Several people suggested that I visit bluebell woods for one of my 55 Joys. I’ve never done this before, bluebells are not a New Zealand thing so they weren’t part of my childhood and grabbing time in spring always seems tricky, and today was no different, but … I saw bluebells, they were at the edge of a wood and they were lovely. My whole afternoon off (in an absurdly busy week that simply doesn’t have time for an afternoon off) was a proper joy. Here’s why.

Our mate Jim Sweeney is a brilliant man. The improviser’s improviser (ask any UK improviser over 40, they’ll say the same, and if they don’t, they’re wrong), an astonishing brain, funny, ascerbic, hugely knowledgeable, bloody gorgeous and great to talk to – all the good things. Going to see him (he’s had MS for ages, wrote and performed about it way back when he was still up and about ish, so we go to him, not vice versa) is always a great thing and a thing I get to do too rarely. And conversations that roam from existentialism to Lost in Space to Catholicism and Buddhism and impro and singing and therapy and the Beatles and westerns and how to keep fruit moist in the fridge are SO good.

My great niece Amy was 27 today. Amy is physically and learning disabled in far too many ways to list, uses makaton and texts (and selfies!) as her main modes of communication, and is a joy to be with – she doesn’t give a damn about my work or anyone else’s, loves pink, hugs when she wants to, and gives an extremely forceful high five. Amy’s enthusiasm and my niece/her mother’s strength and commitment to her daughter are also great things, as was getting to see two of my siblings.

I really REALLY don’t mean either of those two previous paragraphs in a ‘they reminded me to count my blessings’ kind of way, because I bloody hope I’m not that matronising and because time with someone as personally at ease as Jim or as easy in her skin as Amy is simply not like that. I mean it because they’re cool humans to be with and I don’t get (or make?) time for afternoons like that anywhere near enough.

And between driving from Jim to Amy we found the bluebells. All along the side of the road, between trees, in sunlight and shade. And there was a massive rainbow. And Shelley in the car beside me, another cool human.

Simple, easy joys. Well worth the work I had to do when we got home and the work I’ll do early tomorrow. Grabbing time when it’s ready, not when I’m ready for it.