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#110 – Volunteer at the Olympics/Paralympics

‘Long hours, no pay and a mandatory cheery smile…
why do people want to be London 2012 volunteers?’
Jenny Minard

Back in 2010, before I had even celebrated my 16th birthday, my Dad spoke to me one weekend about applying to be a London 2012 Games Maker. He had seen an article in the local newspaper about it and had done all the research for me – obviously he was very aware that 15yo me wouldn’t really have done anything about it – and all that was needed to be done was to fill out the application form.

Fast forward to January 2012 and I was invited to have both a first and second interview at the London 2012 HQ as part of the 100,000+ strong candidacy search that had been whittled down from an initial 200,000+.

A couple of months later the news then came through, I was one of the luck 70,000 volunteers to be selected to be involved at London 2012! (more…)

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#107 – Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

‘To Callum
Good luck and phone your mum.
Brum love
Glynn Purnell’

The countdown to my leaving the UK in 2016 for an unspecified amount of time was under way and, as part of my goodbyes, I was treated by my mum to a meal at the restaurant of one of my favourite Chef’s, Glynn Purnell.

The menu of choice at his Michelin star restaurant? The 9 course tasting menu.
To put it simply, it was a phenomenal dining experience.

Cornwall Street in Birmingham is the home of Purnell’s Restuarant. It is actually quite an understated building and, if you aren’t looking out for it, it is somewhere you could easily walk past without a second thought.

We were greeted immediately upon arrival, our bags and coats put to one side, and allowed to push the conversation (more…)

#104 – Watch a show at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

‘Cornwall’s extraordinary Minack Theatre is testimony
to one woman’s passion’
Philip Johnston

The Minack Theatre is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful performance space I have ever had the pleasure of watching theatre in. Carved into the edge of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, this seasonal outdoor venue stands strong against the elements to deliver unique theatrical experiences to its audience.

The Minack Theatre has wowed audiences since the 1930s, with the threat of neither wind nor rain able to keep willing patrons at bay.

(more…)

#90 – Be the ‘Best Man’ at a Wedding

On Saturday January 29th 2011, the evening before turning 50, my Dad proposed to Helen (my now step-mum) during a celebratory dinner at our favourite local pub-restaurant, La Collina. Present that night were myself, Helen’s parents, and Helen’s brother with his family.

On Friday 1st July 2011 I celebrated my 18th birthday with my whole family for the first time. However, unbeknown to me, a single present was held back by my Dad and was instead given to me at a small BBQ at his that following weekend. The present was a book titled (more…)

Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Phillip Island 1D Tour

‘Take a waddle on the wild side’Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Heh. Every time I see that quote it makes me chuckle. Anyway…

I won’t deny that my decision to take this tour on my 24th birthday was born out of pure nostalgia because, well, it was. And even though Phillip Island is home to more than just the Penguin Parade – it also hosts the Australian Moto GP on its Grand Prix Circuit – it is for the parade that I took this tour. After all, it is something I had seen when I was first brought out to Australia by my dad and step-mum on my 6th birthday, hence the nostalgia making me want to visit once more.

As with the Great Ocean Road and Grampians tour (pt.1 & pt.2), this Phillip Island tour was arranged through Wildlife Tours, although it didn’t require quite as early a start as the last tours! Nevertheless, I still ended up spending the majority of the drive fast asleep.

As the Penguin Parade doesn’t occur until after sunset (more…)

#51 – Watch the Olympics Live

‘”Inspire a generation” is our motto. Not necessarily “Create a generation” …
which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village’
– Boris Johnson

Although my sport of choice is football, there is something special about the Olympics. I know it, you know it, we all know it. After all, these are athletes at the very peak of their powers, performing in the largest – and one of the oldest – sporting events in the world. Plus the opportunity only comes around once every four years!

Although I know I watched some of the 2004 Athens Olympics, it was the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games that really captured my attention. (more…)

(Untitled thoughts of one who doesn’t say thank you enough)

“You don’t know what you have got until it is gone”. A common phrase that everyone will have been told at some point or another. It’s applicable to pretty much all walks of life as well, from the unsung hero, to the all-rounder at work, to that friend who may fly under the radar but will never let you down when you need them most.

Most importantly, it’s a phrase that should resonate strongly when it comes to your family, especially your parents. At least, it does with mine. All three of them. And it is especially prevalent when it comes to social media interactions. (more…)

#47 – Visit Stonehenge, England

‘Why the ancient civilizations who built the place did not
use the easier, nearby rocks remains a mystery.
But the skills and knowledge on display
at Stonehenge are not’
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

If I’m completely honest, I have a very fuzzy memory of my trip to Stonehenge. I was quite young at the time, possibly not even a teenager, but certain parts of the day do remain crystal clear to me. The first of these memories centres – unsurprisingly – around food.  More specifically, cold sausage sandwich with ketchup for breakfast at sunrise. Honestly, when it comes to insanely good breakfast foods to have after an early start and a journey, never underestimate a good old tasty cold sausage sandwich.

The second thing I remember – or believe I remember – is that at the time of our visit there was either some construction work or excavation work (more…)

#46 – Visit the Eiffel Tower, Paris

‘The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower. They’re monumental.
They’re straight out of Page 52 in your school history book’
–  Billy Crystal

The Eiffel Tower. The “Iron Lady”. A single structure that is synonymous with both Paris and France. This iron behemoth was once the worlds tallest structure, and is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Moreover no visit to Paris can be said to be complete without seeing it and, even though I have been several times now, my most recent visit was my favourite.

Previously I had only ever visited the tower during daylight hours, but Heather reminded me that at night it lights up, with a beacon at its peak, shining through the sky. So on a beautiful autumn evening we found ourselves gazing up at at the illuminated body (more…)

#45 – See the Mona Lisa

‘Mona Lisa looks as if she has just been sick, or is about to be’ – Noel Coward

Sorry to be stereotypical here, but a visit to the Louvre will always end up turning into a hunt for the Mona Lisa. It’s an interesting piece with a conflicted history, although I always wonder how much of the mystique surrounding this particular Da Vinci work is borne from the attention and focus that was placed upon it by my formative years in school.

Saying that, unlike the Louvre, the Mona Lisa is purely on this list so it could be ‘ticked off’ due to how much emphasis was placed on its “magisterial nature” whilst at school. There was no attachment, or even desire at all. The most apt description would be “going through the motions”.

At the end of the day, it is a piece of art. Not the best piece of art but, that doesn’t always matter, does it? Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is effectively the art worlds equivalent of the fashion industries designer labels. It may not be of the best quality, but it was a created by an acclaimed hand.

Plus, like the Louvre, I can say I have seen the Mona Lisa. I don’t know, but that seems to carry a bit of weight, especially with those who aren’t connoisseurs of the art industry (much like myself).

 

To see my complete bucket list, click here