off my tongue. The fourth, it hit a front tooth and ricocheted onto the carpet. Fifth time lucky. More practice needed, I think.
Come to think of it, grapes aren’t the only fruit (oh, don’t literary references abound?). There’s greengages. I love greengages. I used to gorge on them when I was a child. I wasn’t particularly greedy, but they were one of the fruits, only briefly in season, that I couldn’t resist.
Gardening. Especially Greenhouse Gardening. Growing things. I know I’ve said this before, but I love everything about this. From sowing the seeds to the thrill, which still moves me after all these years, of seeing the first shoots. Then, when the seedilings are big enough, to tease each one gently from the compost and replant it into its first little pot. Later, to pot it on again.
I like all gardening, in fact, except weeding, which I don’t enjoy at all. I know that sensible people hoe frequently, so that the weeds never become large enough to be a nuisance, but I am easily bored and I’m as likely to do this as I am to dust the furniture every day so that the dust never shows. Where’s the satisfaction in that?
Grammar. I love a well-crafted sentence. I think my enjoyment of grammar is rooted in having learned Latin. It is a precise and economical language that appeals to anyone who appreciates perfection.
When I was a child, I used to read the bit at the back of the school dictionary that explained all the niceties of English grammar. It fascinated me. I was taught grammar at school, but even in the 1960s, precision was already being thought of as limiting to a child’s imagination and I learned far more by choice than I was taught by teachers.
Gastronomy. ‘The art and science of good eating,’ says my dictionary. I’m not particularly greedy, though I have my moments, but I have a constant and keen interest in food. It is probably telling that I only really take gardening seriously when it comes to vegetables. The need always to be planning the next family meal used to bore me at times and there was a time when, due to dietary restrictions for two of my family (one vegetarian and one low-fat with various intolerences), I had to plan carefully and sometimes to do three main dishes to suit all of us, which was tricky and time-consuming.
Now I have none of these limitations and the fact that most of the cooking I do is simple and quite plain is because I enjoy the choice of ingredients as much as their preparation.
Grisaille. When I went to the National Gallery a few weeks ago, I showed you a picture that particularly appealed to me, that was painted en grisaille; that is, in shades of grey. ‘ We have a charming teapot, similarly monochrome, that I love. And, when I was at Windsor Castle the other day, there was an exhibition of photographs to mark the Queen’s 80th birthday. One of the recent ones, in black and white,
stood out from the others. Monochrome photography has a clarity that, like a winter landscape, removes the distraction of bright colour and makes it unnecessary.
Graves. Rober Graves, that is, who wrote ‘I Claudius’ and ‘Goodbye to All That’. One of the First World War writers, who survived the war and whose memoirs, like those of Siegfried Sassoon the poet, give a vivid picture of those days. ‘I Claudius’ is a fabulously enjoyable reconstruction of the early years of the Roman Republic, from Augustus Caesar (played memorably by BR1AN BLESSED in the BBC dramatisation) to Claudius (Derek Jacob1) himself. If the book can be believed, they were, in the main, a murderously barking set of megalomaniacs and if you haven’t read the book, I heartily recommend it. And watch the DVDs too.
Ghostbusters. Yes, the movie. I saw it for the first of many times at a cinema in Great Yarmouth with my two elder children when I was pregnant with the third and I was absolutely confused. I couldn’t tell any of the main characters apart – which seems odd to me now, when you think of them. Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson do not look remotely similar to each other.
When my third child was five, the sequel came out and he adored it. There was one occasion when we were travelling and called in at a roadside café with a jukebox. He wanted to play the Ghostbusters theme tune and we inadvisably agreed. Out it roared – “who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!” in the otherwise silent room and there was nothing we could do to turn it off or down. None of the other customers said a word, but neither did anyone smile indulgently.
I saw the film again recently and it’s still damn good.
Gladness. The ability to give and receive joy and pleasure. And that needs no elaboration at all.
Anyone like to have a go? – who hasn’t already been given a letter by Wendz, that is. Let me know if you do and I’ll randomly pick your letter. It’s more enjoyable than you might think and there’s no need to say anything personal, unlike a lot of memes, which is good for those who are more modest than I.