Anything blood red is good in my book. Wine from Rioja. Cherries from Kent. Amaryllis flowers. Shetland wool. Jelly beans. Long-stemmed roses. The insides of pomegranates and the outsides of ladybirds. Red velvet cupcakes. Jan Reus tulips and Bishop of Llandaff dahlias. My own blood.
At the end of last year I decided I needed to start doing a few new things in 2010 and booked an appointment to give blood. I've been thinking about doing this since I was a teenager but was too bothered by needles at that point. Various operations, IVF treatment and three babies put paid to that fear but then my blood wasn't in a fit state to go to somebody else. I was offered transfusions after both deliveries but for several reasons they didn't happen, but I do recall wondering at the fact that every hospital must have a good supply of the stuff and that it certainly didn't come from the supermarket.
So yesterday I finally did what I've been meaning to do for years and gave blood. As I watched the blood travel down the tube from my arm I thought how dark it looked, not blood red at all but blood brown. And I can honestly say I felt really good about seeing it and knowing that it might just help someone somewhere. Because I tell you, if I'm ever in need, I'll be bloody glad all those other people were there doing the same thing.
And one final thought while I was a little light-headed and a pint of blood lighter (soon made up with a cup of tea and a peanut butter sandwich): when it comes to blood, there is total equality. It doesn't matter who or what you are; blood-collection carries no prejudice and recognises no social hierarchy. I'm late to the party (again), but at last I'm a blood red card-carrying donor.