blogging

#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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(Untitled thoughts of one who has been away for a year and counting)

Well, what a difference a year makes! A year ago today I had just landed in New Zealand and was scrambling around trying to find away to find my phone, ID, and credit card, having left them behind in the car of the people who had driven me from the airport to my hostel – it was made all the harder by the fact that I had only met these people on the flight itself!

It is strange to think that it has been 12months since I last stepped out on English soil. So much has happened since then, however it is safe to say that (more…)

(Untitled thoughts of a boy and his shadow)

All through his life, the boy had one companion who never abandoned him; his shadow. His shadow kept him company whilst he faced his ups and downs, danced with him on his good days, comforted him on his bad days. Although he was not always visible to the boy, he was always there, watching over him, day after day, week after week.

However, the boy would often take his shadow for granted. He was a silent friend to the boy, even if the boy didn’t realise. He never asked for anything and never received anything in return for his contributions to the boys life, not even a simple thank you.

See, what the boy didn’t realise is that whilst he could pick and choose other companions to spend his life with, shadows don’t have that choice. They choose their partner at the point of birth and stay with them for life. Furthermore, whilst their partner may forget various aspects of their lives, their shadow will always remember.

This boy and his shadow had gone through many journey’s together and his shadow knew that there were still many more to come. After all, the boy was young and eager to push himself, to see the world, to explore, to create, to develop… to live. And so his shadow was surprised to realise that they boy was scared. That he was feeling

(more…)

#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…)

#52 – Watch the Paralympics Live

‘I lost my leg aged five…
now I’m 1.9 seconds behind Usain Bolt’ 
– Jonnie Peacock

Although 2008 provided the watershed moment for me in regards to the Olympics, the Paralympics still very much flew under the radar for me. That is, however, until my application to be a volunteer at London 2012 was deemed successful and I was appointed a London 2012 Games Maker for the duration of the 2012 Paralympic Games. As a result, I thought I’d look into the Paralympics in a little more detail and, the more I looked, the more excited I became. (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

#44 – Visit the Louvre

‘What’s the name of that famous museum in Paris? The Louvre?
I went through that place in 20 minutes’
– Peter Falk

Growing up, the Louvre if often fantasised about as one of the “must-sees” for any trip into Paris – especially for art lovers of all backgrounds. The diversity of styles, and the eras that are represented are well documented, as is the vast underground and overground space that it consumes.

Although I had been to Paris previously, the opportunity to visit the Louvre always escaped me, which I found rather irksome. So, when I went to visit my friend Heather in October 2016, getting to the Louvre was a top priority which – thankfully – she was in agreement with me on. (more…)