I wrote this piece looking out from our place in Italy towards the mountains one late spring morning back in 2010. It was the last of the winter snow and I realised that I’d never tried alpine sports in my life. It made me reflect on other things I’d never done……
Well I’m delighted to say the weather’s turned beautiful here in Italy (now that the Easter holidays are over of course) but there’s still some snow on them thar hills just half an hour away. Looking at them this morning made me realise we’d never been up to the mountains during winter to do some alpine activity. The reality is however, I’ve never undertaken any skiing or the like. And this is the kid who in the snow-bound winter of 1963 spent almost every hour of every day away from school shooting down what passed for local hills on his sledge. I just loved the snow then so what happened? It set me thinking of some of the other things I’ve never done in my life.
Now I have to say upfront that I’ve not led a sheltered life. My jobs in marketing and sponsorship have meant that I’ve had a pretty rich and fulfilled life meeting many of my sporting heroes and got pretty merry with most of them, shared a stage with dozens of folks from Bob Monkhouse to Chris Tarrant, walked up the red carpet at the Cannes Film festival with the cast of Pulp Fiction, been to No 10 and met the PM, was a member of the Bid team in Singapore for the announcement of London winning the 2012 Games, seen Hendrix, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Free, Springsteen perform in their prime, had private viewings of some of the great art shows at Tate from the curators, witnessed some of the amazing behind-the-scenes collections at the British and Natural History museums, sponsored the England rugby team and Damon Hill in anticipation of them both becaming World Champions, entertained folks at World Cups and Olympics, count members of the Red Arrows amongst my friends and visited some of the truly great places in the world. I’ve led a fortunate life.
But there are countless things I haven’t done or achieved; some by choice, others just through circumstance. Unlike the title of the excellent Radio 4 programme hosted By Marcus Brigstock which features some of the things celebrities have never done, I have watched the film Star Wars. But only the original and absolutely none of the others in the series. How grown men get off on it I’ll never know. And the same goes for all those fantasy films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the hapless Harry Potter stuff. I’d rather have dysentry then waste several hours of my life getting to understanding who or what Golam is and the rules of Quidditch.
Similarly I’ve avoided some real rubbish on TV. I’ve successfully avoided watching any episodes of Father Ted, virtually everything with David Jason in it (I met him at a Red Arrows do once, boy the fella likes his scotch), every showing of Morse, Taggart, Ashes to Ashes, the Bill, Midsomer Murders and most other British TV crime series, because they are usually criminally bad.
What else? I’ve been to lots of great places but have never visited Australia, India, Russia or S America. Perhaps I never will now. Then again I’ve visited lots of places in the UK but have never been to Canterbury, Hay-on-Wye, Doncaster or Scunthorpe. Not sure I’ll be missing much with the latter two but who knows?
I’ve only once sung publicly as an adult and that was at a friend’s party with a dreadful karaoke version of My Way duetting with my good friend Paul. But the thought of doing it solo in a pub or on a stage in front of strangers fills me with absolute dread. Keeping the musical theme going I’ve never played a single note on an instrument since being banned from the school orchestra at age 7 for improvising on the glockenspiel at the Xmas concert.
Change of setting…I’ve never sat on a horse in my life for no other reason than I was never invited. I did once go on a donkey on Blackpool beach as a kid but it was old and infirm and smelt dreadfully and I had to get off for fear that the poor thing would expire beneath me. I’ve never owned a dog nor would want to. I love French cooking but have never eaten snails nor frogs legs. I’ve never been to a bullfight but have to admit to a sneaking desire to witness the spectacle just once.
I’ve never towed anything in my life; trailer, caravan, boat etc. My brother will laugh when he sees this as he’s spent a lifetime doing just that. And to make him smile even more I have to admit to never having ridden a motorbike; the odd scooter up to the Silverstone GP yes but they were about as dangerous as eating a bowl of mussels.
Just to complete the circle of missed sporting activity mentioned in the opening para, I’ve never run a marathon nor done a parachute jump (and hopefully never will) nor have I done any extreme sports of any description; other than share a bathroom with 3 daughters.
One day, if I’m lucky, I would like to visit Alaska and see the Northern lights, experience the Rio Carnival and meet Barack Obama (originally this read Nelson Mandela but that sadly will not happen now). And maybe have a grand-daughter.
I’d be very happy with that.
Of course one other thing I’ve never done is to do some writing work for you as yet! If you need some help you know how to reach me now.
You might just wish to let me know what little/big things you haven’t experienced as yet. Keep it clean folks!