The Bucket List re-visited

While walking the dog first thing this morning, amongst other things, I got to thinking about the bucket list I put together 5 years ago. Whether I would have the same list now, I am not sure, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the list is definitive.

I have managed to knock some of the items off – should they be replaced, I wonder? Are you supposed to finish the Bucket List and then die? If you add replacement items, what does that mean? Are you managing to postpone the fateful day? No. It just gives you more things to do, obviously.

So, over a cup of coffee, I have found the list and can report as follows:

1. Drive across the Millau Bridge on a misty morning

Done. Actually drove across it in beautiful sunshine, but it was misty when we arrived beneath, as recent photos have shown.

2. Walk to Cape Wrath

Not done. Maybe next year, if I get the chance.

3. Visit Cape Cod

Done. A 50th birthday trip and a place that would be well worth revisiting sometime. One of the most relaxed places I have ever been to.

4. Take the train to Venice

Not done, although have been to Venice a couple of times since that was added to the list. In retrospect, I’m not sure that taking the train would actually add much to the experience.

5. Go back to see my Great Grandfather on the Somme

To do this time next year, on the hundredth anniversary.

6. Explore the West Coast of Ireland properly

Not done.

7. See the Northern Lights – Norway?

Not done.

8. Visit Copenhagen

Done a couple of years ago.

9. Revisit Berlin

Not done.

10. Spend a week in a small hotel on the Gironde at harvest time.

Done, on the same trip as the Millau bridge, this autumn.

So, of the 10 items on the list, I have done 4 1/2, with at least one planned for next year. I suppose that’s not bad given it’s 5 years since I put the list together. I was kind of planning on being able to do one per year.

I am a very lucky man to have been able to go to places that allow me to knock off half of this list. Of all the remaining items, I suspect that the Northern Lights will be the one that proves the most difficult and will remain “to do”.

Here are a few photos taken from my walk with Betsy this morning. I’m going to miss this place if we ever move.

Fence post

Red Rocks

Hilbre Island

Keep taking the tablets…

I haven’t updated this blog in nearly a month, so it’s about time that I did.

Lots of routine stuff has happened, of course.

Once again the car has been serviced. This I time, I had to pay for it myself, as the “service pack” that I bought with the car, which gives the first 60,000 miles servicing at a discount, has expired. The car has now done more than 70,000 miles and, incredibly… , this is a major, serious service. All the filters need to be changed again and I was pleased to receive a text from the garage telling me that the front brake pads and disks all need replacing too. To have got 70,000 miles out of them is very good, but when you turn up to collect the car and are given a bill for £1,060, it’s a bit of a leveller. Even the service agent at the garage raised her eyebrows a bit as she told me how much it would be.

The rear brakes are also in need of replacement in 10,000 miles. I have had these done before, back in June, so I will question that when the time comes round. They really shouldn’t be wearing out so fast. I suspect that there is a faulty reader, or something.

I have also been considering what my next car should be, but it’s difficult to decide with having the house on the market. (No joy on that front, I’m afraid). I really don’t want to be hiring a car for 40,000 miles again in the Spring, and then moving closer to the office so that high rate isn’t necessary. That would partly defeat the object of the move, if it ever takes place. I will make a decision in the New Year, and probably change after Easter.

The Istanbul Challenge voting has been and gone and, incredibly, my shot came fourth. I really wasn’t expecting that, so maybe I must still be doing something right. A decision was taken while in Istanbul that 2015 should see us go to Vienna. Hotel already booked! Flights are a bit of an issue, though… guess which airline offers the cheapest flights to the city… It’s not Austrian Airlines.

And a couple of not really routine things to report too.

Firstly, I have stopped taking the statin tablets prescribed to me before we went away. I have had high cholesterol for as long as I can remember, certainly all of my adult life. When I first found this out, maybe 25 years ago, I went on an extreme low-fat diet and ate at least 60 grams of oatbran every day and managed to get it down to something “acceptable”. However, one cannot live one’s life like that, so the regime quickly fell by the wayside. At a routine blood test at my GP, the results came back high as usual and he recommended that I take a statin. This is an “every night for the rest of your life” deal.

Within the first week or so, I had had two nightmares, something that I haven’t had since I was a child. Disturbed sleep is one of the side effects that can occur, and fortunately, the nightmares only occurred a couple of times. However, since then, I found that I would take a very long time to get to sleep and wake several times during the night. I even installed an App on my phone which monitors your sleep pattern, scoring a most impressive 61% average quality of sleep. Getting fed up with this, I consulted the GP and have been advised to stop taking the tablets for a couple of weeks and see if this helps. So I have, and so far it think it has.

I think I’d rather live with the higher risk of stroke and heart attack than not sleep properly for the rest of my life. That can’t be good for you either. Maybe there is an alternative drug that they can give me that won’t affect me like this, so we will see.

Monday brings the CT scan I have written about in the past and have been waiting for. I don’t not look forward to these, if that makes sense. I know that they aren’t good for you in a basic physiological way, given that they are about as strong as 400 x-rays, but the information that they generate is far more important than that. I see my consultant again in 10 days time for the regular 4 monthly check up and the results of the scan, so that will be interesting. With a bit of luck, he still won’t be able to see anything, but as time goes by, and being 4 1/2 years into my remission, I am staring to feel like I am on borrowed time with this. But, let’s not jump the gun and see what happens in only a few days.

Christmas is coming around all too fast once again. A time to count one’s blessings, appreciate once again the support from family and friends that help us get through the days and weeks and make sure that they know that they are appreciated and loved. I couldn’t do this on my own and my heart goes out to those that do not have the support and love that I enjoy.

No presents for us this year. We have booked to go to San Francisco for a week in March, so that will be a big enough gift. We are flying with Virgin…. Maybe I will hire a car over there for a day and give the booking form as a gift. But now the secret is out… I’m sure that there will have to be a little something under the tree.