Maria fancied raindrops on roses and Amelie loved cracking the crust of a creme brulee with the back of her teaspoon. Like these two characters, I have found that merely thinking about my favourite things is enough to forget our mad, bad world for a few moments. I have also found that once we have identifed what they are, the pleasure we get from our favourite things intensifies everytime we experience them. It seems that once you establish that something, someone or somewhere is a favourite it becomes increasingly delightful each time it's encountered. Brown paper packages tied up with string don't do it for me, but each time a bubble-wrapped parcel turns up in the letterbox, my heart leaps with joy (there was one for me this morning!). Elle Decoration, macaroni cheese and Coronation Street will always delight me because I have already decided they are a few of my favourite things. I guarantee that once you have mentally listed your favourite things, your pleasure from them will grow by virtue of the fact you have already identified them as a source of pleasure. Psychologists - and maybe Buddhists - probably have a name for this.
Here are a few of mine: wincyette pajamas; reading in bed;the scent of sweet peas; shortbread; polka dots; snowy bedlinen; Cornish Blue crockery; South America; siestas; drinking Shiraz with my boyfriend; hot baths and early nights. What are yours?
Thinking about your favourite things is a cheap thrill too. It doesn't cost a bean to imagine swinging in a hammock in a soft Brazilian breeze, or to enjoy the fragrance of my neighbour's sweet peas while I hang out the washing.
I have just noticed that my favourite things are largely bedroom-oriented. Now please excuse me while I change into my polka dot pee-jays, and dive into clean white sheets with the latest issue of Elle Decoration.