Bucket List – Things To Do Before I Turn 21
- Visit Versailles
- Take a Photography Course
- Learn to Play the Guitar
- Publish Something (!)
- Host a Dinner Party – and Invite People (!)
- Have a Portrait Painted
- Learn a Foreign Language
- Be An Extra in a Film/Television Program
- Do My Own Laundry (!)
- Get a Move On With My Driving (!)
- Be a Zoo Keeper For A Day
- Be More Charitable
- Volunteer To Help
- Go Somewhere Unfamiliar
- Sing karaoke
- Go 24 Hours Without Technology
- Watch A Sunset
- Be Brave
- Create a Dream Home – For When I Move Out (Goodness Knows How Long It’ll Be)
- Plan An Awesome 21st Birthday Party (!)
“Who knows where I’ll end up in the end?”
Friday 1st August
My summer has been relaxing so far. However, I’ve been busy non-stop.
Penrice was really good; we had two days of rainy weather, with light drizzles. Apart from that, it was sunny.
In the early evenings when it wasn’t raining, I managed to go outside the front garden at Underhill Cottage to watch the sunset while Mum and Dad had time to themselves. I would sit on the wooden bench and bring my drawing stuff and my book, Jane: The Woman who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell. However, I couldn’t see the sun; the cottage was underneath giant shades of trees coming from Nicholaston forest. It was impossible to see it because the sun was setting in the west.
On the first night, there was a small gust of wind and I was beginning to feel cold. The temperatures in Wales are colder compared to England but we were near the sea. But the wind didn’t stop me watching the sunset.
On the days that followed, it was hopeless.
Dad told me the sun at Underhill can be seen when it rises in the morning but I am not an early-bird; usually, I get up at ten in the morning but sometimes I get up later.
But all was not lost. Inside the cottage, I have a window in the twin bedroom where I sleep. When I sat down in front of the window, I saw a wonderful view of the marshes, with the sunlight reflecting on the trees. There is also a small view of the sea, which shines like glass. (I don’t why the sea shines like glass but that’s my opinion.) I also I saw an island from the sea; I think this island is Devon.
For the rest of the holiday, I decided to stay in the room to watch the sun.
One night, I saw a small rainbow near Oxwich beach. The sky had white and light grey clouds; I assumed it was raining beside the sea. An hour later, the sun shaded the countryside, and the sky had a mixture of colours; blue, pink, red and grey. The sun’s rays were still shining underneath the clouds.
When I was in Secondary school, I used to travel past the countryside every morning and early evening. I would pass through farmland and see the sun rising and setting in the sky. I have always been amazed by the beauty of the sun. Watching nature is lovely in the country; there is so much to see.
Another night, I saw the sunlight, fading slowly into constant darkness. When night came, there were a few lights left; they came from ships, a marquee tent near Oxwich Bay Hotel and the houses, which were on top of the hills. It was very beautiful.
Also, my parents and I saw wildlife swooping by or walking away from the cottage and around the estate. There were swallows, sheep, horses with their fouls and barn owls who were roosting in deserted and messy barns. We’ve even had aircraft passing by too. One day, I was looking through the window from the twin bedroom and noticed a giant, dark green RAF aeroplane changing course to the east. It was coming towards the cottage at a very short distance, with its noise pointing towards the window!
In the day, we would walk through Nicholaston Woods to Oxwich Beach and back again.
We would climb up a steep slope from the back garden at Underhill and followed a nature trail path leading to the marshes. The woods were very ancient but breath-taking. As we walked by, we saw long tall trees, bright green plants, wild flowers, stones, following steams and smelt wild garlic plants, which were blooming in the distance. Walking in Nicholaston Woods is like walking in the jungles of the Amazon Rainforest or Africa; I felt like I was an explorer. In the middle of our walk, Dad found a long vine, dangling from a tall tree. He took it and pretended to be Tarzan, letting out his famous cry of victory. I was so embarrassed and wanted to keep moving. So we did.
“It’s good for your education”, said Dad.
That’s not education, that’s torture!
On the beach, we would walk in the sea and sand. Sometimes, we would stop near the hotel for a cup of tea and chips. Spending time on the beach was fun. However, one day I forgot to put sun cream on. I got sunburnt on the back of my neck, my shoulders, my back and my arms. I was very stupid; I wore a short T-Shirt at the time which showed some parts of my back.
I left my back for a couple of days. My arms slowly turned back to white and my neck was fine. I think I was having one of my forgetful days and I certainly learned my lesson.
We also walked around the estate park, the kitchen gardens, the pleasure gardens (we got in through a small green door in the stone wall, opposite Underhill and had to unlock it with a key which was kept inside the cottage), Millwood forest, up to Little Reynoldston and Three Cliffs Bay.
In the evening, we would play board and card games after dinner.
First, we played the Crazy Kiwi game. To play this game, players have to arrange the cards into a small square to match the top and bottom half of the kiwis but with only one solution.
I always manage to match eight, out of the nine cards but this game is really crazy!
Then, we played the Stakes Were High but Cliff Put His Best Foot Forward game. The aim of this game is to try to get fewer balls as possible. All you have to do is place thirty-two wooden balls on the board and leave one hole in the middle. Then, you have to hop one ball into an empty space and remove a ‘captured’ ball from the board, until you can’t move anyone. This game requires mental strategy, like chess.
On Thursday the third, we went out to dinner at the King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston. The hotel was lovely. Inside, there was a pub, a main reception and a restaurant. The hotel also has King Arthur’s Sword, Excalibur hanging on the wall in the reception hall inside a glass frame.
Near the hotel, there is a historic landmark called Maen Ceti (In English, “Arthur’s Stone”).
Cefn Bryn (where the Arthur’s Stone is) covers a five mile long stretch along Old Red Sandstone ridge hill, between the towns of Cilibion and Reynoldston. According to legend, Arthur’s Stone is a burial ground from the Neolithic Era. It has been used for ceremonies and rituals during the Bronze Age. While he was walking in Llanelli, King Arthur kicked a small stone; it flew and grew in the air before landing on its location spot. Around the hills, there is Broad Pool, which is a protected nature reserve. Wildlife live there including wetland birds, sheep and wild ponies.
We stayed in the pub where we had our meal; it had stone walls, wooden timbers and open log fires.
The food was very well presented and delicious. Dad had a rump steak with chips, and salad, Mum had butternut squash, with rice, vegetables, and curry sauce, and I had gammon steak, with grilled pineapple, chips and salad.
I never had grilled gammon steak before. Dad told me that when he was my age, he had would have gammon steak when he would go out for a meal; that was before he switched to rump steak.
The texture on my steak and the pineapple were astounding. It had a really nice flavour.
Originally, Mum, Dad and I planned to travel home the next day. However due to housekeeping arrangements, long travel and the weather, Mum and Dad decided to go back, a few hours later. We left at eleven o’ clock and didn’t get back home until two-thirty in the morning.
We have always been on holiday to Wales and every time we leave Wales, I feel sad. Wales holds a special place in my heart; I was born there. I feel that I belong there, despite the fact I don’t know any Welsh. Sometimes, I feel I don’t belong in the city; somehow, I think at heart, I’m not city material (although I like adventuring in London). Wales is my utopia; it is a place where I call home. Someday, I would like to live in Wales. Maybe, I’ll move after I finish my studies, when I start a family or retire; who knows? I don’t know when it’ll be but I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
This year, it is one hundred years since the First World War broke out.
On the twenty-second of June, Mum and I attended an event, which focused on the events of the First World War.
The hall where the event was held was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the war. The soldiers, known as the Sherwood Foresters were at the hospital in case they were needed to fight battles like the Battle of the Somme.
The show had actors performing, and reading passages from plays, books, poems and accounts. After the interval, a History teacher came onto the stage and talked about a school trip he organised to the North-Central Somme and South-Eastern Pas-de-Calais – it was very moving. Then, the choir lead the audience and together, we sang popular songs from the war. One of them was the song I remembered from my childhood; “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag”:
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile,
While you’ve a Lucifer to light your fag,
Smile, boys, that’s the style.
What’s the use of worrying?
It never was worthwhile, so
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile.
On the sixth of July, F, A and I went out together for a day trip to London. F was in town and she thought the cousins could have a get together. We took the morning train to London Euston. After travelling on the Underground, we headed over to the Science Museum in South Kensington. We looked around all of the exhibitions; Making the Modern World, The Science and Art of Medicine, Atmosphere, the Launchpad, Energy Hall, Veterinary, Exploring Science, Computing and Glimpses of Medical History.
Some of the artefacts we saw in the Glimpses of Medical History exhibition were uncovered from the Egyptian pyramids. They are sacred A and me; we’re not into gory stuff. Mummies scare A. For me, it was the bandaged heads.
In the Launchpad, we saw a twenty-minute show about Rocket Science. During the show, a staff member demonstrated a few experiments with the audience, while explaining Newton’s laws of gravity. She also blew up two balloons, with a Bunsen burner, filled with carbon dioxide and hydrogen (but not at the same time). We were instructed to cover our ears; it was very noisy! The show was enjoyable to watch.
Afterwards, we went travelled to in Cardinal Place, Victoria where we had lunch at Nando’s.
We spent the afternoon shopping in Oxford Circus. We walked around the streets, browsing for clothes in John Lewis and Victoria’s Secret. We were like little girls, exploring, looking and examining the clothes. We travelled back home; we had a wonderful day.
Next day, it was my parents wedding anniversary and I decided to cook dinner for them. I made fish pie.
They loved the pie. However, the best part for me was eating the scraps in the dish tray. Yummy!
On the twelfth, A came over to my house for some girlie time. She did a face pack, my nails and make up. It’s fun and very relaxing. We also have our chats; we would catch up what we have done during the week and talk about ransom stuff. One time, I asked, ‘If you could marry and befriend characters from the Harry Potter film franchise, who would it be?’
A’s answers were:
- Marry a character – Professor Snape
- Befriend a character – Albus Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Gilderoy Lockhart & Hagrid
My answers were:
- Marry a character – Harry Potter
- Befriend a character – Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor Sprout, Fred & George Weasley
On the twentieth, A and I went to Bateman’s house, in Burwash, East Sussex; the home of Rudyard Kipling.
Bateman’s has exquisite gardens filled with beautiful flowers, trees, water fountains and vegetable patches. The house is lovely too; it was built in the Jacobean era, before the Civil War had started.
First, A and I walked around the gardens, Park Mill and Oast House. An hour later, we went inside Bateman’s house. It had a cosy, bright and colourful Edwardian atmosphere just as it was during Kipling’s day. There were bits of furniture, antiques, books and paintings. I liked many of the rooms and objects, including John Kipling’s bedroom, Rudyard Kipling’s study room and Josephine’s necklace which inspired her father to write The Just So Stories. It was like stepping through time. The estate also had mixtures of Indian culture. Around the rooms and gardens, there were Indian plants and trees; they made me feel I was in India. In the hallway, there is a golden fish underneath the fire place. The fish is like a small compass. When it turns to the left, visitors are welcome but if it turns the other way, it is the opposite. It is an Indian custom, one Kipling and his family believed in.
We had lunch, underneath a pear tree in the gardens.
Then, A and I walked around the estate and countryside nearby. We went through the Puck’s Walk, Ironmaster’s Walk and Dudwell Farm walks. We started from the Mill on the Ironmaster’s and Puck’s walks to a bridge past Ditch and Old Oak field. Then, we continued through Ironmaster’s Walk, until we reached the A265. After walking on the path, we did the Dudwell Farm Walk. We turned right to Bateman’s Lane and walked to the Quarry Garden and the Mine Pit before returning to the estate.
The walk was really interesting. However when we climbed up the hills, A ran out of breath. She explained that the circulation in her legs weren’t good; I did feel guilty about going on the walks but she was okay.
Bateman’s is truly a wonderful place to visit. This is the one I would love to return to.
On the twenty-third, Dad and I went to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire to participate a photography course. Throughout the day, we had literatures from a safari photographer who showed us how to take artistic pictures with our cameras.
In the boiling heat, we walked around the park, and took pictures of the animals; birds of the world, lemurs, small reptiles, red pandas, wolves and the big cats. We also had a short break. During that time, Dad and I took pictures of the camels, reindeers, penguins, gibbons, white lions and an African leopard.
We got really good pictures. Although the one I am proud of is a picture I took in the Lorikeet Landing enclosure.
When we came in, one of the keepers gave us a pot of nectar. When were we at the end of the enclosure, I saw the bridge and my pot on the rail. Then, one of the lorikeets flew down and landed on the bridge. I got a photo shot of the Lorikeet, with its beck inside the pot and his eye looking at the camera, one I had borrowed from Dad.
In some enclosures, (expect the big cats, wolves and all the spare ones Dad and I went in our free time) we were allowed inside. This was exciting; I never experienced animals in that way before and it was an amazing experience.
I’ve also had experiences that happened to me; I had another lorikeet on my head, pulling my hair and pecking my sculp. I was worried he was going to poo on me, but he didn’t. However, one did poo on Dad’s hand when it was tearing his pot apart.
Then, I had a lemur jumping onto my lap. The lemur who sat on my lap was on for thirty seconds before one of the keepers shooed it away.
I also touched a wolf; we weren’t allowed to go inside the enclosure. But, the wolf keepers when the wolves come to bars, we had to put our hands flat against them so they could sniff us.
One of them walked up to me. He leaned against the fence, in front of my hand was; I felt its fur from the tip of my fingers. The fur was smooth like a domestic dog.
We had a fantastic day at the photography master class. I hope in the near future, I’ll come back to Paradise or a different zoo to do either do more photography classes or attend a “Zoo Keeper” for a day event.
started taking weekly hour Zumba dance sessions at my local village hall. I try to go once a week Tuesday evenings. I enjoy dancing along to the music; if I hear music in a disco, I would get up and dance, mostly to the songs I know.
I have taken up to sort out my own laundry. Mum’s been teaching me how to iron my own clothes; the first lesson was tricky. I was trying to make the clothes neat so I can iron where the creases are but Mum said I was making more of them, by swinging the iron, side-to-side with my wrist and hand. Also, I burnt my index finger against the hot iron. I was tired and frustrated; I wanted to give up but I didn’t. I just carried on, until I finished the whole pile.
Someone times when I’m home alone and I have nothing to do, I get bored. If I am in that situation, I would go on my computer, listen to my music, write or make lists. While I was on the computer, I made one bucket list:
Volunteer to Do Something Aboard
What Do I Want to Do?
Look After African Wildlife
Work in Animal Care Project in South Africa
Teach Children How To Read, Write and Speak English
|In schools in Kenya, Ecuador, Fiji, Samoa or Moldova|
Help the Environment
Work on projects in the African Savannah in Kenya, Mexico, the Amazon Rainforest in Peru or the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
Help a Community
Help to teach children creative arts in Ecuador, work with Drama clubs, local drama communities and theatre groups in Romania
Work on projects in Peru or Romania
|Care for children||
Orphanages or Schools in China, the Philippines or Ecuador
If I get a chance, I would love to volunteer to travel and do these tasks. This will be difficult for me. Mum and Dad think I cannot travel independently, which is true and they worry about what will happen to me if the places I go too are dangerous. I know I am ahead of my time but these would be my ideal things to do after I graduate.
Lately, I’ve been so bored. So I have made another list of activities I can try this summer:
Things to Do If I’m Bored This Summer
- Make a music video by myself
- Take 1,000 pictures
- Read a book
- Make a pizza
- Write a song
- Learn something new
- Stand up for what I believe in
- Bake a cake
- Play a classic board game on a rainy day
- Redo my bedroom
- Grow some plants
- Visit friends
At times, I’ve been worried about my future.
One night I had a movie with A. We watched Notting Hill in the out-house, which was in my back garden.
After A went home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the film, especially the ending where Hugh Grant, after going on an emotional roller coaster ride, returns to Julia Roberts and declares his love for her. She accepts him and they live happily ever after. I couldn’t get that scene out of my mind.
I went into my room, and I felt my heart fuzzing, like it is breaking into two. I looked into the mirror; my eyes where bright red and filled with tears. Although I wanted to, I was trying so hard not to cry.
I am so unlucky in love, I thought.
Then, I lost it. Sometimes, I think love may not be for me.
After my experiences of bullying, hanging out with wrong people and the abuse I suffered, I felt like giving up.
It’s a mixed up world for me; I have to deal with my problems I have in my life. I doubt myself a lot; I don’t know why. I’ve had many people who have said to me I can’t do things or I’ll never be successful in life. I don’t know if I’ll be brave enough to find true love. I guess, I’m depressed about it.
But, I still have faith. I remember when I a child, Dad said loads of people that if I set a target for myself, I try to achieve it. I’m also a big dreamer; I dream about love, a lot. I dream myself meeting the love of my life while dancing at a disco or a ball like Cinderella.
Now, I’ve decided to give myself a chance. I’m going to try to be courageous, follow my head, my heart and just go with the flow. Who knows where I’ll end up in the end? It could be anywhere in the world, or close to home. No one said finding love is easy but I am willing to try. I know I have the courage but what I really need is my faith to be there with me.