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June 26, 2007

62. Ride a nice big rollercoaster.

26 June 2007: This is sort of half-done, in that when we were at Center Parcs at Sherwood Forest we went on the new 5 storey high raft ride, the Grand Cascade. It's not like a proper roller coaster, but it was a lot of fun. So I'm counting this one as started.

61. See a cool astronomical phenomenon (eg a total eclipse, or the aurora borealis)

On March 3, 2007, there was a total eclipse of the moon visible from London. But it had been cloudy for ages so we sort of forgot. However, just before totality the clouds cleared. We didn't manage to get very far from the loom, though we were somewhere a bit darker than Walthamstow. Nevertheless, it was clear, and deep red, and we took some rubbish photos, and it was lots of fun. So this one is completed, even if total eclipses of the moon are not as cool as those of the sun.

29. Join a band

26 June 2007: I think this one counts as started. The Walthamstow folk club has a little house band; it doesn't appear on stage but it plays tunes in the corner before the club starts and in the interval. It's open to anyone who turns up with an instrument and is game; and I'm now one of the players. I still don't quite count that as a proper band. But it's definitely a start.

28. Learn to play the melodeon well enough to join in sessions, accompany singing, and have fun.

27 June 2007: I knew about half the tunes at the sessions at Chippenham, and for most of them I could play at least the melody line at session speed. I got a bit stuck playing along with Bellowhead at the Royal Festival hall. I'm still working on The Lollipop Tree but am confident that during the next twelve months I will get it up to folk club standard.

11 November 2006: george-inn-ceilidh.jpg10 November 2006: About time for an update. I've been practicing regularly. I have loads of books and tutor CDs and of course huge amounts of just music to play along to. I can, rather haltingly, sing along as I play "The Lollipop Tree". And last Monday I went to a real session, at the George Inn in Borough High Street (first Monday of the month, or 2nd Monday when the first is a Bank Holiday, from about 8:30). Some descriptions of this session say it's a bit French; it was described to me as 'not an Irish session'. On Monday the room was full; about 60% players, 40% drinkers. I knew very few of the tunes and could name even fewer; but thanks to David Oliver's folk equivalent of the Shield of Umor, I joined in with gusto and had a jolly good time. The George itself deserves a brief mention; the last remaining London galleried coaching inn, it's got an extraordinary interior that is not remotely well-suited to operating as a modern pub. I wonder if it ever was? The room that the session is in does not have a bar; it does have a hatch but they weren't serving from it on Monday. Unsurprisingly, the George is on the CAMRA register of pubs with historic interiors; unlike many, it's not at risk, as it's now owned by the National Trust.

And next week I take delivery of my Streb.

29 August 2006: I guess I was having fun with the melodeon before I started. I resolved the 'join in sessions' bit of this over the weekend at the Towersey Village Festival, largely thanks to the excellent session workshops run by David Oliver of Folkworks. He convinced me that the thing I needed to enjoy sessions was a change in attitude; that it was perfectly ok to join in with just a few notes, and that there was no such thing as a wrong note. He also taught us some popular tunes, which is great for building enthusiasm in the actual session.

So then I did about four different sessions, and had a great time. Now I need to pick up my playing enough that I can start a tune from time to time, and I need to learn about accompanying singing.

31. Learn 20 songs to sing well enough for floor spots.

June 26, 2009: The club has closed for the summer. As well as those below, I've also sung "Anthem to Bureaucracy" (pretty badly), "Oak, Ash and Thorn" (pretty well), "The Hard Cheese of Old England" (not very well). And probably some others. I have "Senex Macdonaldus" ready to go, and I am working hard on a version of "The Lollipop Tree" accompanied on melodeon.

Feb 26, 2007: Well, I've done several floor spots at the folk club so far, and only one of them has been a disaster ("The Morse Code Song"). Songs I've sung reasonably successfully include "No Such Thing", the Omsk Bomsk song, "Early One Evening" and "Learning to Love". So this one is definitely started.

June 24, 2007

15. Blog twice a week.

June 24, 2007:In the first six months of 2007 I've put 35 entries on my main blog and 11 entries (not counting updates) on this one. That's not quite as often as twice a week, but it's very close. I'm pretty pleased.

8. Weigh 2 stone less than I do now.

Paul McKenna's book24 June 2007: That was embarrassing. In total I went up to 11 pounds more than I did when I wrote the list. But now that 11 pounds has gone, and I'm consistently showing a weight lower than when I started. Only a couple of pounds lower. But this is properly started now. And credit where credit is due; the last half stone of that has been lost since I got a copy of I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. So, I haven't been dieting or exercising, but I have been eating less and moving about more. I listen to the motivational CD on my iPod on the way in to work sometimes. Perhaps four times in total.

1 March 2007: Well, I'm being a bit more careful; let's see how it goes for a week.

26 February 2007: Ha! I weigh six pounds more than I did when I wrote that. I need to gird my loins. If I can find a big enough girdle.