I am sure that it won’t have escaped your attention that David Cameron has taken time out from being terrifically shocked that Rupert Murdoch isn’t, incredibly enough, a very nice man, to go round knocking on doors and asking people what makes them happy. If what makes you happy is getting your knickers in a twist about money being wasted on a ridiculous government initiative with no obvious purpose other than to find out the bleeding obvious, at a time when local government cuts are closing down libraries all over the country and replacing them with second hand copies of The Da Vinci Code in an old apple box – well, it’s already served its purpose.
The list of results from the official survey is quite quite beyond parody. I won’t even try. I will just reproduce it faithfully: chocolate mini-eggs, health, world peace, tea, money, McDonalds, cuddles, hugs (listed separately for some reason), family, village life (SNORT), a nice house, The Only Way is Essex. I swear I am not making that up. It’s absolutely true, because I read it in the Daily Mail. (ONLINE of course. I wouldn’t ever buy it. Nononono. Which is the 21st century equivalent of admitting to reading Playboy in the barbers. For the articles.)
Well I think we can all agree that was £5,714,835,084m per annum well spent. Never mind building kidney dialysis units and filling in the potholes: all along, we had no idea that what made people happy was health, money and family. I can picture them now in No10, slapping their foreheads and exclaiming, ‘WORLD PEACE! Of course! Who knew? OK guys, new Committee for World Peace Creation – who’s in? Who’s that on the phone? Lembit Opek? Can he chair it? Of course! Now see if you can get Anne Widdecombe to come off the celeb TV circuit to help him.’
(One serious question that arises from this, though, is – what IS the difference between a cuddle and a hug? I have spent almost 42 years of my life thinking they were synonyms, but here they are: listed separately. Officially. Is this one of those things everyone knows apart from me, like how you pronounce cherubic, and that Arkansas doesn’t rhyme with Kansas (which is AN EASY MISTAKE TO MAKE, OK?). All this time, have people been muttering darkly behind my back ‘I bloody asked her for a cuddle and she gave me a HUG for God’s sake! She never listens, that one.’ If anyone could help me with this, I’d be grateful.)
Mr Cameron has not made it round our way to ask me what makes me happy so far. (It’ll be just my luck for him to come this weekend, while I am in Dublin, and the answers from my household will end up being ‘eating Nutella from the jar with a spoon’ (younger daughter), ‘digging up dead things from the ground’ (Gothic older daughter) and ‘my wife’s new blog, because it keeps her busy and stops her talking for a bit’ (husband). So, I thought I would record the things that make me happy here, in case the nice Mr Cameron reads my blog (if he doesn’t yet, it just a matter of time, surely?):
1. Getting the countryside in my rear view mirror, and driving somewhere where you can’t see the horizon for rooftops, the river is a reassuring sludgy-brown and the atmosphere is soupy with pollution. Anywhere where it’s not possible to buy a cup of coffee for less than £3 (or local equivalent), the waiters are wildly rude and you have to keep one hand on your purse at all times – THEN I can start to relax, and let all the cows and the grass and the bird song fade until it is just a distant memory. Ah, bliss.
2. Radio 4 The best thing about the school holidays is being able to listen to the radio all day long, and then bore your (soon-to-be-ex) friends with innumerable monologues that begin ‘Oh I heard this interesting thing on the radio…’ Actually that’s not really the best thing about the school holidays, which is obviously lying in bed until you absolutely HAVE to get up because your daughter is shouting up the stairs ‘Can you come down, I’ve eaten all the Nutella with a spoon and I think the kitchen is on fire.’ So, the second best thing then.
3. Four days on a coach trip to Dublin with some of the finest people I have ever met, with full time access to a microphone and a PA system. Ha.
The other thing is, now we have all this information about what makes people happy, what’s to stop us (well, me) opening up a Clinic? A Happiness Retreat where slightly gloomy people can eat mini-eggs, watch The Only Way is Essex and hug/cuddle each other while they enjoy Village Life.
I might even see if I can get a grant.
It’s absolutely true, because here it all is in the Daily Mail:
test you happiness here (it’s V scientific):