It's been a bit of a week Chez Raggedy Ann, well a month or two if I'm honest. Over the past weeks a series of bad news stories about some of those we love, a burglary in the street, worries about pets and our friends' pets and a host of other events have clouded things a bit.  Of course we all get times like that. When it seems that each new day brings yet another thing about which to worry ourselves. 

Of course, when I think about it, there has been plenty of things to lift our spirits. The recent wedding of a dear friend, the news that a new family member will be with us in a few months' time, just spending quality time with mates. But sometimes, it seems ever harder not to fill any unguarded moment with sadness and worry.

We all have our own ways of dealing with what I consider not 'stress' or 'anxiety', but 'uncertainty'. Because I think it's the not knowing that causes us the most problems.  If we know what lies ahead (I know, when do we ever know that), or at least what might be required of us, what we can do to help, what we can expect to happen given a certain set of circumstances, then we can concentrate on that and, at least to some extent, deal with the problem. 

Making contact with old friends can cheer us. Just hearing the voice, or reading the handwriting, or typeface, of someone important to us can be such a lift. Getting news like that reminds us that life goes on elsewhere, even if right here, for the moment, it seems mired in one place. Sometimes something as simple as sharing a bottle of wine can help. But I'm not one to use, or to suggest that anyone else uses, alcohol as a cure for anything. And, after all,  it's probably the sharing part that's the most important.

I often find, when the chips are down, and all those other awful cliches that spring to mind, that I'm drawn to the distractions that made me happy as a child. I love to read, but when I really want to work something out of my system I tend to write. I've done it since I was a child. And it probably explains why I seem to have no problem updating this website every week. I can put myself in a place all by myself. A place in my head where nothing from the real world need disturb me. At least for an hour or so. I also like to eat chocolate. But I know that's not really only a temporary high and it has calorific consequences that'll leave me annoyed with myself for days. No, while some people find themselves comfort eating, I do comfort viewing. You see, for me, there's simply nothing more soothing than slotting in a favourite DVD of the kind of telly that made my childhood so golden. Pop on "The Muppets" and I'm in nostalgic, comforting, shut-the-horrible-world-outside heaven.

I long ago realised that I'm the kind of person who needs, from time to time, to shut herself off from the world and surround herself with uncomplicated, nice, things. Not all the time, that would be impossible but when I've had a particulary fraught time of it. I want to watch something comforting, to smell a familiar candle, to listen to favourite music.  Once, a long time ago, when something really awful happened where I used to work I found myself headed for the Disney shop so I could be surrounded by lovely innocent characters and  immerse myself in that theme park smell (by the way, just how do they do that?). 

And humour, particularly of the laugh-out-loud kind, is particularly effective. But something has struck me of late. That while we all seem to cry at the same things, we each tend to laugh at a combination of things unique to us.  Discussions over the dinner table with friends recently lead to the discovery that we all find different things funny. That, for example the comedies and comedians that some of us think utterly hilarious, leave the others cold. Why is it so personal? Why are our sad spots the same, while our funny bone is in a different place?

Take, for example, my dad. He loves anything clown related, while I find them absolutely terrifying. The entire family, and all our closest friends love Morecambe & Wise.  I could watch them any time of the day or night, no matter how many times I've seen it before. But there must be people out there who can't bear it. Humour's just like that. And there's nothing worse than sitting in a room full of people who are laughing heartily at something you just don't get. Or being the only one laughing. And so it strikes me that, humour being so personal, perhaps we're doing it backwards. Perhaps, if we all cry at the same things, and laugh at something unique, might we be better served by sharing the tears and keeping the laughter to ourselves?

But that would remove that important element of being together. So, perhaps, the secret is to find something everyone laughs at. You know, I've yet to find anyone who didn't love "Dad's Army". So that's it, then?  Close the curtains and cuddle down with Captain Mainwaring and the Warmington-on-Sea Platoon? Well, it's a start.

You know, life, in all its glory, throws stuff at us. And it will continue to do that. Some of will be fantastic. A lot will be rubbish. Most of it'll be just fine.  Sometimes its a grind, sometimes we just have to plough on.  Sometimes we just have to get out that old DVD.