Progress Update – Halfway!

I launched The List with four years to go and last week I celebrated my 38th birthday, so I’m now officially halfway.  I’m pleased to report that progress is on track – I’ve completed 20 challenges and there are 20 remaining.  It’s been huge fun and I’ve also learnt a lot.

My tree, blossoming in the garden

My tree, blossoming in the garden

A quick recap of those ticked off:  I’ve drunk at the Great British Beer Festival, cruised the Norwegian fjords, done the SPICE rack including abseiling the Avon Gorge, driven a tank, tasted tequila in Mexico, eaten Chinese in Soho, flown in a glider, been zorbing, had my colours done, taken tea at The Ritz, planted a tree, put all 1,500 of my round the world trip photos into albums, raised £1000 for charity, sung solo at karaoke, skied a black run, toured Winchester College, tried croquet, visited Auschwitz, been to the Coliseum in Rome and walked the Clarendon Way.

I’ve recently been back to see the tree I planted and was so pleased to see that it’s blooming beautifully in the Chesil House Garden of Remembrance.

Blossom on my tree

Blossom on my tree

The most challenging challenge I’ve completed was definitely walking the Clarendon Way  – when I put it on The List I’d never intended to do as a marathon in under seven hours!  But what a reward to raise my £1000 for charity in one go on the back of that.  I’m sure all my wonderful friends and family gave so generously because they were so startled that totally unsporty me was even going to try it.  Having my colours done has been life changing – I’m feeling more confident, actually enjoy going clothes shopping now and get lots of lovely compliments from people about how I look.  Tea at The Ritz was a charming treat and it was very special to be able to share the occasion with Mum and Dad.  Auschwitz was sobering, the fjords beautiful and Mexico fascinating.

I’ve also made good progress with the ongoing challenges.  25 new recipes have been cooked so far, featuring new ingredients and new methods.  There are now only five of the BBC Top 100 Books left for me to read so I’m confident that I will complete in time, even though those six do include War & Peace and Ulysses.  Groan.  My visits to English UNESCO World Heritage sites have been inspiring – Easter weekend last year in Liverpool was a particular highlight; it’s a fascinating and beautiful city.  The Derwent Valley Mills and the Jurassic Coast were also brilliant, each illuminating something I learnt at school with one of those ‘Oh, now I get it’ moments.  The mills brought home the impact of the Industrial Revolution and how much it changed lifestyles and landscapes whilst the wonderful rock strata near Lulworth Cove was the perfect illustration of geography lessons on plate movement.  There are just three UNESCO sites left for me to visit now as I actually toured Cornwall at Easter looking at their Mining Heritage (I just haven’t got round to writing about it yet! – watch this space).  The ones still to get to are Ironbridge Gorge, Durham Castle and Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall, all of which I am sure will be fascinating.

Planning is well underway for another few challenges as well.  I’m attending a one day perfume course on 9th May, and am delighted to have both tickets and accommodation for the Hay Festival at the end of May – the accommodation was far harder to come by than the tickets!  I’m about to book a trip to Iceland for November (just waiting for payday) so I can swim in hot pools there as well as take in some of the culture and landscape.

All in all, I’m really pleased with progress so far and I’m very much looking forward to completing the other half of my 40 before 40.  Except the Brazilian wax…  Why on earth did I put that on the list??!


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