Sunday, 12 June 2016

I'm 30 and outta time!

This has been an exciting four years working through this list and visiting Stonehenge was an amazing way to mark my thirty years on this planet but unfortunately I didn't mange to get through everything on my list. I didn't get chance to:
  • Read 'A long walk to freedom' - this is chunkier than the Bible
  • See the pyramids of Giza - the flights and tour were booked but Civil War broke out!
  • Sleep under the stars - again I was going to sleep on a felucca in Egypt but Civil War got in the way and I didn't fancy it in the Maasai Mara in case the baboons ate my face in my sleep.
  • Buy and pay for a bottle of champagne in a bar - I have no idea how this didn't happen!!
  • Ride horseback along a beach - apparently you have to be quite a competent rider to do this in this country

However I couldn't give two hoots because I have done so many other amazing things that weren't on my list that I didn't think would be possible four years ago. My favourites have been;
  • climb a mountain
  • buy a house
  • fall in love!!
  • see white and black rhinos in the wild 
  • bathe in the hot springs in Iceland
Thank you to everyone who has helped me get through this list and has contributed to creating some wonderful memories that I will cherish until I kick the bucket. I am blessed to have so many people in my life that I can call my true friends and are there for me when I need them to do something a bit crazy.

Now, I have had a lot of people ask me about what I am going to do next and it is will careful thought and consideration (and pressure from Laura Wilson) that I am going to continue on with a 40 things to do before I am 40 list. Watch this space...


17. Visit Stonehenge

24 May 2016

This picture really says it all, what a birthday treat! Thanks Chris!


Stonehenge has many different meanings to people today. It is a wonder of the world, a spiritual place and a source of inspiration. With a history of over 4,000 years to me it signifies how sophisticated people were during the Neolithic. The Stone Circle is a masterpiece of engineering, and building it would have taken huge effort from hundreds of well-organised people using only simple tools and technologies. 
English Heritage have done a great job in making it into a tourist experience for those who aren't die hard stone lovers. The have invested a lot on money in making an attractive visitor centre with museum, gift shop  and cafĂ© (serving excellent ciders) and creating the route to the stones as accessible as possible. The buses made me laugh out loud because one of mine and the best fours catchphrases is 'to the bar'.


Stonehenge is just a small part of a wider extraordinary archaeological landscape so rich and varied that it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986. The World Heritage Site Management Plan summarises the significance, or outstanding universal value, of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site as follows:
The Stonehenge, Avebury, and Associated Sites World Heritage Site is internationally important for its complexes of outstanding prehistoric monuments. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world, while Avebury is the largest in the world. Together with inter-related monuments and their associated landscapes, they help us to understand Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and mortuary practices. They demonstrate around 2000 years of continuous use and monument building between c. 3700 and 1600 BC. As such they represent a unique embodiment of our collective heritage.  
I would recommend to anyone to go and visit this site but only as part of a visit to explore the wider prehistoric landscape in Wilshire. Even though the stone circle at Avebury isn’t as intact it is the largest in the world and sits in close proximity to Silbury Hill (the largest man made mound in the UK) and West Kennet Long Barrow one the largest and most accessible Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain.

Windmill Hill, Neolithic causewayed enclosure
West Kennet, long barrow
Silbury Hill
Avebury Stone circle

Thursday, 2 June 2016

25. Jump in a pool fully clothed

Tynemouth Outdoor Pool is situated at the Southern end of Longsands beach, on the North East coast. Rectangular in shape, it was built from concrete in the 1920s to create a salt water tidal pool. It was popular with locals and holiday makers alike for over 50 years however it began to lose favour in the late 1970s with the introduction of cheap package holidays abroad, just as other British coastal holiday destinations lost out. The pool fell into disrepair and an attempt was made in the 1990s to create a ‘rock pool’ which hoped to encourage local marine life into the pool however the end result was the creation of an eye sore. There is currently a campaign to raise money to restore the Pool so watch this space.

In the meantime I took it upon myself to jump on in there. Fair enough it didn’t have any water in but it is a pool and I was fully clothed so I feel it counts!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

10. Plant a tree

With my birthday imminently approaching Chris whisked me up to Vicky’s farm to plant a Silver Birch tree along the A69. After a 90 minute detour of the countryside and numerous park ups at Little Chef to check the directions we eventually find Vicky and her dad equipped with tractor, tree and spade. The planting didn’t take long because Mr Lowery stepped in and did a lot of the heavy digging while I supervised but I then took great enjoyment in stomping the tree into place.

After the tree stomping we went to see the pet lambs which was even more exciting!

You can find out more about the Silver Birch from the Woodland Trust, my personal favourite line is that in early Celtic mythology the birch symbolised renewal and purification (maybe that is what will happen to me when I hit 30?!)