A few of my favourite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens.

Well, not quite.  I’m ridiculously allergic to cats.  A copper kettle sounds like a lot of work if you want to keep it shiny.  Mittens are stupid…  I prefer gloves.  I do like roses though.  The drought has also put “raindrops” quite high on the list of favourite things.  I do love this song, I love the movie it comes from and I love Julie Andrews.  That is one classy lady!

There are a few other things that appear on my “favourites” list.  My record player and vinyl collection are definitely there.  The coffee table my dad made me as well as the handful of books which I’ve already read several times (and will continue to reread until the pages eventually fall out) are in the “top 10”.

Currently in my possession is a folding lawn chair which happened to come my way when my grandfather passed away a few of years ago.  The thing is circa 500 BC and the seat is tearing.  For now it still manages to hold the combined weight of me and the Jack Russell that is usually crushing the feeling out of my legs.  I use it when I sit in the garden and watch a pair of Crested Barbets which are nesting in our tree.

Favourite things chair.JPG
The dodgy lawn chair.  Much like most people, it’s more unstable than it looks…

For those not familiar with Crested Barbets they’re a pretty common garden bird here in Johannesburg.  Grumpy and aggressive, if they’re not chasing other birds they sit around like sulky teenagers with a serious attitude problem.  If they were human, they would be the kind of person you don’t really want to ask how they are because you know they will trap you for hours as they recount every minor slight dating back over 40 years.  But those exact traits turn this little black-and-yellow sourpuss into the most awesome bird in the world.  I love them and have spent countless hours in my precarious chair watching them sit in the tree.

You read that correctly – I enjoy sitting around watching birds sitting around.

Favourite things Barbet wikipedia pic
(I hope I’m crediting this correctly) Attribution: Vjosullivan at English Wikipedia

Granted, they don’t sit the entire time.  Sometimes they hop to a different branch and occasionally they sing.  Their call sounds as annoyed as they look.  If I put fruit out, they eat.  It all happens in real time, right in front of my eyes.

I’m not sure you’re convinced that it’s an amazing way to spend your time.  In fact, I’m sure most people would probably find just the thought of all of this pretty coma-worthy.   Personally I don’t think pressing “pause” on life is supposed to result in non-stop excitement (although Barbet watching sure comes close).  Sitting in a broken lawn chair watching an asshole bird is 100% free and is extremely cathartic.  It’s possibly my all-time favourite pastime.

I’m under no illusion that much like the electricity supply to Johannesburg, these things could disappear at any moment without prior warning.  I would be devastated if my favourite things were no longer around, however the moments that they accompanied will still be with me.

Unless my memory goes – then I’m obviously left in the dark, with no memories and in all likelihood with no electricity either (thanks Eskom).

Until then though I’ll still have the time I spent with my dad in the garage while he was making the table.  The stories from the books have already provided joy several times.  Music can always be streamed.  And as long as Barb’ sticks around the chair can quite easily be replaced.

Much like Julie Andrews, when I’m feeling sad I simply remember my favourite “things” and then I don’t feel so bad.

7 thoughts on “A few of my favourite things

    1. Megan D'Arcy says:

      Hmmm… The barbet is more of a kkkrrrrrrrrrr . Or a kekekekekekeke when they’re irritated. Kinda like the husband is just singing and the wife is like “shut up, I hate that song”.
      I think Mynas can make a noise that imitates them though? They can’t come up with their own original material… haha


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