I’m not asking for sympathy. Well, not really. I’m sitting here in bed, with my laptop, feeling very sorry for myself. Being as Wednesday was the First Day of Summer, my annual winter cold, showing a sense of irony, has decided to finally put in an appearance. Mary’s taking three of the girls to London on a shopping trip today – (wild horses wouldn’t drag me, before you ask) – and so they needed taking to Swansea to catch the Mega Bus at 4:30 this morning. So there you are. I’m knackered, I’m ill, and I’m feeling sad. Yesterday I learned that a dear friend from University, with whom I lost contact many years ago, passed away about 18 months ago. Even though we’d had no contact for well over two decades I can confidently say that the world is a sadder and worse place without her in it.
I’m not a great one for taking online ‘quizzes’ but in my current mood I thought it might be interesting to try one of these = How Many of the 100 Things to Do Before you Die Have you Actually done ? – in an attempt to count my blessings, and try to look on the bright side. So this is the result: -
1. Attend at least one major sporting event:
(Yes – 1983 FA Cup Final Replay)
2. Throw a huge party and invite every one of your friends.(Nope – too miserly)
3. Swim with a dolphin.(No – still can’t swim)
4. Skydive.(Not quite, but I have gone paragliding – loved it.)
5. Have your portrait painted.(No, although I have drawn a self portrait)
6. Learn to speak a foreign language and make sure you use it.
(Yes – French used on school trips – a little Spanish used at the Mother in Law’s – a little Icelandic – never used)
7. Go skinny-dipping at midnight in the South of France.(love to say yes – but no.)
8. Watch the launch of the space shuttle.(No, and it ain’t gonna happen now)
9. Spend a whole day eating junk food without feeling guilty.(See above)
10. Be an extra in a film.
(Done it. Last Days of Pompeii – 1983- long story)
11. Tell someone the story of your life, sparing no details.(No – very boring anyway)
12. Make love on a forest floor.(No)
13. Make love on a train.
(Erm – can I skip the question please?)
14. Learn to rollerblade.
(Yes, I’m rather good too)
15. Own a room with a view.
(Yes – although it is a view of Port Talbot Steelworks)
16. Brew your own beer.
(Yes, back in the late 80s. Heaven knows why, I’m virtually teetotal.)
17. Learn how to take a compliment.(Umm – still struggling there, I think)
18. Buy a round-the-world air ticket and a rucksack, and run away.(no)
19. Grow a beard and leave it for at least a month.
( Yes – witness my early Noughties ill advised David Brent period)
20. Give your mother a dozen red roses and tell her you love her.
21. Be a member of the audience in a TV show.
(Yes, several , but appeared on shows more times than I’ve been in the audience)
22. Put your name down to be a passenger on the first tourist shuttle to the moon.(Yeah, sure, next time I have a few million dollars to spare I will)
23. Send a message in a bottle.
(Yes. Still waiting for a reply)
24. Ride a camel into the desert.(Done it in Whipsnade Zoo. Does that count?)
25. Get to know your neighbors.
(Yes – although more in the last house, to be honest)
26. Plant a tree.
27. Learn not to say yes when you really mean no.(No, and probably never will)
28. Write a fan letter to your all-time favorite hero or heroine.(No. )
29. Visit the House of Commons to see how Parliament really works (No – despite being a Londoner by birth)
30. Learn to ballroom dance properly.(No – two left feet and one left brain)
31. Eat jellied eels from a stall in London.
(Yes – waste of time. Disgusting)
32. Be the boss.(no)
33. Fall deeply in love -- helplessly and unconditionally.
34. Ride the Trans-Siberian Express across Asia. (no, but I’d love to)
35. Sit on a jury.(Not quite. was called up for service, but never got into the court room to see a case)
36. Write the novel you know you have inside you.
(It’s called “Ermine Stone and the Iron Spider” and it’s available on your kindle)
37. Go to Walden Pond and read Thoreau while drifting in a canoe.(Where the hell is Walden Pond?)
38. Stay out all night dancing and go to work the next day without having gone home (just once).
(Yes, but there wasn’t much dancing involved thank God)
39. Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich.(Nein!)
40. Be someone's mentor.
41. Shower in a waterfall.(no)
42. Ask for a raise.
(Yes – from a temp agency in Ealing Broadway in 1986. I didn’t get it)
43. Learn to play a musical instrument with some degree of skill.(No)
44. Teach someone illiterate to read.
45. Be one of the first to take a flight on the new Airbus A380.(no)
46. Spend a night in a haunted house -- by yourself.(Not by myself – and I’m not sensitive enough to have seen the ghost. Shame)
47. Write down your personal mission statement, follow it, and revise it from time to time.(No)
48. See a lunar eclipse.
49. Spend New Year's in an exotic location.
50. Get passionate about a cause and spend time helping it, instead of just thinking about it.
51. Experience weightlessness.(no)
52. Sing a great song in front of an audience.
(Yes – although the word ‘sing’ is stretching it a bit)
53. Ask someone you've only just met to go on a date.
(Yes – Mary. We’ve been married for almost 27 years so I think it worked)
54. Drive across America from coast to coast.(No – I would LOVE to)
55. Make a complete and utter fool of yourself.
(Are you kidding? Just watch my appearance on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire)
56. Own one very expensive but absolutely wonderful business suit.(no)
57. Write your will.(No. I should do. )
58. Sleep under the stars.
(Yes. I watched a wonderful meteor shower then fell asleep on the beach by Rhodes Old Town)
59. Take a ride on the highest roller coaster in the country.(No. Could do – it wouldn’t bother me, but just haven’t)
60. Learn how to complain effectively -- and do it!(Ah – the fact is that I am VERY good at complaining in writing – and absolute pants at doing it face to face)
61. Go wild in Rio during Carnival.( No – but wouldn’t mind)
62. Spend a whole day reading a great novel.
(Yes – umpteen times)
63. Forgive your parents.
(Yes. Nothing to forgive Mum for, and made my peace with Dad before he died. Long story. Move on please)
64. Learn to juggle with three balls.(Infuriatingly, no. I just cannot master it)
65. Drive the Autobahn.(nein)
66. Find a job you love.(No, not yet)
67. Spend Christmas on the beach drinking pina coladas.(no)
68. Overcome your fear of failure.(Why? Fear can drive you on to achievement sometimes.)
69. Raft through the Grand Canyon.( Not happening. Can’t swim)
70. Donate money and put your name on something: a college scholarship, a bench in the park.(No)
71. Buy your own house and then spend time making it into exactly what you want.
(Half done. Bought the house, but that took all our money and so we can’t afford to make it exactly how we want)
72. Grow a garden.(No. Alan Tichmarsh I’m not.)
73. Spend three months getting your body into optimum shape.(No. Good one that. Never gonna happen)
74. Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring.
(Yes. Good fun)
75. Accept yourself for who you are.(Yes)
76. Learn to use a microphone and give a speech in public.
77. Scuba dive off Australia's Great Barrier Reef.(No, and it ain’t gonna happen neither)
78. Go up in a hot-air balloon.(No, but it’s on the list)
79. Attend one really huge rock concert.
(Yes – Pink Floyd – The Wall – 1981)
80. Kiss someone you've just met on a blind date.
(Yes – blush! There was a second date too, but we left it there by mutual consent)
81. Be able to handle: your tax forms, Jehovah's Witnesses, your banker, telephone solicitors.(No)
82. Give to a charity -- anonymously.
83. Lose more money than you can afford at roulette in Vegas.(I can tell you now that’s never gonna happen)
84. Let someone feed you peeled, seedless grapes.(Diabetic , so it ain’t happening now)
85. Kiss the Blarney stone and develop the gift of gab.(no)
86. Fart in a crowded space.
(Pass. Move on)
87. Make love on the kitchen floor.
88. Go deep sea fishing and eat your catch.(no)
89. Create your own web site.
(Yes - see the link to My Quiz Pages)
90. Visit the Holy Land.(no – would love to)
91. Make yourself spend a half-day at a concentration camp and swear never to forget.(See above)
92. Run to the top of the Statue of Liberty.(No – walking was enough for me)
93. Create your Family Tree.
(Yes – great fun)
94. Catch a ball in the stands of a major league baseball stadium.(No, and not going to happen neither)
95. Make a hole-in-one.(no)
96. Ski a double-black diamond run.(no)
97. Learn to bartend.
(Yes – Harrow Leisure Centre bar – New Year’s Eve 1983)
98. Run a marathon.(No , but I have run charity 10ks)
99. Look into your child's eyes, see yourself, and smile.
(Yes, and I am so lucky to have had 5 children to do it with)
100. Reflect on your greatest weakness, and realize how it is your greatest strength.(No – sounds too much like psychobabble to me)
Hmm – done about 2/5 of them. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be good, bad or indifferent.
Well, I have three quizzes to write this weekend, so I think that I’ll just leave these little reflections there. Have a great weekend, and please make the best of all the opportunities that are available to you.