Posted tagged ‘Bucket List’

The Bucket List #4 – The Pole Vault

August 20, 2012

Insiders at JJB Sports have issued a Mark Twain like comment by saying that reports of its impending demise are premature. Nonetheless the share price for the sportswear and accessories firm is in free fall. Rivals (Sports Direct and JD Sports) have strengthened their place in the market. Mismanagement is blamed for the financial crunch that has put the company on the edge. Even the country wide feel good factor of a successful Olympics has not helped sales.

To me a sports shop should cater for every sport, however minor that sport should be. If you are a synchronised swimmer and you’re needing a peg for your nose, JJB should have it not the local hardware shop. Similarly if you’re a high jumper, high jump mats should be on display. Discus safety cages are another thing you never see. Can you imagine practising your speed-building rotational method Shot Put in the house without a cage? Carnage is the appropriate word to use here.

Usain Bolt, by common consent, was the star of the Olympics and will have inspired a new generation of sprinters. I’ll give JJB some credit here. They do stock running shoes. But when I asked an assistant if I could buy a set of sprint blocks, a starting gun and a winner’s podium they meekly answered, no. I bolted out the shop.

It annoyed me that there was a plethora of golf balls and golf gloves available on the shelves. Rugby was adequately compensated with kicking tees and mouth shields. If minority sports like these two are well stocked why don’t they have a crossbow, a saddle or hurdles for sale. And don’t get me started on pole vaults. Now pole vaults might be 14ft in length and cumbersome, if stacked vertically they wouldn’t take up much floor space. I didn’t see any pole vault cross bars, either. I am a frustrated pole vaulter just as pole vaulters are frustrated bloggers. Come on, when was the last time you read a blog by a pole vaulter? Me, I’d love to just once have a shot at pole vaulting.

I was on the way home when I saw this fifteen foot brick wall. I think there was a prison on the other side, I’m not sure. Call it deus ex machina if you will but sitting handily at the side of the pavement was a big stick and I mean a big stick. In much the same way you never walk by a ball without kicking it you never walk by a big stick without picking it up. So I picked it up. I took twenty paces backwards. Holding my big stick like a lance I launched myself at the wall. I dug the big stick in at the foot of the wall and soared to the skies. I might end up in jail, you never know.

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The Bucket List #3 – Destruction

February 11, 2012

The tunes were all in the deaf Beethoven’s head and Rodin could see the figures in the marble before he chipped his way round the stone. It’s a gift to be creative. The opposite of creative is non-creative. Non-creativity is a lot easier to accomplish. For this reason, and for the fun of it, I’d like to put in a virtuoso performance of annihilation.

How good would it be to demolish a building with a wrecking ball?

This weapon of destruction causes carnage and chaos as it is not certain which way the bricks will crumble. Imagine being in the cabin at the controls swinging this almighty leg chain and ball. Stage by stage you can Jenga the edifice with an artists precision. Watch with tingling spine as you devastate lumps of masonry that form massive dust clouds. The only thing I think of that comes close to this powerful juggernaut for sheer elation is snapping bubble wrap even though bubble wrap snapping is a serious addiction for some.

Good times never last and the pendulous wrecking ball crane is past its prime as controlled explosives that level a building in one fell swoop are favoured today. Crowds gather, cameras at the ready, to record the concrete avalanche as the fuse gets ready to blow. This quick dismissal is symptomatic of today’s Twitter, soundbite generation: speed texting, swift broadband speed, rolling news. Not for them the crunching, devastating, deafening as Ludwig van’s fifth, marathon test match viewing of a few days of wrecking ball madness.

As my chances of operating a wrecking ball are slim, health and safety practises would have something to say for a start, I will have to set my sights on something attainable that could give me my destructive fix. In a picture in my head I see trees. One day I am going to cut down a tree. And not just any old tree. I’m talking about a huge tree that you find in a forest. And you can forget about using a power saw. No siree, it’s roll your sleeves up time and hack away with an axe.

After tears, blood, sweat, toil and lots of cola the big tree (I don’t know the names of trees, I’m not a botanist. A tree is a tree is a tree) will come tumbling down. Satisfied? Not yet. The next task is to hollow out the bark using chiselling tools. Rodin the lumberjack would like this. Soon a tunnel will form and I’ll be able to see the daylight shine right through. Then I’ll lie down inside and sleep like a log.

The Bucket List #2 – An element of danger

November 23, 2011

Most of us like a nice, quiet, safe life, this is quite normal. However, as the clock ticks on and the natural time span for a body runs out it would be good to try and rock the boat of boredom to tornado levels. There’s a latent daredevil in me that wants to live life just a little bit fuller.

About the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done is venture onto a roller coaster. I get quite a buzz from the spins and descents while at the back of my mind I know the ride is perfectly safe or it should be anyway. Doing perilous stunts or extreme sports would take training and I can’t be bothered with all that. My idea of danger is to use the lazy route. What I’d like to do is walk along a rickety wooden bridge or a slender path at the side of a mountain.

A treacherous bridge is a man-made nightmare and I’d love to slink along a swaying crossing without holding onto the handrail. Wild waves of water would be underneath me and me being a non-swimmer makes it more interesting. Ideally, the precarious bridge would be in a remote location. Trying to navigate the broken and missing slats would be a nerve-wracking experience. Fun and dangerous at the same time.

Then there’s the mountain passes. I’ve seen films where trains travel round mountains with a sheer drop on one side. Trains are good but it would be a more cliff-hanging adventure doing it by foot. The narrower the trail the better. Walking along crumbling ground underfoot as the sun burns down on me with no shade, no hat, and no water while the sharp rocks in the depths below lick their lips in anticipation of a fall, would be exhilarating. The twin dangers of dehydration and vertigo are in full flow, both vying to make this the last Bucket List. It’s only a matter of time before…

Right enough, already. Repeat the first line of the blog and stop.

The Bucket List #1 – Transportation

October 14, 2011

Travelling the world is something I’ve not got round to yet. One of the reasons being I’m happy in my own back yard. The Paul Newman steak/cheeseburger analogy when describing his wife comes to mind. I mean, why go to the Amazon when we’ve got more rain here?

It’s not fear of flying that holds me back. Going on an airplane doesn’t bother me. Indeed, I’m quite brave on an enclosed plane. I’ll take the window seat, I’ll walk up and down the aisle, I’ll visit the loo, I try and put other fliers at ease, I sing songs, I really have conquered the aeroplane part of aviatophobia. Helicopters are a different kettle of chicken wings.

First off I must say that I have never been on a helicopter. A few things put me off using this type of aircraft. It does seem quite transparent for a start. It’s one thing standing on the glass floor at the top of Blackpool tower quite another to peer out a chopper’s window. Vertical take-off and landing, my left foot. This is Ver-Ti-Go.

My experiences of helicopters are limited to watching them on Hollywood movies. They always seem to have dramatic scenes. The metallic pterodactyls are desperately trying to take-off while bullets are flying around the heads of actors clinging to the landing skids. Or they’re rescuing people in the most hazardous of places. I’m sure 20th Century Fox et al aren’t exaggerating these events and that they are a typical helicopter day.

Thirdly, and this is a fear that only I seem to have. The rotors don’t look safe. I worry that the alignment of the twin rotors is partially off. When we’re in the air I imagine the big horizontal rotor will come into contact with the tail rotor forcing us to spin out of control. Aeronautical experts tell me I’m talking rudder as usual.

Of the other forms of transport I quite like the train as long as I don’t get a rugby pass seat that makes me go backwards. Going the wrong way gives me locomotive sickness. Crowded buses can be entertaining, if you like that sort of thing. What I would like to do, for a refreshing change, would be to drive a horse drawn carriage. This would be tranquil.

Gently cajoling my faithful steed -no whipping- we’d clip clop down the cobbled roads tipping our hats to passing ladies while ignoring the hitch hikers; three’s a crowd. I’d do my Fonz impersonation when we stop off for a haaaay break. Then we carry on our merry way.