Archives for posts with tag: Birthday Milestones

Such a cliché, but for me, this is late-life rather than mid-life crisis talk and something I thought about doing to celebrate turning fifty, a whole decade ago (so not something I’m rushing into, so to speak). The choice then, was three-fold – sports car, visit terracotta warriors or blow-out party. And the party was fab… a real show-stopping, humdinger of a celebration which I loved.

But being the greedy girl I am, I still hankered after that car.

To be fair, I did get one spin of the wheel when I took possession of a friend’s beloved MG when he very sadly ‘passed over the rainbow’. I had great fun for a couple of months, racing around Welsh lanes,  hearing the birds and smelling the trees, before putting it into winter storage. I was hooked, but this car wasn’t suitable for a daily seventy-mile commute. It’s a collectable – a fragile lady in need of renovation and I need to respect her age.

And so for the last couple of months His Nibbs has very kindly been keeping an eye on the market, all to no avail. Until last weekend, when a rather smart MX5 popped up on his radar. ‘Fancy a run down to Bournemouth to look at a car?’ he casually asked over toast and marmalade. Did I heck!

It took a little longer than we anticipated to hit the outskirts of Bournemouth, in fact it was nearly dusk. His Nibbs was a little concerned at looking over a car in the dark but there was sufficient daylight left for me to make a test drive, lose my head and hand over the dosh. I adjusted the mirrors, waited while His Nibbs cautiously fasten his seat-belt, and roared off the forecourt in the direction of home.  

For the last year I’ve enjoyed driving an automatic car. Who would have imagined that twelve months of life with an automatic gearbox would cancel out the experience of thirty-eight years of using a manual gearbox? His Nibbs gamely sat through a few hours of kangaroo leaps and lurching roars until we reached Bath. By the time we pulled up outside our favourite burger bar, I was a coiled spring, totally focused on the gear-stick and the array of instruments on the dashboard which all seemed to work in reverse order. I unpeeled my fingers from the steering wheel, unpeeled my body from the tiny bucket seat and gratefully unpeeled the wrapper from my garlic mayo burger. This was indeed, a new challenge. How  was I going to tame the little beast before riding it to work the following morning?


So now I have my convertible… my lovely fun car in Soul Red. Each morning is a challenge, roaring along the M4 on my commute, dodging the wheels of the big trucks and weaving my way through the traffic. It’s a noisy ride – the radio is set to full volume for me to catch the news headlines, but I love every minute. I’ve stepped out of my comfort-zone (literally – the Jag was like riding in a duvet), and I can’t wait for the warm weather and the hood to come down. By which time, the yodelling practice will be pretty first class!  


I’ve always wanted to yodel. Raised on Heidi and the Sound of Music, the reverberation of those throaty gurgles fills me with unexplained delight and makes me feel five years old again. So there was never any doubt that this would be the Number One challenge on my list of new things to achieve this year.

I casually dropped it into the conversation while trying to make small talk at a recent party. I was talking to the husband of a friend; a rather retiring bloke, not much given to socialising and someone I don’t know particularly well. I hoped it would be an ice breaker… it was.

‘I’m going to undertake sixty new challenges, this year,’ I started.

‘You realise that’s more than one a week,’ he replied, in seemingly disbelief. Put like this, it did appear a daunting task. Nevertheless, I took a deep breath and recklessly revealed my number one quest. He raised an eyebrow over his wineglass and without missing a beat replied, ‘I can yodel.’

I scanned his face. Was he making a joke? ‘My grandfather taught me,’ he added. I giggled a little nervously, still not quite sure whether he was pulling my leg. This was a line from a song… a yodelling song, wasn’t it? ‘The thing with yodelling,’ he continued, ‘is to be confident. Frank Ifield… he was a good yodeller. I’ve got a couple of his records. You can borrow them, if you like.’ If a giant chicken had knocked me over, I couldn’t have been more stunned. This was the first person with whom I’d shared my ambition. Surely this was a good omen, a sign to step out of my comfort zone and have a go.

But how to set about it? Do yodelling teachers advertise? Are there night classes? Or would this be a DIY task? I searched the internet for inspiration and found none. It soon became evident that if I wanted to learn, I would have to teach myself. There is scant learning material available and this, mostly American in origin, but I had the bit between my teeth and plumped for an audiobook by Cathy Fink and Tod Whittemore. Before I could have second thoughts, I hit the ‘Buy it Now’ button and made my purchase.

I didn’t have to wait long. Within two days I collected my parcel from the local Amazon locker and excitedly opened the package. I was a little disappointed to find a flimsy booklet of half a dozen typed sheets (we’re talking vintage Imperial here, for those of you old enough to know what that is), bound together with a plastic spiral spine. This was not encouraging.

There were two CD also included, so I slipped the first one into the car CD player. The country-folk tones of Cathy and Tod yodelled out of the car’s speakers followed by a promise to teach me the secrets of American yodelling if I undertook to follow their method and practised regularly. They claimed that the best place to practice was in the car, driving down the freeway, where the novice yodeller was less likely to disturb their fellow neighbour (or His Nibbs, in this case).

So I’m following their advice and taking my lessons in the car, during those private journeys to and from work. If you happen to pass me on the M4 motorway on one of these dark winter mornings, be glad your car windows are wound up against the cold morning air and my rookie hollering. I’ll let you know how I get along!

The start of a new year and I’m not the kind of person who makes resolutions or new plans, but this morning, after a pleasant evening celebrating the turn of the year, I’m taken aback at a new, unwelcome feeling that has enveloped me. This is 2020 and the year in which I’m due to celebrate a milestone birthday. A biggie… the big six-oh.

It’s not like this is a surprise – several of my friends and family in the last couple of months  have casually asked how I’m going to celebrate. So far, I’ve managed to duck out of answering. In truth, I’m not going to be sixty… sixty is old and in my head and heart, I’m still 45 years old. So I don’t want it to happen. I refuse to accept my fate and I refuse to accept the depression that has been loitering with intent since I woke on this first day of 2020.

Helping to tidy the debris of last night’s celebrations, I asked My Lovely Friend how she had coped with reaching this milestone age, just last month. She’d celebrated the event with a week of parties and special events and didn’t seem especially fazed. What was her view? ‘Well’, she responded, lifting her yellow marigolds from the sink of dirty champagne flutes, ‘you have to think about the alternative… which is not reaching sixty. And we don’t want that, do we, darling?’

So I’m raging… raging against the injustice of time which inexorably moves forward. And I’m looking for a box in which to bury this rage – a big box with a tight lid. In the end, I’ve come up with a plan to help seize control of my life, which is being snatched away by age. I’m going to create a list of sixty things to do in my sixtieth year. Things I’ve always promised myself I’d do at some point in my life. I’m not sure what the list will contain just yet, but I’ve got a few ideas floating around, and I’m going to write about the progress I make.

The first is 1#. Learn to Yodel. Quite how I’m going to achieve this, or any of the other things on the list has not yet been factored into my thinking. But it’s going to be a challenge and I reckon it will keep me distracted and keep that rage in it’s box. Watch this space!

1#. Learn to Yodel

2#. Climb Pen-Y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons

3#. Swim Naked in a Warm Sea

4#. Swap my Car for a Convertible

5#. Publish an Anthology of Poetry

6#. Visit my Gourmet Girlfriends in South America

7#. Explore the Scottish Highlands

8#. Complete my First Novel

9#. Re-learn how to Play the Cello

10#. ?

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