Day 29: The Happiness Project


This is what normal, sane, settled people’s homes looks like


Yesterday (that would be Day 29, as noted above) we drove en famille to Newark, about an hour away. We belong to a granola crunchy car share group in Leicester and so every so often happen to have a car at hand. This weekend, we had a slightly ridiculous 8-seater minivan at our disposal (the bumper-car Micra was already booked out) so we drove to Newark, filling the spare seats with M’s sister, nephew, niece and dog, and went to visit another sibling and his extended family.

This is a family that just goes on and on. There are hundreds of them and they’re all really, really nice people who cook you gorgeous dinners when you visit and pass the baby around until he falls asleep laughing.

Which is really nice and is the main reason why we are in Leicester to begin with.

Look at the photo above. This is part of their back yard. Add in chicken clucking and a bit of rooster crowing and some mad baby chortling and the scent of beds and beds of flowers and a long outside table laden with lovely food that was carefully googled because we are still doing that socially awkward detox diet (finishing this weekend; have pub crawl and tapas booked).

Salmon marinated in olive-anchovy tapenade and rosemary; butternut squash latkes; two falling apart grilled whole chickens; asparagus and avocado salad; tossed arugula and cucumber salad.

It was lovely.

And it was sunny and Thwack got to lie on his mat on the lawn in the sun, bare bottomed and happy for it.

This is stuff that settled people do, isn’t it? Like, have lovely, fragrant, welcoming homes with sunny, flowery back yards and furniture for guests and whatnot.

It was really lovely.

Also, by the time we got back around 10:30pm, Thwack was out cold and snoring away in his car seat and didn’t wake up at all until late in the early morning. We hadn’t had a 5 hour stretch at night in ages.

Here’s to wearing out your baby! And to family! And lovely meals outside in the sunshine!


The whole Happiness Project collection of posts can be found here.

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog’s title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.