50firsts2012and13

A review of 50 first experiences


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First 12 – Creating a personal blog

This blog. Took me a whole day I should have spent working. Much fannying about, 8 cups of tea, 6 biscuits, one maltloaf as I tried to get it to look like I wanted it to.

Marks: 6/10 for actually getting down to it. Downsides: inability to understand instructions on setting up properly; could be a massive draw on my already obsessive need to spend hours on tiny details.


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First 11 – Art and poetry

15th Sept – exhibition of Patrick Smith’s work at Pyramid Gallery. Spoke to the man himself, who was really easy to talk to and thought I should try his monoprinting course – very tempted. Then Olly and I treated to an exclusive poetry performance of his new poem.

Marks: 8/10 for a sparkling hour, an engaging man, wine and crisps (does that make me shallow?) and art I wanted to touch.


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Firsts 1-10 (at this rate I might even be able to make it 100!)

with the great Bill Bragg

with the great Bill Bragg

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First 1 and 2

23rd June – Whisked away for a weekend by Elaine – to see Julius Caesar at Stratford on Avon and to Asthall Manor to see an amazing exhibition of sculpture in stone. Elaine had to sprint from the car to make it to the theatre on time, but the play was almost like an assault, it was so gripping. A lovely friend and a brilliant weekend.

Marks: 10/10

Highlights: last night jamming session by the musicians in the foyer, post-play; chatting in the car; Anthony Turner’s, Dominic Welch’s and Luke Dickinson’s lovely pieces; the best treehouse in the world,  in the grounds of Asthall Manor; tea in the tent afterwards.

First 3

30th June – Plans to go paragliding on hold due to bad weather, but decided to stay in the B&B anyway, and enjoyed chocolate covered raspberries and prosecco in a jacuzzi with Ollie. 

Marks: 6/10

Highlights: Prosecco and choc covered raspberries delicious. Downside: not that relaxing as bath a bit narrow so jets caused a minor flood.

First 4

16th July – tea at the Ritz with my mum and two sisters – the first time with all of us as a family and came at just the right time for all of us.

Marks: 9.5/10

Highlights: sandwiches, chat,  frocks. Half a point lost because we didn’t manage all the cakes.

First 5

August – week in Crete. Two balconies, lots of Greek salad, sunshine.

Marks: 7.5/10 Nice area, enjoyable times, but just not amazing.

First 6,7,8

17-19 August – Galtres Festival  – mixture of folk and acoustic music. Lots of time spent in Arts Barge tent. Had photo taken with Billy Bragg (bit of a rush job as Adam Ant about to take the stage meant signing tent had to close). Saw the Buzzcocks – close your eyes and it could have been 1978.

Marks: 8/10

Highlights: last night dancing like mad things to 360.  Beer. Buzzcocks – definitely Buzzcocks.

First 9

2nd Sept – Learnt to fly!  After embarrassment of constantly getting the strings tangled every time I moved, couldn’t keep the grin off my face the whole time I was in the air.

Marks: 10.5/10

Highlights: all of it!

First 10

9th Sept – canoing in a 2-person kayak with Ollie 3 miles up the river from my house. Saw the weir for the first time after living here for 12 years. More tiring and harder on my back than I’d expected, but would do it again.

Marks: 8/10

Highlights: resting the oars to take in the view – basically, the bit that didn’t include actual canoeing.


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I’ve never….

DSCN0474DSCN0015The start of something newbeen to Rio, the moon, John O’Groats,

…read War and Peace,

…seen a manatee, driven a Jaguar, swum the Channel.

But then again, they’ve not all been personal ambitions.

This year, though, I want to change some of this. Turning 50 in June, and somewhat belatedly getting my gear into action, I’ve decided to try and write about 50 first experiences. With this blog as one of them. They’re not all going to be big things – I haven’t the money. I’m also not going to write myself a list in advance as that’s a fairly certain way of setting myself up to fail – in panic, it might get me trying things I really don’t want to, like buying leather trousers, or getting a tattoo. Instead, I’m going to look around me for new experiences as I go, and give each a mark out of 10. It’ll keep me on my toes, especially as it’s September already, but I’m hoping it’ll remind me to take more notice of what goes on around me, and reflect on this.