New things for new people: Caroline (week 2)


Here are my guest blogger Caroline’s new things from May, week 2. Highlights include how to make tax fun, and a brave one involving a shared new thing this year, the lovely choir.

  1. I ran the Wings for Life World Run. Most runs start with strange conversations that seem foreign to an outsider: PBs, gels, shot bloks, negative splits, nervous wees and so on. Coffee is drunk. Bananas are eaten. Body glide is added to private areas. Then the race starts and you run, and keep running, until you reach the end. Wings for Life World Run is different. It takes place all around the world, at the same time. Luckily for me, the UK leg was in Cambridge, beginning at the sociable hour of 12pm. Everyone sets off at the same time. Half an hour after the last person begins, a Red Bull car sets off (ours was driven by David Coulthard). It starts off doing 10 minute miles, and gradually gets faster. When it catches up with you, you’re out of the race and need to make your way to the nearest bus stop to take you back to the start point.This has both positives and negatives. The plus point is that it’s a really inclusive race, so people who can only run short distances can take part as you just need to run until the car catches up with you. Wheelchair races also took part (speedy). I was running on a injured knee that I did something weird to at the London Marathon, but didn’t see that as an issue as I could just go until I had to stop. The odd thing about it was psychological. There’s something very motivating about a finishing line, and it’s how I tend to get myself around races (‘3km to go, yippee’ etc). My plan this time was just ‘see how far you get’, which doesn’t work in quite the same way. Once the car was next to me, though, I felt the need to race it. My knee told me to sod off. I then went to get the bus, which took us all back to Parker’s Piece. The finishers’ stuff was excellent, and there was a big screen showing other races from around the world. Wings For Life, we’re not done yet. I’ll do you again next year with a proper aim of how far I want to go.
  2.  I listened to some music by Amalia Rodriguez. I don’t just have lots of unread books in my house, I have lots of music that I haven’t listened to. This one was free, from when I worked on Dorling Kindersley travel guides. We’d get a lot of stuff free, and every now and again it’d go on sale for a chosen charity. I bought this because she is ‘Portugal’s greatest singer’ then failed to listen to it. I had a half-baked idea my sister Isy might like it (she has a penchant for terrible pop music from around the world), but failed to even turn it on. Until today! After the first song I decided she sounded like a Portuguese Edith Piaf, then realised that she has a sound that’s all her own. After doing some research I discovered she’s actually massive in Portugal, and basically spear headed the popularity of fado music. In conclusion: I don’t know anything at all. 
  3. I went to see Three Trapped Tigers. This was a semi new thing, as Chris was convinced I’d seen them before (I hadn’t). It turned out he thought they were a different band entirely. Excellent new things work. So we ended up watching some noise rock with a bunch of geeks. And it was amazing. And it wasn’t all in 4/4 time.
  4. I have a love-hate relationship with that nasty exercise move ‘the plank’. Mostly hate. But I keep doing them. I try to plank every day, but never more than a minute. Today I achieved a new first, the 90 SECOND PLANK. This might not seem much to some people, but it’s a lot to me. I then tweeted about it, and within an hour was followed by some kind of scary fitness trainer type person. Does he just search Twitter for the word ‘plank’? What an odd person.
    I also learned a new kick in kickboxing, the jumping push kick. This one is fun.
  5. I had a plan for today, but I didn’t need to use it as a new thing popped up very suddenly. I went to the first Timeline Choir practice in Cambridge with Maria the Queen of New Things, thinking, ‘Well I probably won’t join, I’m in two choirs already’. I was wrong. It’s a lovely choir, and I joined. No other choir I’ve ever been in is open to anyone without audition yet sings 16th century songs in original pronunciation, or songs based on market traders selling oysters. Stef Conner the conductor mentioned needing soloists one week, and in a fit of ‘why the hell not?’, I emailed the choir leader one lunchtime at work asking about doing a solo. Then I went on with my day and completely forgot about it. The choir leader emailed back two weeks later and then I was a bit ‘eek!’. She gave me two singing lessons. I practiced it inexpertly around the house. Today, we practiced the song with the solo, only I assumed we’d stop when the choir stopped. We didn’t. So I did it, without much preparation and I think I started on the wrong note. But I think I pulled it off.* Phew! Oddly, I wasn’t nervous as it got sprung on me. 
  6. I’ve never claimed that my new things will be glamorous or interesting. This is just as well. Today I submitted my tax return on the same day as I received my P60 from my full-time job! Yes! One of those annoying jobs that it’s easy to put off for months, because it’s not the most exciting or thrilling thing in the world. However, it felt really good to get it done, and only took half an hour thanks to my amazing spreadsheet that was up to date anyway. Yes! Now I don’t need to think about it for another year. I can now feel smug and proud that I am better than Starbucks and Amazon and anyone with an offshore bank account. On that note, I declare everything. That means cash. Yes, I’ve heard the unconvincing arguments, ‘No one declares cash’. ‘No one will ever know if you don’t declare’. Doesn’t work like that – I’ll know. Frankly, if people are going to avoid paying what they owe then they have no business whatsoever complaining about, and (in my rantier moments) even using, public services such as local schools and hospitals. It’s my own personal and respectable and honest form of giving the Tories a big f-you. 
  7. I started on my first adult colouring book. My friend Chelley bought me an amazing sweary colouring book for my birthday in March. Here’s the one I chose.
Reflections from Week 2:
You might have things you’d like to do, but haven’t got around to doing them. This is a great way of doing them! Just make a plan and do them. It also makes dull jobs like submitting a tax return into a goal you can achieve.
*Yes, she did pull it off. Proud!
If I don’t find a better new thing to do today, mine can be that I worked out how to do an ordered list in html staring from the number 8. I nearly didn’t bother, but then it looked rubbish. Perhaps I am developing a bit of determination on a very small scale.

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