My daughter Joy gave me an absolutely lovely little book for my birthday: Delight, by J. B. Priestley. It consists of a hundred or so short pieces describing things that delighted him throughout his life. Silly things, wonderful things: "Fountains", "charades, "smoking in a hot bath", "fiddling while Rome burns", "quietly malicious chairmanship"--just moments in a life when you think, what joy. We all have moments like this--or at least, I hope we do!
In his forward--'The Grumbler's Apology'--he says that he has always been something of a curmudgeon, and that this is his "bit of penitence, for having grumbled so much, for having darkened the breakfast table, almost ruined the lunch, nearly silenced the dinner party, for all the fretting and chafing, grousing and croaking, for the old glum look and the thrust-out lower lip. "
I love that he is moved by the charm of small things, the power to delight that for instance the smell of bacon in the morning has: "We plan, we toil, we suffer - in hope of what? A camel-load of idols' eyes? The title deeds of Radio city? The Empire of Asia: A trip to the moon? No, no, no, no. Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs. And, again I cry, how rarely it happens! But when it does happen - then what a moment, what a morning, what delight!"
A picture of the man emerges from these little pieces. He is of the last century, served in the first world war and then worked in radio during the second. Famous as an author and playwright, whose works, I am ashamed to say, I have no familiarity with. These charming pieces seem a good introduction; I shall look for further works.