How Dolly Parton taught me to be Zen

I have not been the brightest of buttons today.

I am learning to do something, and it is out of my comfort zone, and I am not very good at not being very good at things.

I cannot think where the children have inherited this trait from, frankly.

I was very well behaved.

I did not storm, or cry, or huff about.

This was mainly because if I had, only Derek would have been around to see me, and she wouldn’t have been in the slightest bit impressed.

And that would have made me even more huffy.

Instead, I gave myself regular breaks from the thing I was trying to learn. Every time I was tempted to hurl things through a window I went off and did something soothing like Bill Bailey says when he swallows The Little Book of Calm in Black Books.

I stroked the mane of an orange and had a bath in some warm soup.

Or something.

When I got incredibly weary and realised that I had exhausted the limits of my brain and my patience, I ate an enormous piece of rhubarb cake and went out shopping.

I bought a new (to me) skirt. Boden, navy and white stripes with appliquéd poppies on. I look like a commemorative deck chair. I love it. It was an absolute steal for a fiver.

I also bought a Victorian Ironstone jug which has been badly repaired, and was therefore only a fiver. I have been spending the evening intermittently trying to figure out what the back stamp says. I have worked out that it was made on December 24th 1881. It’s doing better than I would at over 100, even with the damage.

Also, how sad that someone had to stay in the factory on Christmas Eve to make that jug.

I’m glad it wasn’t me.

I am putting my new found patience (even though it might not seem like patience to other people, I am practically Zen on my own terms) down to my ukulele lessons. My enthusiastic, tuneless rendering of Jolene is obviously paying off somewhere along the line.

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