21 December 2010

Happiness is… a working dishwasher?

We are almost ready for the Christmas break and for many of us a little indulgence will be the order of the day.

Today’s story is  particularly relevant to this time of year when many of us find ourselves well and truly indebted to a range of household machines. Christmas dinners gone to pot in a faulty oven, freezing family and guests courtesy of a rouge boiler, burst pipes — fuss and bother –- bah humbug etc. Joking aside though, in real terms happiness often comes down to very simple issues of domestic security and the reliability of the things and people we depend on:

So, Prime Minister David Cameron wants to find out what makes British people happy, but apparently we already know.

The Government intends to measure our satisfaction with life from next April. The study is going to be run by the National Office for Statistics, masterminded by national statistician Jil Matheson, who has gone on record as saying people are usually good at knowing what makes them feel all right. David Cameron himself has said that he has strong instincts on what would improve people’s lives.

He has cited things such as freedom of choice and being employed ‘because of its importance to the soul as much as to the bank balance’.

It’s maybe not quite as easy as that. Some of us can wake up with a spring in our step, only to be sunk into a deep, dark wintry depression by a giant utility bill on the doorstep. A little thing like a dripping washer can ruin our entire day. We can have a generally great week, but facing a weekend with a dodgy dishwasher or belligerent boiler can make us feel like the world is conspiring against us.

I suspect that when we do find out, it’s going to be the little things in life that will prove to be important, rather than the big stuff. It’s hard to measure the amount of relief a pensioner feels when one of our guys does something simple, like replacing a cooker switch or relighting a temperamental boiler, but one thing is sure, we get a lot of satisfaction from knowing we’ve done a job well and taken at least one spot of misery away from someone’s day.

To turn it over to you, what little thing in life really makes you happy? A really satisfying cup of tea? Someone saying ‘thank you’ for a good deed? A nice hot shower at the end of a long day? Why not drop us a line and let us know – we’ll even pass it on the David Cameron if you like.


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