40 before 40: progress report 2

In exactly two months it’s my birthday. I will be 36. Closer to 40 than 30. (And still childless, but that’s not a post for today.) It seemed like as good an occasion as any for another progress report on my 40 before 40 challenge. Not that I’ve achieved a great deal since March, but whatever. We’re doing this anyway.

Number 5: Read the rest of the books from the BBC Big Read that I didn’t manage before turning 35

That’s a total of 63 books, and last time I had read 5 of those. Since then I’ve read two more – Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – to give me a total of seven. Only 56 left to go then.

Number 14: Read 25 non-fiction books

I have read precisely one – Mr Briggs’ Hat: The True Story of a Victorian Railway Murder by Kate Colquhoun. Yeah, I’m not great at reading non-fiction.

Number 14: Read a book published in each year of my life ( =one book each from 1983 until 2023)

Last time, I had read books from 20 years. Now I’m up to 23. You’d think this one would be easy but I keep either reading relatively recent books with publication dates between 2016 and 2019 – years I’ve already completed – or it turns out the books were published in 1978 or something, which is too early. You can see all the ones I’ve read here.

Number 16: Try 10 foods or dishes that I haven’t had before

I managed to eat two new-to-me foods in Spain! In Ronda we went for tapas and I tried oxtails. I’ve had oxtail soup before but this was my first time trying them not all blended into liquid. And in Cádiz Jan and I both tried a cold garlic soup, which is an Andalusian speciality. Both were delicious. With the one I had eaten last time around that leaves me with seven more new foods to try.

Oxtails
Oxtails and chips

And that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’m hoping to have crossed off a big chunk of the books for each year of my life by my next check in. Wish me luck!

 

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40 before 40: progress report #1

St Chrischona TV tower

Since it is somehow 13th March already, which makes it exactly 5 months until my birthday and the end of year one of my 40 before 40, I thought I would give you a little progress report. Not that I’ve done much in the seven months since my last birthday, but I do have a few things to report on.

Number 2: Beat Jan at mini golf

Jan always beats me at mini golf and I was determined to beat him at least once. Amazingly, I actually managed this just a couple of weeks after starting the challenge. You can read about it here.

Number 5: Read the rest of the books from the BBC Big Read that I didn’t manage before turning 35

At the start I had 63 left to read and since last August I have finished five of them. Outlander, Trainspotting, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Woman in White and The World According to Garp.

Number 14: Read a book published in each year of my life ( =one book each from 1983 until 2023)

So far I have read books from 20 years, which is almost half (I need 41 in total). You can see them all here. Of course I have read multiple books for some years, but only the first one counts.

Number 16: Try 10 foods or dishes that I haven’t had before

I ate veal kidneys in Yverdon-le- Bains. Admittedly by accident because Jan didn’t know the French word for kidney so I only knew I was getting veal something. But it still counts!

Number 22: Visit a new place in Switzerland for each letter of my first name

So far, I have visited four – Burgdorf, Einsiedeln, Lugano and Yverdon-les-Bains. Not in that order. I actually went to Yverdon-les-Bains first. Nothing like beginning at the end 😉

So only one thing actually crossed off but quite a few in progress. Not a bad start. Obviously I won’t be able to complete number 14 until the year I turn 40 because I can’t read books that haven’t even been published yet 😉 but hopefully I will have a few more things completed the next time I check in… whenever that might be.

40 before 40: Beat Jan at mini-golf

Hello friends! Well, I didn’t expect to be able to tell you this soon that I had crossed something off my 40 before 40 list (and actually I’m posting this late since it happened nearly 2 weeks ago!).

The Sunday before last Jan and I decided to go and play mini-golf. Before we left, he remarked that I should really practice against someone else if I wanted to eventually beat him because if I only play him he also gets a chance to improve every time. As it happened, on this particular day I actually did better than usual (which still isn’t particularly good, as you will see – but only one 7!) and he was having kind of a bad day and so, most unexpectedly, I won!

Photographic evidence:

minigolf

So, one goal down, 39 to go…

The final 15 things to do before I turn 40

With my 35th birthday (and thus the end of my 35 before 35 challenge) exactly one month away, I thought it was time I posted the third and final part of my 40 before 40 list. Part one is here, with the first 15 items, and part two is here with 10 more. That leaves 15 for me to reveal today.

Bird

  1. Get a dog
  2. See the Northern Lights (rolled over from the last list)
  3. See a play on the Seebühne (floating stage) at the Bregenzer Festspiele.
  4. Make chicken Kiev – you can’t get them here and surely it can’t be that hard?
  5. Get the tattoo I’ve been planning for a while – first I have to find a decent tattooist and someone who can draw it for me!
  6. Bake and decorate a cake
  7. Read The Canterbury Tales – my grandma bought this for Jan a few years ago and neither of us has even looked at it yet!
  8. Get a new dining table – we currently have 2 IKEA cheapy ones, which are fine (except that one has been on the balcony and is looking rather weathered!) but by the time I’m 40 I want to own a half-decent table!
  9. Remove all my books from my dad’s house, either by having my dad take them to charity shops or bringing them to Switzerland. I usually bring a few over every time I visit. By the time I reach 40 I hope to have completed the process!
  10. Bring my doll’s house over from England. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to do this but it’s mine and I want it!
  11. Go whale watching – this was on my last list and I still want to do it!
  12. Take a trip to the Farne Isalands. I haven’t been since I was a kid and I’ve been meaning to take Jan for years.
  13. Get to my goal weight… but I’m not telling you what that is 😉 I will say that I am 7 kg above it right now.
  14. Take an in-person course or join a group – it doesn’t matter what as long as it’s something that makes me get out there and interact with actual people. (Scary!)
  15. … I am leaving the final one open for now. If anyone has any suggestions please tell me in the comments (not bungee jumping). Otherwise I will definitely think of something to put here at some point.

10 more things to do before I turn 40

I recently posted the first part of a list of 40 things to do before I turn 40. Today, I want to show you the next ten items, appropriately 4 months to the day before the end of my 35 before 35 challenge.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

  1. Try 10 foods or dishes that I haven’t had before
  2. Take the funicular up to Rochers-de-Naye (thought to have been the inspiration for Rochers Neiges in Agatha Christie’s “The Labours of Hercules”) – thanks to Chomeuse for this one!
  3. Cook 10 recipes from cookbooks I own – I have loads that I rarely even glance at, so it’s time I made some use of them!
  4. Try an Escape Room
  5. Eat 5 or more portions of different fruits/vegetables every single day for a week (Monday-Sunday)
  6. Take the Glacier Express
  7. Visit a new place in Switzerland for each letter of my first name – thanks to Kezzie for this fabulous suggestion!
  8. Visit Pompei – I have wanted to do this ever since we learned about the volcanic eruption on primary school!
  9. Eat pizza in Naples (this one and the previous one can be combined in the same trip)
  10. See the Rocky Horror Show in the year of its 50th anniversary – I saw the 30th anniversary show when it came to Sunderland, then I went to see the show in German in what I only later realised was its 40th anniversary year. So it only makes sense to see it again in 2023 (since that will be the year I turn 40, if the actual show turns out to be after my birthday I will count this item as completed if I at least have the tickets!)

That’s 25 so far… I will post the remaining 15 within the next few months. Please feel free to give me suggestions in the comments.

Thinking of 40 things to do before I turn 40

My birthday is creeping ever closer, and even though I’m definitely not going to complete all the items on my 35 before 35 list, I’ve enjoyed it so much that I decided to make a new list, of things to do before I turn 40 – even though the idea that my next milestone is forty makes me feel slightly sick. HOW CAN THAT BE? I am still very far from having 40 things on my list – it took me long enough to think of 35 last time never mind an extra 5! But I thought I would share with you what I have so far.

Toblerone cheesecake
Cake just seemed like an appropriate photo…
  1. Go to the festival of lights in Lyon
  2. Beat Jan at mini golf – he always wins, but just once I would like to beat him
  3. Make flour soup (a staple of Basel Fasnacht)
  4. Watch 10 films in German – I hate watching dubbed English films, so this will probably also mean finding 10 German films!
  5. Read the rest of the books from the BBC Big Read Top 200 – I’m not going to finish this by August, but I do want to read them all so I’m rolling it over to my 40 before 40.
  6. Learn basic Ukrainian – get to at least level 3 on Duolingo
  7. Visit Ukraine – this was on my original list, but I changed it due to safety concerns. I’m hoping in the next 5 years things will calm down a bit…
  8. Go out for afternoon tea
  9. Build a snowman – surely at some point in the next 5 years there will be enough snow for me to do this?
  10. Visit Auschwitz
  11. Look for dwarfs in Wroclaw
  12. See the leaning tower of Pisa – it’s probably not even that impressive, but I just want to see it
  13. Read 25 non-fiction books – apparently 50 was too ambitious last time, but 25 should be doable, right?
  14. Read a book published in each year of my life, so one book each from the years 1983 until 2023 (I don’t have to read them in order!)
  15. Give at least 100 pounds or euros to three separate charities

I do have a couple more, but I think 15 is enough for one post. I don’t havy anywhere near 40 though, so please let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas for things I could do. I will at least consider anything that isn’t bungee jumping!