Whilst it would seem a strange thing to have an annual review following a year that has only highlighted my descent into further indolence which is no mean achievement considering my starting point! However there is a rationale, for a change! Were Red Baron’s Words to have, or require, stakeholders you would be they by virtue of your presence and therefore you should be rewarded for your laudable persistence.  Furthermore having left a comment on Gema’s brand new blog it seemed I needed to stick up for us old hacks who’ve been at this silliness for nearly a decade now!  Even all the newbies have passed me and soon I will not even have my extensive back catalogue to rest laurels on!

It speaks volumes that I did not, as I usually have done previously, mark the anniversary of my starting this journey, such as it has been. On January 18th 2004 aged a mere 32 I decided that I was not going to right things down in books and notepaper that would get lost and would instead follow the example of luminaries and embracers of the new media such as Salaam Pax the “Baghdad Blogger.” Weblogs as they were then called were attracting a little attention precisely because no-one really knew a lot about them, such that had they been referred to in ways such as ‘online journal’ or ‘electronic diary’ it might have made quite clear what most people used the medium for. As it was it all sounded exotic to most people who at the time were not entirely convinced the internet was an idea that would catch on.

So this all in mind I decided that it would be fair and correct to give updates on the Pre-50 50 in order to see how I’ve been getting on, perhaps garner some hints, collect volunteers where applicable and generally hold myself to account a bit.

[The Pre-50 50 should you choose to revisit it.]

There are of course a number of things on the list that are ongoing and should be so one has to assess whether or not things are progressing as they should be.


1. Move abroad (again)

2. Leave IT for something meaningful

3. Go for custody of my children

4. Rationalise my stuff into want I need and a little of what commemorates my past for posterity.

In numbers 1-4 there has been little progression and in truth I would probably have expected as much. Which is not to say they should be forgotten, merely realistically assessed.  Due to circumstances beyond my control no.2 may have its hand forced before the end of this year.

5. Keep off the fags

This continues and this is a good thing, the wagon has bumps now and again one looks out as sees the vista as one thought it might have been but I remain reasonably steady.

6. Do an MA either in Linguistics or Trade Union relations

This is something that may sort of be happening in a roundabout way as I have embarked on the TUC Dipl Employment Law, it isn’t quite an MA but it is practical study for perhaps something to assist with No. 2

7. Write something every week

Hmm yes a little difficult to avoid scrutiny on this one. I am gradually getting back to it now, I did write last year, fits and starts, mostly poetry, some prose, not as much diatribe as I probably needed to! I do of course have my other new project which until February was progressing pretty well. Not yet up to scratch but I do have a compadre equally derelict in her duties, so maybe soon we’ll be back on track.

8. Read a book every month

For whatever reason I cannot seem to get going properly on the reading, I’ve been much the same with music as well. Reading for me is not generally the sort of thing I do when going to bed it is the sort of thing I do when travelling by train or eating lunch and the former happens precious few times whilst the latter I now rarely if ever tend to do alone.

9. Write a book every year – and not just part of a book either.

Well I didn’t finish one last year, I did write quite a bit more of one but no still not finished, must try harder!

10. Finish my play – to avoid it becoming like the books!

Yep bang to rights again, I don’t think I’ve actually done anything else on it last year in fairness so it’s not been on the radar.

11. Get an anthology of poetry published

I’m not sure about this one, right now it seems unimportant almost undesirable, perhaps that’ll change.  I do post poetry, I’ve even put some here, but others can be a little too raw.

12. Send more work to competitions and journals

Again there is a mixed feeling to this one so for now it’s on hold.

13. Take more photographs

I took comparatively few last year which is a shame, but my Christmas present to myself was a 9yr old 2nd hand camera that I have been after for nearly 9 years! I’m hoping this may reinvigorate. I should perhaps add to this one to take more video footage, the children grow up relentlessly and each week is one where you cannot go back to who they were and what they looked like then.

14. Do an anonymous selfless act each week

Well this hasn’t happened consciously which was sort of the point to ensure I did it. I’d like to hope I might do so as a general rule in life anyway but of course it is easy to think you’re being good whereas actually being so may be a little different.

15. Think before I speak more often

I still REALLY need to work on that!

16. Slow dance with someone.

Nope still a to do. The thing with something like this is that it would feel odd as a forced thing, doing it for the sake of crossing it off a list is different to doing it and gaining the enjoyment and then crossing it off the list with a story surrounding it.

17. Sit on top of a hill and watch the sun come up with someone

Again like 16 there kind of has to be someone to do it with.  I know a venue close and one far away where it would be wonderful.

18. Ask people out if I like them

Well confidence has always been a tricky one, I have on two occasions specifically asked the question and on a further two there seemed a possibility of some ‘organic chemistry’ but all came to naught. However it is sometimes easy to see the end result as rendering futile that which led you to the conclusion in the first place and that would be wrong. I have fulfilled my part of the bargain the fact that nothing came of it was neither within my control nor the subject of this point.

19. Go to a film marathon with someone

The opportunity has never arisen for this but I guess the point with such a list is to be proactive, you have to make things happen as by and large they will not happen of their own accord. If you allow life to dictate the terms it seldom turns out well.

20. Spend more time concerned with those who care about me and less concerned trying to convert those who do not.

It remains something of an ongoing thing and surely something that everybody at certain times is guilty of but those of us with little confidence wobbles perhaps more so or more often. It would be probably inaccurate to say I’ve improved but I haven’t got any worse!

21. Learn empathy

Rather like the point above it is more about a time investment.


22. Take someone I’m in love with to Ile Saint-Margueritte

Well the second part rather relies on the first doesn’t it?!

23. Visit St-Guilhem-Le-Désert (again)

Still a to do, I have been back to France but not there, yet.

24. Buy a sailing yacht

I should really have put this one after the next one as there is something of an interdependence!

25. Learn to sail

No movement, literally.

26. Visit Cuba

27. Visit Venezuela

There is a leetle monetary shortfall on this one but you never know, one day.

28. Drive a 1980s BMW 6 series along the French Riviera

Ah, still just a dream sadly

29. Drive a multi-national banger rally in either an old Mini or a BMW E30

Well I have a friend who is interested in doing this one with me now in the E30 (not mine!) so that’s progress and I would say definitely going to happen before 50, maybe even 45.

30. Spend a month travelling round India on trains

Every time the pyjama cricket comes on the TV it makes me think of India and the myriad assortment of things I wish to do.  As yet the cash is lacking but this will be the first one to be addressed when I have the time and money to do so.

31. Spend a week on the Isles of Scilly

Not even been back as yet, which is a bit poor really!

32. Leave the country once every year

So far so good on this, ok it’s only been 1 year in the scheme of things but we all start somewhere and I started in Portugal. The trip to France this year has already happened and I may be going again in the next couple of months.

33. Visit 1 new country every 5 years

Hurrah for Portugal ticking 2 boxes and giving me 4 years grace! It was nice to go somewhere new and I learnt a surprising amount about myself in a short space of time that I am almost a different person abroad. I am also hoping to get to Greece to visit a friend hopefully within the next 12 months so that would be another new.

34. Visit 2 continents within the 10 years

Sadly Portugal does not tick a triple whammy and the intercontinental endeavours must wait.

35. Take the children to Ireland

Disappointingly I’ve not been back to the homeland in a couple of years and it is high time even without the children. It is a place that seems to afford me a certain amount of peace which is much needed.

36. Take the children to France

This relies on the patronage of the other parent, as in fact does the above and that is yet to be granted.

37. Walk the route of the old Berlin Wall

I walked the great Hadrians Wall in 2011 with Captain Fay McDandy and it was most excellent, far from putting me off such efforts it fuelled the desire with evidence of its enjoyment, in all but a nasty encounter with Brown 187 and a last day that was as near to Northern hell as I would ever seek to experience.

38. Stay in the DDR theme hotel

This is probably one for the same time as the wall


39. Get into the habit of 4 forms of exercise a week

The High Intensity Training as part of the academic study is making some real changes here, which is as well given the excesses of Christmas and shoulder tendonitis stopping me from the badminton.

40. Cycle to work (4.8 miles)

There is partly a health issue to blame here but it is too easy solely to blame my back problems. However the High Intensity Training has shown that I can cycle and the benefit in doing so is manifold. Definitely one to have a real tilt at this year.

41. Get down to 34″ waist

Ahem, yes, well…

42. Get down to 14 stone


43. Sort out the health niggles I’m always putting off.

Bloody niggles!


44. Pay off debts (around £7000)

This has plagued me since I left university, it’s a gradual process but progress remains albeit little steps.

45. Don’t get into any more debt

46. Menu plan every meal

A lot better at this now which has proven valuable especially this month, knowing what you are going to eat and when does cut down on the desire to eat shite because you’re not standing in the kitchen after work thinking that you can’t be bothered to cook.

47. Don’t buy mindless things just to make me feel better or less bored.

I’ve been skint, this has helped!

48. Sell one item on ebay for each item I buy

I’m buying little and selling even less

49. Save some money each month, even if it’s a tenner. – longer you leave it harder it is.

I am now saving a tenner!

50. If I should be still writing (not to mention alive) at 60 I hope that I might continue the process and that it will be of as much interest as it may be now.

Well I’ve continued to make it so I guess that’s a success!

So there you go, feel free to sit in the board room and issue suitable admonishments.  If I’m feeling really productive I may even manage to respond, maybe even this month.  Let’s not be too hasty eh, small steps!

Song Of The Day ~ Junip – Line Of Fire