Last week, I went on a hot air balloon ride. My sister and I had bought the ride as a gift for my Dad’s sixtieth birthday and my sister thought it would be nice if we both joined him.
In all honesty, the thought of this ride really didn’t fill me with joy. I have never had any desire to float above the earth in a canopy filled with hot air, I’m scared of heights and it involved being stuck in a basket with strangers. I don’t like strangers.
However, I can honestly say that it was absolutely wonderful. The strangers were far enough away for me not to have to interact with them too much. The balloon had enough room for me to position myself away from the immediate edge and the flight was smooth, calm and graceful. Even the landing was elegant.
I can now see why this appears on many a bucket list and it got me thinking about the fact that a hot air balloon ride was not on my bucket list, in fact it would have appeared on my anti-bucket list. Something I had no intention of doing. So in honour of that balloon, here’s a continuation of my anti-bucket list. The things I hope never to do (or do again) before I die:
Bungee jump / sky dive
Floating above the clouds in the hot air balloon was a beautiful experience. Being up in the clouds and subsequently hurtling towards the ground at between 75 mph and 120 mph… not so much.
Have to finish a terrible book
I enjoy reading but I don’t always make time to read and I tend to stick to the same genre of books – if there’s been a terrible murder and a brilliant but socially/emotionally/spiritually/physically* flawed detective who doesn’t play by the book is waiting to solve it, I’ll probably read about it.
*Delete as appropriate
But these murder mysteries can get a little monotonous after a while. A few years ago, I joined a book club at work in order to expand my literary horizons. We read some great books and I enjoyed it. But then, we read, in my opinion, the worst book ever written, it was called The Farm: The Story of One Family and the English Countryside. It was shortlisted for a Guardian First Book Award, it was rated by Richard and Judy. It had things going for it. It was going to be great.
This is what happens in the book (SPOILER ALERT): Boy lives on a farm, boy grows up to be a man, man moves to London away from farming, farming industry declines, man returns to farm. Is saddened by decline of farming industry. Farm is sold.
That one paragraph can cover the entire book. It is the dullest book in the history of the world. I spent the last three chapters desperately hoping that one of his family had been murdered just for a bit of drama, for something, anything to happen. As this is an autobiographical book, that makes me a pretty bad person. I will not spend any more hours of my life reading such dullness or indeed craving the slaughtering of famers for my own entertainment.
Wear a football shirt
Too. Much. Static.
Stop Straightening things
I like things to be straight and neat and ordered. If I walk over a rug or past a picture frame that is not straight, I have to straighten it.
Despite the fact that they will cut my fuel bills, make me money and protect the environment, I couldn’t possibly live with solar panels. Reason being that they are rectangular and a roof is usually triangular. The rectangles just don’t fit into the triangle. It would send me quite mad. You’d find me in my pyjamas, clambering up the guttering in the middle of the night, trying to reach the roof to rip the damn things off. So until solar panels are roof shaped and coordinate nicely with the colour of my roof tiles, I will continue to wreck the planet with my fossil fuel consuming ways.
When I queue up at the supermarket if the person in front of me has put the plastic checkout divider thingy at an angle, I will pick it up and put it back down square. It drives Brad mad. Once the divider is straight, I will then put my food on the conveyor belt in a neat and orderly fashion. I once saw a man pick up his basket of shopping and tip it out onto the conveyor belt. I nearly had a heart attack right in the middle of Sainsbury’s.
Send a message in a bottle
I’m already breaking the planet with my refusal to embrace solar panels, I can’t possibly litter as well.
Watch scary films
I don’t like scary stuff. I can hardly play Cluedo without feeling anxious around billiard rooms and don’t even think about putting lead piping in my home. When Brad and I first got together he suggested we watch some sci-fi film. Sadly the film contained what I considered to be quite frightening white haired characters. I was so scared that I forced Brad to walk me across my own hallway and stand outside the door to the bathroom when I needed a mid-film wee. Considering that we’d only been dating a brief time, I’m impressed that the poor chap stuck around after that.
One of my friends is a scary film fiend. She can’t get enough of them. The problem is that she lives in a constant state of high anxiety. You can’t sit in her house having a good old natter without being joined by her overactive imagination which pops up every hour or so with a well-timed “Oh my god, did you hear that?” or “I think there’s someone in the garden” or “I swear this house is haunted”.
I don’t watch scary films so I don’t have scary film induced thoughts. If I wake up in the middle of the night and hear a noise I think “Damn cat” or “Why is the boiler so noisy?” or “Blimey, Mr Next Door Neighbour is getting up early”, my friend on the other hand will be absolutely convinced that a poltergeisty murdering psychopath is hiding in the wardrobe/under the stairs/inside the telly wearing a scary mask/dressed in Victorian clothing/having removed his face and carrying an ice pick, gaffa tape, great big sharp knife and a candlestick in his commit-your-own-murder kit.
To illustrate this point, I’m going to play a little game of Hotel verses Tent:
Lovely bed, mini-bar, air conditioning (or heating depending on your location), en-suite toilet.
Total score: 5/5
Makeshift bed, floor made of grass, bugs, communal toilet block. rain/thunderstorms/hail/wind
Total score: 0/5
I think the numbers speak for themselves here.
Custard pie fight
I speak from experience on this front. I once went to a bona fide custard pie party. Nothing kinky before anyone gets any ideas. It was held in a community centre (suspect the bookings lady was unaware that her centre was going to be filled with dairy weapons or she may not have agreed to the booking).
It was someone’s birthday, they wanted a custard pie fight and so a custard pie fight was had. I was about seventeen and despite the fact that this was
nearly nineteen only ten years ago I don’t remember the full details.
What I do remember are these key points: 1) Custard is surprisingly stingy when it gets in your eyes. 2) Custard thrown around a community centre is no longer tasty. 3) Plastic carrier bags do not protect your hair / clothes / shoes / face from custard. 4) If you do not remove the custard almost immediately it starts to smell bad. 5) Sitting in a bath after being covered in custard does tend to ‘cook’ or ‘set’ the custard. 6) You cannot get clean in custardy bath water 7) You will wish your Mum had a shower and not a bath. 8) Your Mum will refuse to wash your custardy clothes 9) A custard pie fight will put you off eating custard for a number of years. Here endeth the custard lesson.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me” Ayn Rand