Wednesday, 25 July 2012

What makes you happy?

The 2012 Office for National Statistics survey into 'happiness' (aka Cameron's lost the plot) tells us what makes us happy, how kind and thoughtful of them.

I really cannot begin to comprehend how a research organisation would set out to implement a survey of this kind.

Would they start with a high rise estate in Birmingham and find that a 72" colour television and a packet of chips is the summit of happiness on earth?

Manhattan or......
           .........Mass?  Mass, of course!                                 

Or, perhaps begin in Martha's Vineyard only to find that happiness comes in the form of a new Ferrari F430 Spyder and a Manhattan penthouse.

Methinks you would need a massive base across all socio economic groups to even get close to what makes us happy.

Sadly, the Catholic Faith or matters of Catholic interest do not feature in the results.

 If they had quizzed me I would have placed, in descending order, the following:-

1. A Missa Cantata

2. A Low Mass, EF, of course

3. Attending Mass with my wife, children and grandchildren

4. Fishing with my son

5. A Manhattan cocktail

Fairly undemanding you might think but, in fact, all five are hard to achieve, ergo, I must be unhappy most of the time.

Except that, I'm not. I have siblings and good Catholic friends to enjoy a pint with from time to time and life is pretty good right now.

But then, the survey highlights the fact that older people (and younger ones) are the happiest in our society.

Not exactly the sort of result that has one falling over backwards in amazement.

But then, the survey actually picks out The Orkneys as being home to some of the happiest people in the British Isles.

Apparently it's a sort of epicentre for bonhomie and laughter and Orkney folk walk around with massive grins and sparkling eyes all of the time.

The answer is, of course, clear. It's all down to the fact that the Transalpine Redemptorists have a monastic community there (on Papa Stronsay).

I must admit that living close to a monastery would rank high  in my personal happiness stakes; higher even than living across the road to the Brains Brewery, home of the R*v J***s bitter.

Of course, before the Transalpine monks alighted in The Orkneys, it was a distinctly unhappy place as you can see from the following poem on the subject..........

Bloody Orkney

This bloody town's a bloody cuss
No bloody trains, no bloody bus,
And no one cares for bloody us
In bloody Orkney.
The bloody roads are bloody bad,
The bloody folks are bloody mad,
They'd make the brightest bloody sad,
In bloody Orkney.

All bloody clouds, and bloody rains,
No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains,
The Council's got no bloody brains,
In bloody Orkney.
Everything's so bloody dear,
A bloody bob, for bloody beer,
And is it good? - no bloody fear,
In bloody Orkney.
The bloody 'flicks' are bloody old,
The bloody seats are bloody cold,
You can't get in for bloody gold
In bloody Orkney.
The bloody dances make you smile,
The bloody band is bloody vile,
It only cramps your bloody style,
In bloody Orkney.
No bloody sport, no bloody games,
No bloody fun, the bloody dames
Won't even give their bloody names
In bloody Orkney.
Best bloody place is bloody bed,
With bloody ice on bloody head,
You might as well be bloody dead,
In bloody Orkney

                                           Hamish Blair

All I can say is, thanks be to God for Fr Michael Mary and his band of happy men.


  1. Yesterday morning I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with two pals, so we were two Catholics and one Russian Orthodox, all with a fondness for C. S. Lewis, Dostoyevsky, Evelyn Waugh, and Hilaire Belloc.

    Much happiness indeed!

    (We left the waitress a very nice tip for all her coffee refills, so she was happy too!)

  2. The poem made me laugh and brought me happiness.

  3. Really sorry, but unfortunately the poem made me depressed, for I was under the impression that the word 'bloody' is slang for 'by Our Lady'. Of course this was not intended, and I appreciate that there are different opinions on this, but I was surprised that you chose to post it.

  4. Brian, really sorry to have depressed you.
    I believe that may be apocryphal and, without getting too bogged down in etymology, I thought that the humour in the poem added to the post. Sorry again.

  5. Thanks Richard, I feel better already. Actually Orkney has a lot going for it, apart from the !!!???XXX!!! weather!!!