Can’t believe it’s almost over!

With only a shade over a week to go before I turn 50 I’m finding it hard to fathom where the time has gone. But, with just one week left to tidy up the ongoing challenges, the puzzle, teaching someone how to build a website, write a comedy script, prepare a photo exhibition for 2013 and finish writing the book I can’t yet get rest on my laurels.

So, here’s an update on the status of the 50 list. The ongoing challenges, as I say, just have to be tidied up.

Complete 1000 piece jigsaw

The puzzle has been a bit of a thorn in my side to tell the truth. It’s sat on the coffee table most of the year and between the hoover and the dog I’m surprised there’s so many pieces still left but I’m pleased to say there’s about 50 pieces left to fit!

Teach someone how to create a website

Passing on a skill, such as web development, is not an easy one but I have managed to pass on, what skills I have, to Ian Blackett. He has been introduced to web development using WordPress and the use of themes, probably the easiest route to take towards building your own website and I’m pleased to say his new website will be launched this week.

Write a comedy sketch

The comedy script has been in development for a little while now and is based on a ludicrous incident I experienced last year when I parked my car outside the volunteer bureau. I phoned them to ask if they’d assist me by helping to get my wheelchair from the back of the car. I was alone at the time otherwise it would have been ok. I could see the lady as I spoke to her on the phone talk to her colleagues before coming back to me with “I’m sorry but we’re not allowed to lift wheelchairs”. I then asked a traffic warden and his reply just astounded me. He said “If I wasn’t wearing this uniform I’d be more than willing to help you. But I’m not allowed to lift wheelchairs from cars” so as you can imagine I just had to write about it and emphasise the ludicrous situation with some laughs because that’s all I could do at the time! I have been helped with this challenge by Clive Wagner, an experienced director, photographer and all round nice guy and Alison Pettitt, actor, singer and brilliant voice artist. They have been helping me to put together the outline into which I have been writing the dialogue.

Prepare a photo exhibition for 2013

The photo exhibition will be at the Castle Theatre in December next year. All the images are in place and I also have the printing and framing organised. Why so late in the year, well there’s so much else going on I want to get everything out of the way so I can concentrate on the exhibition.

Write a book

I’m currently writing up each challenge as I complete them and also going through the 1st proof of the manuscript. It’s almost finished and I can’t wait to see the book on the bookshelf in the local WH Smith store.

Unfortunately there are 4 challenges that I have been unable to complete. But it’s not without trying.

Spend a weekend with a Formula 1 Team

This was always going to be a long shot but I thought that with the number of emails I sent to teams I’d get at least one bite. But I got nothing back. I did get lots of offers from a number of people that made enquires on my behalf and I thank them for their efforts.

Meet John Cleese

This was also a long shot but I thought worth a go. I met John Cleese back in 1976 when I was just 14 at, of all places, but in keeping with the 70s, a cheese and wine party. I’d been invited to Westminster School to spend a week with a number of other children of my age with disabilities. I’d arrived late and missed the coach taking the others out to a show in London. The lady organising the week told me that she’d keep me company while the others were at the show. She took me to the large hall where there were a number of people, celebrating something, and that’s where I met John Cleese. He was a very genuine chap who was very interested in where I’d come from and what school I went to. He was very easy to talk to, not as intimidating as I expected him to be, after all he is very tall. When it was time to leave John walked out with me and on the way out of the hall I fell over and cut my knee. He helped me up and then said, “here’s my number, if you need anything let me know”. I lost the number but I probably would have been too intimidated to ring him anyway. I’d like to meet him again to see if he remember that night outside Westminster School hall back in 1976.

I managed to contact his agent who sent my details onto his PA but I haven’t heard anything back. Mind, he has been out of the country for most of the year apparently. There’s not much more I can do to make this happen because there’s a fine line between trying to make contact with someone and becoming a stalker!

Get one of my photos printed in a national newspaper

I just wish the media, including TV, would pay more attention to the great sport of drag racing. A little while ago Matt Hagan was racing his fuel funny car when it exploded and it made it in to all the papers including BBC News. I admit it was quite dramatic but that has happened before and it will happen again. It’s the nature of the sport, obviously no one wants to see people getting hurt and in fact most drivers walk away from an incident like that.

However, I prefer seeing a fuel funny car or a top fuel dragster breaking both time and speed records. There’s nothing quite like it, close to 8000 bhp reaching speeds of over 300 mph and all in under 5 seconds. I would prefer it if the press could report on the positive sides of the sport not the hiccups that drag racers experience every now and then. As a press photographer at Santa Pod Raceway I was hoping that I might get an image published but it seems breaking records is less than attractive than an exploding car!

This challenge isn’t going to happen just yet, but I’d like to think I might be able to complete this one day.

Catch a big sea fish

Believe me when I say, I have caught a fish, I did, really…. Ok, so it was the size of a sprat. That’s why I have yet to complete this challenge. It’s not the same as having a go at jet skiing or playing table tennis. The fish have to co-operate with me, but in this instance they failed to do that. So, it’s not something I’m going to let slip by and I’ll be out early next year, as soon as the weather warms up again to catch that big fish!

And now, I find myself starting to think about the new year and what challenges and opportunities will be presented before me. The book is going to be published on the 28th February and talk of publicising the book around that time will be keeping me busy no doubt.

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Quote

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

T. E. Lawrence