Focus on the positives

IT'S good news week, well, it is in this column anyway. You see I've decided to take a leaf out of China's book and focus purely on positive issues. The Chinese government is said to have ordered a clampdown on negative reporting ahead of a very important political meeting.

IT'S good news week, well, it is in this column anyway.

You see I've decided to take a leaf out of China's book and focus purely on positive issues.

The Chinese government is said to have ordered a clampdown on negative reporting ahead of a very important political meeting. I however, am acting solely on the basis that I think we could all do with a bit of cheering up. So in the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Captain Sensible I intend to feature only 'happy talk'.

Now to do this I need you to completely blank out the summer that's almost gone. Put aside, if you haven't already, all thoughts of soft golden beaches, lounging on lilos, kiddies paddling, kiss-me-quick hats, ice cream cones and sticks of rock. Forget about barbecues with piles of sizzling bangers, burgers, chicken drumsticks and lashings of tomato sauce.

Say goodbye to any notions of woodland trips with picnic baskets crammed full of pork pies, ham rolls and bags of crisps, or ideas about eating al fresco at your favourite country pub. Instead I want you to look forward not back.

Imagine, if you haven't already, cosy nights snuggled in front of a roaring fire. Well, curled up on the sofa near a radiator. And watching huge drama epics on TV. Okay, Inspector Morse and A Touch of Frost.

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Picture yourself sipping mugs of creamy hot chocolate as the steam rises off your drying hat, coat, gloves and dog.

Of course none of this should be too difficult now that Christmas paraphernalia is back out on the shelves. One brief glance at all the cards awash with robins, holly wreaths, and bells ought to soon put you in the mood. It certainly has me!

So there you have it. My positive outlook on what we can expect in the seasons ahead and not a negative comment in sight. No, I've steered well clear of referring to such items as:

· The weather

· Cyclists who think they own the pavement.

· People who don't live in Ipswich maligning our town. How very dare they.

· People who do live in Ipswich maligning our town.

· Litter louts who consider dropping cans, bottles, fast food wrappers etc on the ground a very convenient form of recycling.

· Andy Murray's injury and the wash out that was Wimbledon.

· The England cricket team losing the test match with India.

· Innumerable rush hour queues, traffic jams and road works.

· Public transport that doesn't keep track of timetables.

· Freezing cold air conditioning in shops when it's actually freezing outside.

· Ever-rising office blocks and flats and other such blots on the landscape.

· Sales assistants who appear the instant you give up waiting.

· The terrible digital TV reception in Ipswich.

All in all then, in this column at least, things are looking pretty rosy. Yes, as Monty Python's Flying Circus once sang we should 'always look on the bright side of life'.

AREN'T garden centres wonderful? If it wasn't for them hubby and I would be up the proverbial gum tree.

Well, with both of us severely lacking in any form of horticultural know-how we're grateful for anything that will give us a nudge in the right direction.

Oh, how we yearn to turn our patch of grass - or should that be patchy grass? - and borders housing one rose bush, some clumps of shamrock and a few michaelmas daisies into something that resembles a well-tended garden. If only one of us had green fingers.

Long gone are the days when I had my own little plot of garden with neatly laid out rows of veg such as carrots and potatoes. Back then though I had my dad to assist me. I just wish his expertise in the plant world had rubbed off on me.

You see both hubby and I have at times struggled to differentiate between weeds and flowers. Don't ask! And the words 'cut back' immediately make me think of diets and government spending rather than pruning. And don't even mention biannual and perennial. They sound like some sort of bank accounts to me. And as for dead heading, well…..

But hey, none of this really matters. Not when there's a garden centre just a short drive away. No, the minute the building work's finished on our extension we'll be there in a flash.

I just hope it's well stocked with 'ready' flowers and self-watering planters.

FORGET diamonds, it seems that chocolate is a girl's best friend. Apparently scientists using ground breaking new computer software to examine the facial expressions of three hundred European women as they ate certain foods have found that chocolate made them smile the most.

Well, I could have told them that! Give me a few squares of Dairy Milk and I'm grinning like a Cheshire cat. Healthier foods such as apples and yogurts however reportedly produced fewer positive reactions.

Now this wouldn't have been the case with me as I'm rather fond of them too. In terms of happy expressions though they'll never be in the same league as choccy, nor diamonds come to that!

And while we're on the subject of favourites, don't blame women for loving pink.

A recent study claims that it's possible it stems from caveman times when women were the primary gatherers and needed to pinpoint the ripest and reddest fruits and berries. I'm not sure what this says about me though.

I prefer green, black and blue to pink any day. Perhaps that's why I spend most of my time in shops hunting and not gathering.

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