Yesterday, for reasons that I won’t go into here, I was thinking about things I am grateful for. It turns out I am grateful for many many things. Including the fact that I have a tendency towards optimism and gratitude.
Indeed, there are so many things I should give thanks for that it’s hard to know where to begin. So I decided that I’d skim through the colours of the rainbow and see what were the first things that came to mind.
It’s easy to find things that I love, and am thankful for, that are red.
As a child, strawberries were closely associated with my birthday: we’d had Christmas and New Year, a wedding anniversary and my siblings’ birthdays, then Dad’s birthday and my mother’s… and then Mum finally thought it was all over and she could relax. And then along came my birthday and she’d forgotten to make a proper fruit cake, so I ended up with a sponge cake and strawberries.
To be honest, they aren’t my favourite fruit, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be grateful for them.
Sadly, the only strawberries I have a photo of are no longer very red at all. Mind you, as long as I don’t have to eat them, I do think the mould is rather lovely.
Ladybirds eat aphids, so we should be grateful for them and encourage them. In the books of my childhood they were scarlet, but this one is really barely in the red zone of the spectrum.
At least this postbox is, as it should be, a proper, indisputable, pillar box red. And, although I use the internet as much as the next person, I am definitely grateful for the postal system.
Orange is a difficult colour. I don’t particularly like oranges and I don’t have any photos of baked beans or carrots. But marigolds are orange and, however much they have a tendency to stink, it can’t be denied that they brighten any day.
A gin and orange wouldn’t be the same without a lemon, but I think I used the last one a couple of days ago, so I don’t have any photos.
I can, however, find plenty of dandelions and sunflowers.
The logical association with green must be grass and after living in Spain for a quarter century, I will never take the green fields of England for granted.
This time of year is particularly wonderful when the neighbour gets up early and my day begins with the scent of freshly mown lawns, but the fields where the cows amble knee-deep in tufted grasses and buttercups remind me of summers spent at my granny’s house and that’s a memory to be cherished.
I am very thankful for the bottle my red wine is in, which is definitely green, but I have no intention of taking a picture and showing you how much I have drunk, so I shall move swiftly on to the greenest and crispest apples of all – Granny Smith’s – which are really the only ones I like.
Blue used to be my favourite colour: I remember one year, when I was a little girl, my mother made me fourteen cotton shifts and only one of them wasn’t blue. But when it comes to blue things I’m grateful for, it’s more difficult. I’m not quite sure why I’m grateful for the sky, but it does seem to be something I’d miss if it wasn’t there.
I’m definitely grateful for bluebells and the memories they bring.
And although I am not a strong swimmer and I used to get hayfever from sand, I am still grateful for all the times I have spent at the seaside and the pleasure I have had from being beside the sea.
Perhaps I should have saved that picture of the sea for indigo, as there are few things that I can think of to include here. I’d like to include the blue-black Quink ink I filled my pen with as a child. (I think my very first fountain pen was a Conway Stewart Dinkie; coincidentally, the pen was a deep midnight blue, which might count as indigo.) Even if I have no photo to illustrate either pen or ink, I am grateful for the memory and for the joy I still get from writing.
Maybe I can include blackberries as they really aren’t black if you look closely, and the stains they leave might be the right colour. I’m not sure how much I really like the fruit as it’s all pippy and not really worth the bother. But the memories of going blackberrying with my family on the first weekend after school started back in the autumn are something I will always cherish.
I’m going to include a photo of blackthorn blossom, too, as when it sets, the fruit is the sloe, perhaps the smallest of the plum family and not a fruit that’s attractive on its own. Added to gin or vodka, though, with a little sugar and a few bitter almonds, it makes a wonderful liqueur.
Finally, we come to violet.
I am definitely grateful for violets, although they often go unnoticed, their blooms hidden in the hedgerow shade or under last year’s leaves and with no scent to draw attention to themselves.
I’m grateful, too, for my mother – another Violet, like her mother before her – who, along with my father, gave me this capacity for gratitude.