Sunflowers and How to Have a Long and Happy Life

August arrives and the sunflowers come marching in. Seedlings become giants overnight, apparently having a competition to see who can grow fastest before bursting into flower. Thousands of sunflower seeds will come next. Maybe I could dry them for chicken food?

Sunflower and lavender

They have always been a symbol of joy but Google also brings up longevity. Oh good long and happy life then. I shall just wave sunflowers around in a shamanic way.  Maybe chuck a chicken into the mix for some extra powers.

Giant Sunflower

So many things bring joy but are kind of anti-longevity.

Sugar. The children next door are happiest when telling me they are off to get sweets. Should I tell them about obesity and diabetes? The oldest is only five.

Smoking. My first cigarette gave me so much joy that I smoked another one immediately, and then threw up. I have fond memories of cigarettes but luckily the argument for longevity won. It was a long argument. 

Alcohol. This week friends came. Always exciting seeing real people, but was that joy enough?  Oh no it had to be topped up with cool beer in the sunshine, followed by innocently cracking open a ‘bottle or red’ or six. Longevity went out the window and the recycling needed re-arranging for fear of neighbours knowing things. You can tell a lot about somebody by their rubbish.

Recycling arranged to hide the wine bottles
Spot the wine bottles. Oh look! There are only two this week.

And so it goes on. We cheer ourselves up with terrible things: Crispy golden chips, sparkling wine, hot dogs with onions, soft drugs, hard drugs, watching TV all day, staying up late, gambling, gaming and worrying. Suddenly it feels like all the things we like, even free things like sunshine and sitting down, are deadly.

So like sneetches we charge off looking to get some longevity. Get that mixed up with penance and you will end up with two trips to the gym for the price of a year’s membership, cupboards full of training weights, skipping ropes under the sofa, packets of half eaten fish oil capsules or some other quackery and porridge for breakfast, every single bloody day.

So the magic trick is finding things that bring the best of both worlds. I started lockdown with ‘Do Yoga Every Day’ on some list. Yoga is OK but it looks boring on a dutiful list. I found alternatives while avoiding the yoga.

Swimming in a wet suit and watching other people yelping with cold and being bitten by jellyfish. Walking with a friend and talking about another friend, who is sadly absent so you can say what you like, and accidentally walking 6 miles because it is so interesting. Falling asleep because you are tired and not because the bottle of wine is lowering you into a vertical position. Staring at clouds instead of TV. Simple really, but maybe that is because it is August and the sunflowers are out. I bet I won’t be ranting about joy next January, or lying in the garden looking at skies like this.

Interesting cloud shapes

The chickens are probably full of joy, roaming wild and free, but perhaps too much longevity?  Egg production levels are shameful and Google says that they can hang around, eating you out of house and home, for five years after they stop laying. That is why nobody ever asks ‘which came last the chicken or the egg?’

Far from our sunflowers is Watford town centre. Today Sparky is heading that way for our first live booking since March. Here he is thinking about getting into the car.

Sparky the robot

And I found this outside my bedroom window. Two eggs in there, soon to be two new pigeon souls for this world. I had no idea I like pigeons so much.

Nesting pigeon

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