Just Say Yes

Apologies for the lateness of my monthly update.  I was all set to post this column on the 1st Nov, however I received some very sad news that my friend, Andy Harrison, had tragically and unexpectedly passed away.  Andy was a genuinely wonderful, kind-hearted, good-natured, amazingly funny chap.  He was loved and admired by many, and his leaving us at such a young age has been a massive shock to us all.   He’ll be very much missed.

Andy Harrison



Horray – October brought with it the sunshine, which although a bit late for a summer is not to be sniffed at…  although all I have done since surfing last month is sniff.  Totally unable to shake the worst cold ever known to man* I carried on with the various bits booked into the diary, the first of which was this month’s Item 8 – Have a professional beauty treatment once a month.    This was to come in the form of another Groupon voucher for some Infra-light Toning Treatments at a ‘spa’ specialising in beauty and detox in Crouch End.  Hoping to help lose some of the ‘blobby’ from my frame, it was with slight trepidation I turned up at the allotted time, waiting to find out what lay ahead.  I was right to have been worried, as it turned out it was a rather odd concoction of the very loud female therapist that would not shut up throughout the whole one hour procedure, some really bad and also far too loud Greek music (instead of the usual muzak you have in a spa), and the occasional electric shock to my behind as the machine wasn’t quite working properly!!!   Needless to say, it wasn’t the experience I was hoping for and after the third zap to my rear, I decided to cut my losses and made a rather swift exit.  It certainly didn’t help my cold nor my wobbly bits, but as I have been fully refunded, I’m not going to name and shame, but neither am I going to do my usual link to their website, as I don’t really feel I can recommend them.  Oh well…

*perhaps a slight exaggeration

I returned to a more zen place a few days later with more lessons in Yoga, on the course I started last month.  We were to try hand stands and head stands this week, which had us all laughing as many of us tried and failed to get our legs over our heads.  How come something we used to do so easily as children has now become almost impossible?  In the end we were almost lifting one another into position which did involve getting a little close to feet in face for my liking.  I managed the head stand eventually, turns out that’s not a good idea when your sinuses are quite so blocked.

The 8th Oct saw Debs celebrate her birthday, with Karaoke.  Determined to get me to sing (I’ve turned down the opportunity of completing Item 7 – Do Karaoke and sing in public several times now) she organised the evening knowing that I wouldn’t be able to wriggle my way out of it – I’d have to say Yes.  Thankfully she sent out the list of songs that would be available for us before the party, so I was able to at least do a little bit of practice in the privacy of my bedroom first.  I picked out three songs I thought I might be able to manage, and hoped that people wouldn’t be left running from the building with blood pouring from their ears once I’d started.  As we climbed the stairs of the pub my hands started shaking.  The first person started his song, and oh my god he was brilliant.  Turns out he’s a singer.  Great.  Then another guy sang.  Again, brilliant.  Then Debs did her party piece.  Also amazing.  So with every ounce of bravery and a little bit of alcohol, I took to the mic.  “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Mama Cass started through the speakers.  I felt like I was about to audition in front of Simon Cowell.  As I began, I heard Debs ask who was singing (she’d been turned away as I’d taken my place, typing in the next lot of songs she was going to do) – oh god was I that terrible that she was going to grab the mic off me and ask me to stop?  I looked around and there were a few shocked faces.  Oh dear please let the ground swallow me now.  But I had to carry on, this was one of my challenges…    But then I noticed a smile.  Debs was smiling at me and grabbing for her camera.  Happy that I’d got up there to sing, and equally happy that her brain wasn’t exploding at the noise I was making.    Turns out, apparently I can hold a tune.  “Downtown” by Petula Clarke and “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters were also attempted.  I won’t be recording my début album anytime soon, but at least I won’t be quite so embarrassed when I find myself singing along to some choons in the car.

If you look closely, you can see the terror in my eyes.  Debs also has video of me singing.  I haven’t seen it yet.  Perhaps I really was terrible and she’s being kind in saving my blushes.  Either way – Happy Birthday Debs!

The following day, nursing a little bit of a hangover, seemed like a perfectly good day to do something a little energetic.  So, I took myself off to complete Item 18 – Go skiing.  Now some of you snow bunnies might think this very easy, but I’ve never skied before.   So, to ensure that I didn’t do something stupid like head off to the Alps and instantly break my legs, I thought a lesson in the UK would be a better idea to get a taste of skiing.  Off to The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead then…  Booking in for a three-hour Adult ski lesson especially for the snow challenged (ie for those that had never skied before), I was again pretty terrified.  Was I going to eat snow or worse, break something?  There were six of us booked in on the course, four young chaps obviously ready to hit the slopes and very likely partake in some après-ski, an older guy wanting to ski so that he could holiday with his partner who had been skiing since she was little, and me.  Our instructor got us set up with boots, and skis and off we set to the bottom of the little slope – the kiddies slope.  There’s nothing more humiliating than some five-year old whizzing past you so totally able to do what you’re about to attempt without a second thought.  I know I wasn’t alone in wishing this was the kind of place you could accidentally put your foot out to trip someone up.  I didn’t obviously,  instead I began to get rather worried that I couldn’t actually feel my feet at all.  It wasn’t the cold, no, something else was wrong.  Turns out, I’d been given boots that were a size too small, and although I’d managed to squeeze my feet in, there was a distinct possibility that they might have to stay in there forever when they dropped off through lack of blood circulation.  After hobbling back to the kit room, and being correctly fitted for the right size boots, I lurched my way back to the group – snow boots don’t have much flexibility it seems, so walking is almost impossible without looking like you’ve wet yourself.  Anyway, on with the lesson.  We started with walking in skis, then sliding down the hill (about 3 meters to begin) then progressing onto the snowplough, then actually learning to control the snowplough rather than just ploughing into the safety barrier, before actually skiing albeit as an incredibly slow slalom down the hill between cones.  We got up to 8 cones by the end of the day.   I didn’t eat snow, and in fact I didn’t fall over.  I did have one moment on my knees when a turn got a little out of hand, but I got a well done from the Instructor, and felt rather proud.  Skiing – Tick. My ankles and shins however are still bruised from the tiny boots a month later.

A friend of the handsome chaps was watching from the observation deck throughout our three hours.  I’d spotted that he’d been taking photos, so when we were all changed and being handed our Achievement Cards, I took the plunge and gave him my card.  You see Item 32 – Give a Male stranger my phone number, no talking first (he must be cute!) was still to be done, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Having handed him my card, with phone number and email address clear to see, he looked a bit bemused, so then I spoke.  I asked him if it would be possible to get a copy of a couple of the photos he’d taken, so that I could put them up here for you to see.  He smiled and said sure, no problem.  In fact, he showed me a video he’d taken on his phone of my successful 8 cone slalom (I was right behind one of his friends which was why I was in shot) and said he’d be more than happy to send me that too.  He hasn’t.  He hasn’t emailed me a single thing.  Not a photo.  Not a video.  Nothing.  Dammit!

Never mind, a few days later it was time to see Debs for her belated birthday present.  I’ll quickly explain that when I first put my 40 for 40 list together, Debs was one of the first to see it and was very kind in agreeing to come along to a few things with me.  One of those was Item 11 – Have dinner at The Ivy and so, as a treat for all of her amazing support this year and just for being a fabulous friend, I decided to take her there for her birthday.   She however didn’t know this.  Instead, I told her to be at a suitably close meeting place, at a certain time, dressed to impress, and to come hungry.   After a quick glass of fizz, we wondered up St Martin’s Lane, at which point, Debs twigged where we were going and got very excited.  Just as well really as I’d had to book the table 8 weeks in advance!  We had a great night, carefully trying to see if we could spot any celebs without looking too obvious.  We weren’t left disappointed.  Michael Stipe, Nick Frost, Thom Yorke, & Toby Jones were all there.  The food wasn’t too bad either.  We weren’t papped by the paparazzi when we left…

I had a date with a Vicar the following week.  Actually a really fun night out, joined by Liz and Donny.  Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be becoming the Vicars wife, so no judging the Victoria Sponge Cake at the Summer Fete for me, but it was wonderful to meet Adrian (the Vicar) and to get to know Donny a little better.

This months Item 15 – Do something ‘cultural’ every month came in the form of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre,  with Liz as my date, we were also able to celebrate her news of getting a place at Uni to do Speech and Language Therapy.  She’s so bloomin’ clever!  Anyway, the show was extraordinary.  Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, which are far too funny and clever for me to even think of commenting on, Matilda and all of the kids were just incredible, and the set is truly enchanting.  I know I often go gooey at even the thought of a musical, but this one really really is worthy of all the awards it is going to win.  I loved it so much I’ve bought the music and am seriously thinking about going back to see it again.

Oh, one last little thing I managed to do, Item 34 – Make a Photo board of the happy times from childhood till now.  Took forever to do, but I like it…  I’m not going to put it up here for you to laugh at all the bad haircuts I’ve had over the years just yet, as someone might be getting it for Christmas… Shhhh!

So that’s it, October is over, November has begun –  the last month to complete as many of the 40 for 40 list as possible.  There may be one or two that don’t get completed by my birthday (Item 2 anyone?!) but I’m still going to do my best to complete as many as I can…


‘Till the next time…


~ by BlobbyJogger on 7 November, 2011.

One Response to “Just Say Yes”

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show
    up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway,
    just wanted to say superb blog!

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