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by Norah Hanson

Make your morning prayer the sign

of the cross, and give two fingers

to the stuff which weighs you down.

Light up under a ‘no smoking’ sign.

Sit outside the Cathedral where the

down-and-outs gather and treat them

to a cup of tea and a beef burger.


Drink two cups of peppermint tea

after Christmas dinner and don’t

be embarrassed by your windy

emissions. Be grateful for washing

machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners,

light bulbs, microwaves, electric kettles,

your senior citizen bus pass, false

teeth, spectacles, thermal underwear,

bed socks, slippers, hot water bottles,

duvets, clean sheets, colour television,

music centres, radio, hot dinners, cups

of tea, mobile phones, internet, hair dye,

legs which can still walk, hands you

can hold, chubby babies you can cuddle,

friends you can talk to and family you

can love and worry about.


Do something you have always dreamed

of doing but never thought you would.

Talk to foreigners, learn to say ‘hello’ in

their language. Walk in unfamiliar places,

get lost and ask someone to point you to

the nearest café. Sit at an occupied table

and start a conversation with strangers.

Go up in a hot air balloon. Engage cold

callers in conversation until you bore them

with the trivia of your life and they slam

the phone down on you. Rage against

bureaucracy. Shoot water pistols at your

grandchildren. Take them to the fair,

ride with them on dodgem cars, buy them

chips, toffee apples, ice creams, candy floss

and fizzy drinks. When they feel sick take

them home to their parents. Turn the tables

on your kids; strategically place your half-

drunk cup of coffee on the floor of their

living room so that someone can kick it

over. Always tell them you love them

and hug them before you leave.




by Norah Hanson, from Sparks

(£7.99 paperback, £2.99 Kindle)

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