Tag: bucketlist

A very good day at the office!


I don’t know if anyone can relate to this but, sometimes, you can have a job and you get an experience that makes you feel like you’ve made it. Years ago, I got to study at the Civil Service College for a management course. Nowadays, I think it’s in London but 20 years ago, it was somewhere like Berkshire in stunning grounds that had amazing digs. There was even a gothic-type house on the grounds and on my first day there whilst exploring, I stumbled across it and found a grand piano which I played all evening with no-one there at all. The walls had lit sconces and it was pretty much like a scene from The Adams Family. I’m a grade 8 pianist so that was probably one of the most fabulous places I’ve played!

Well, yesterday, I got to study at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London and I got to sit with about 40 psychiatrists about diagnosing ADHD. Now, I’m not a psychiatrist but I run a consultancy firm in diagnosing specific learning difficulties (www.smdyslexia.co.uk) so it was really relevant. However, it was just the buzz I got from being there and somewhere as a child that I would never have dreamt about having the opportunity to go! My plan was to be a secondary school music teacher! So last night, I was thinking, do I add it to my list of experiences? I don’t normally add things retrospectively but I think I can justify its inclusion. It was pretty special and it left me buzzing!

Anyway, I spoke to the farmer today about the half day experience with owls that my son will come on and that’s now booked in for June. And I’m off shortly to do my 5th session of volunteering which means getting beaten at Uno by a bunch of teenagers! I’m really excited about this year and once we get to May/June/July, I’ll really be ticking things off my list….. 🙂

Another UK city explored….5 to go!

With heavy snow forecast, I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity of a sunny (if freezing) afternoon to venture out and tick off part of another challenge. With my plan to visit 10 UK visits, I’d already been to Bath, Salisbury, Exeter and Canterbury but I thought I should check out the city of my own county, Chichester. I’ve driven to Chichester countless times to visit families and schools as part of my work but I’d never gone into the city centre….until today. Any place with gothic looking buildings is my kinda place and in the middle of the shopping area is Chichester Cross, a meeting place and perfect shelter if it starts to rain. Now, there’s a rule that you can’t visit a city without going to it cathedral so I managed to take some photos of that too before continuing to Chichester harbour. The great thing about our county is that we have the rolling fields of the Sussex Downs and pretty fishing villages too. And the best way for me to relax is to show me a stretch of water. And I’d gone that far, I might as well as check out Chichester harbour and also West Wittering.

I’d never been to West Wittering before but I’d heard that it’s stunning and it didn’t disappoint! The beach huts, the view of ferries in the distant, the dogs running about the beach…..and with just an hour until sunset, I thought I might as well watch the sun disappear over the horizon. I’m so going back there on a warmer day.

And other cities to visit? Definitely Wells, Plymouth and Newcastle. Just the other two to decide!

The Shard, London. Pretty amazing!

Having survived an exceptionally busy week with work (and I mean busy with calls from Canada and Asia, hours of hours of intensive assessing, etc.), I thought I’d treat myself and do something from my list. Whilst I’d planned to go to The Shard at some point, it wasn’t until 6.30pm this evening that I thought I’d just do it tonight! And it’s great to have done something with my evening rather than spend it in pjs watching TV (although that’s fine most evenings).

First, it’s fantastically situated right next to London Bridge so it makes for a very easy journey at least for us. It is very expensive for a quick visit but it’s an experience you wouldn’t forget. I quickly escaped the official photo opportunity where you can have your photo taken in front of a green screen (and collect the photo when you come back down at some probable hideous cost). The first lift takes you up to the 33rd floor and then the second one up to the 68th floor. From there, it’s just a few flights of stairs up to the viewing deck where you obviously have the most stunning panoramic view. Part of me did question whether this might have been best saved for daylight hours but night time is spectacular….and there is something pretty romantic about it like out of Sleepless in Seattle! There was even a large heart of flowers that you could have had your photo taken in front of to celebrate Valentine’s Day a couple of days ago. And, if it wasn’t already amazing enough, they serve champagne up there too! Truly spectacular even on a dark February evening.


I do not have the fingers to play a ukulele!


I might be a grade 8 pianist and I might have had lessons on countless other instruments like the trumpet, clarinet and violin but learning to play the ukulele is harder than I thought! My ’50 things to do before’ challenge is to ‘Learn to play something on the ukulele’ but, with a bit of Beatles influence, it’s now to ‘Learn to play ‘Something’ on the ukulele’!

So, I’ve mastered a few chords and, for others, I can see where my fingers are meant to go but how on earth do you actually move them in a split second?! I seem to simultaneously lack enough fingers to play the chords whilst having too many fingers that make it all rather cluttered…..and my fingers are fumbling over each other to get into position. But onwards and upwards, Sarah

Rather falling in love with the National Trust!!!

So, another of my experiences ticked off: ‘Join the National Trust and use our membership 3 times’. Having visited Bodiam Castle on Sunday and Chiddingstone Village on Wednesday, today’s trip was to Nymans. How could I have not discovered Nymans before now?! As well as my love of water, I love old ruins and have already planned to visit Fountain Abbey in Yorkshire later this year. There are fabulous ruins at Nymans too, albeit not on the scale of Fountain Abbey monastic abbey ruins. Fabulous grounds too so it’ll be great to compare them when I return in the summer.

I’ve got a few followers on Twitter now(@bucketlistsarah) and I plan to be able to play something on my ukulele by the end of next week. Hopefully I’ll head up to London in the next couple of months and do things like visit platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross (I.e. Harry Potter), take photos of the seven noses in Soho, etc. So making good progress!!