Monday, 27 January 2014

Idle Pleasures

I've discovered a new idle pleasure - reading The Book of Idle Pleasures (Ed. Dan Keran and Tom Hodgkinson)...

On discovering the book in a charity shop a while back I gave it a miss, but when it showed up in the library it seemed just the right kind of light reading for January.

Once I had read the introduction I knew I'd made a good choice. It fits well with this blog: "It is the purpose of this book to prove that the best things in life really are free...When we take a stroll at a deliberately slow pace through the city, and merely observe the currents of life without submitting to the urge to shop, we are making an enjoyable protest against the work-and-consume society...Idle pleasure can also reconnect us with nature...There is nothing less harmful to the environment than doing nothing..."

Different writers have made contributions on their favourite idle pleasures (there must be about 100 in total), usually with wry humour, and all beautifully illustrated by Ged Wells. Some of the pleasures are predictable, others more quirky.

It's just the book to zip through whilst infusing and drinking a cup of tea (Waiting for the tea to brew appears on page 12!)

Here are the first ten Idle Pleasures, with some quotations from the text:

Taking a Bath "'s well to remember the simple pleasures of a long, relaxing bath, preferably taken at 11am when everyone else is toiling in the mills..."

Poking the Fire "Once you've got a roaring fire going, indulge yourself in the simple pleasure of giving it a good poke."

Slouching "...slouching is the posture of calm rebellion."

Leaf Catching "It sounds easy, but twisting, spiralling, flying leaves are not easy to snatch out of the air."

The Balcony "A good balcony is an essential ingredient for a day of langour."

Waiting for the Tea to Brew "Only by handing your full attention to the pot will you be able to truly relish the taste when the moment comes."

Messing About in Boats "From Ratty and his chums to Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men In A Boat, the daydreaming enemies of work have always sought solace in the slowed-down worlds of our rivers and canals."

Tree Houses "Tree Houses should be flawed, beautiful, scruffy and unique."

Strolling Through the City " You can be a modern- day flâneur in your own town: just set out from your front door and make a deliberate attempt to walk slowly."

Procrastinating "When else are those few extra minutes in bed so utterly delicious than when you should really already be on your way to work?"

I'd go along with most of those, in fact I'm an expert at enjoying some of them. (Possibly too much of an expert when it comes to procrastinating )

What's your favourite idle pleasure?


  1. I'm not sure what happened, but two comments that I posted yesterday on two different blogs didn't post. I looked to see if this book were in our library, but it's not. But it's a good idea that we need to be reminded of then and again. I liked the suggestion of poking in the fire because that's something that I have always enjoyed.

  2. Oh yes, I love a good poke in the fire (and a bath at 11am and those few extra minutes in bed). What a beautifully written list; enjoy the book!
    Another of mine is simply staring into space. I used to get told off for it at school, but now there's no one to scold me so it feels wonderful. And I love stroking the rabbit. We lie down together and can spend ages like that, indulging in one another's energy :)