September 24, 2010

Last year I put up a list of 10 things I want to achieve in the next decade.
I've only got eight and three-quarter years left now and haven't crossed anything off yet.

A couple of months ago I watched this amazing programme about a guy called Dan Witchalls. He's a base jumper. He gets up in the middle of the night, sneaks into buildings and then jumps off them. He has jumped off Wembley Stadium, Battersea Power Station, even Nelson's Column. This is a fascinating article about the programme, if you're interested.

I thought he was completely amazing and I was blown away thinking about how incredible it must be to do it. I wish I could go and watch him jump. Wouldn't it just be the most amazing fun in the world to do something like that? The base-jumping community is like a secret club. Hardly any women do it. I started thinking about how I could learn to skydive, then base jump, then start sneaking out in the dead of night to throw myself off buildings.

Then I remembered.

I wrote, "do a parachute jump" on my list in 2009, but am actually no closer to doing one. I'm so locked down by my situation - family, mortgage, dog, job - there are so many things I want to do but I'm not doing. I like extreme sports - I want to go quad biking, I want to drive a really fast car around a race-track, I want to try paramotoring and Zorbing, I want to run a marathon and learn to ride a motorbike, I want to water ski and jet ski and try whitewater rafting and learn to scubadive.

And actually it's slightly depressing that in my everyday life I don't do anything extreme or dangerous at all.

There's two main reasons why: the first is that almost all of the above are fairly expensive activities. A lot of them involve travelling, and would not be terribly suitable to take an eight-year-old along to. I don't get that many weekends off family stuff, and when I do, I tend to want to see friends. I can't justify the expense - if I'm going to spend hundreds (or thousands) of pounds on something, I want it to be something that we all get something out of, not just me.

Which brings me onto the second reason, which is that it feels a bit selfish to undertake potentially deathly hobbies just for fun. I have responsiblities, unlike Dan Witchalls (although he does have a girlfriend who must have nerves of steel), and it's not fair on my family. Am I bitter about it? Only slightly.

I don't know what the purpose of this post is.

I've been thinking a lot about my goals lately, about what exactly I want to achieve with my life. It turns out there's a whole load of stuff on my list that isn't death-defying that I'm not doing much about either. I've written a list which I'm somewhat reticent about posting on here, because I secretly think everyone will think, "Bloody hell, as if! She's a bit ambitious, I bet she'll never do half of that," and I'm also scared they might be right.

Music Monday

September 13, 2010

I first saw Dry The River supporting Drugstore earlier this year. I am famous for my automatic hatred of support bands, but this band blew me away. I actually think they were better than Drugstore that night, which is saying something, because I adore Drugstore.

That night, I got a bit lost and was running late for the last train. I raced from the underground across the station, ran through the barriers and skidded to a halt by the train. The conductor said, "Doors are already locked, mate," and twenty seconds later the train quietly pulled away.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I managed to get on a train which terminated fifteen miles away from where I live. Mattgreen pulled Izzy out of bed at 1.30am and drove to collect me. On the way home, in the dark, we ate red hot chips from the kebab van and listened to the CD I'd bought on the car stereo. It was the perfect soundtrack for the moment.

If you go to their website you can click on a song called "Bible Belt". It is bloody amazing. "Shaker Hymns" is fantastic too. I have listened to these songs about 500 times. It's on my ipod, in my car, in my brain. This morning I decided to listen to their five-track CD on my way to work AGAIN.

They are playing a headline gig in London on 30 September. I highly recommend it.

Parenting 101

September 05, 2010

I let our family Wizard101 subscription lapse just before the summer holidays started because I wanted Izzy to spend her summer running around outdoors rather than pining to go on the computer all the time. Today I came back from the gym to find her and Mattgreen fighting lowbie monsters in the free areas.

Isabel: It seems so long ago since we all played Wizard101 together (sighs heavily) I suppose we'll never get to do that again...
Mattgreen: Well that was depressing!
Isabel: Well it's true... we never get to have fun playing anymore. Those days are over.
Mattgreen: (morosely) And one day we're all going to die.
Alicey: (sadly) And then we will lie in our cold graves...
Mattgreen: ... and the worms will eat what's left of our bodies...
Alicey: and then the nuclear winter will come...
(Mattgreen and I look at each other wistfully)
Izzy: I don't know what you two are EVEN talking about.

I guess I better resurrect our Wizard101 subscription before we traumatise her permanently.

That joke isn't funny anymore...

September 03, 2010

I'm in the kitchen making dinner. The oven is clanking (I really should get that fixed), the kettle is boiling, the fan is blowing. Isabel comes in, clutching "The Ha Ha Bonk book". My heart sinks.

Izzy: I've come to entertain you!
Me: Oh joy.
Izzy: Why does a goldfish always take a spare pair of trousers?
Me: I don't know.
Izzy: In case it gets a hole in one!
Me: (bemused) Erm... a hole in one?
Izzy: Yes!
Me: (the penny drops) Ohhhhhhhhh you meant a GOLFER, not a GOLDFISH!
Izzy: (frowning) That's what I said.
Me: Oh. Sorry.

It's a running joke in our house that people (me, in particular, but both Mattgreen and Izzy are guilty occasionally as well) mishear things in a spectacular fashion. It has given us many laughs and annoyed Mattgreen on many occasions. I've actually stopped repeating back what I think I heard because his ridicule can be too much to bear.

A few moments later, Mattgreen comes in through the back door.

Me: Hi baby, hey guess what? Izzy just told me this hilarious joke!
Mattgreen: Go on then...
Me: Why does a goldfish always take a spare pair of trousers?
Mattgreen: (thinks for a moment, then answers hesitantly) In case it gets a hole in one?
Me: How did you know that!

Either Mattgreen is overfamiliar with "The Ha Ha Bonk Book" or he has started to get inside my brain. I don't know which is worse!

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