Monday, 6 July 2009

Don't We All Do Daft Things?

In 1968 I drove over the Hardknott and Wrynose Passes in my pride and joy, a Mini Cooper S, registration number GDT 703C. For those who don't know the Lake District, these two passes are probably the most testing in England, hairpin bends and one in three gradients, a single track road with passing areas, a test for any vehicle and certainly not for the nervously inclined. I was twenty nine years old and remember it well, the feelings of achievement and elation have stayed with me all this time.
Last week, aged sixty nine I drove my two ton plus Trigano Tribute 650, long wheelbase, registration number OOO8 PAU motorhome over the same passes. It was a hairy, scary, mind bending, irresponsible, stupidly ridiculous thing to do. Definitely the daftest thing I have done for many years. And do you know what, I loved every minute of it! My passenger wife was far from sure but for once had no say in the matter. I had the same feelings of elation I had all those years ago and almost feel like doing it on a daily basis. Except that I know I will never risk it again, never, ever. Which set me thinking.
The majority of us lead conforming, happy though somewhat boring lives. I wonder how many of us were more carefree, less inhibited in our youth. I swam, in rivers and canals as a youngster, oblivious to the dangers and did in fact have one very near miss, so to speak. I rode motorcycles, again with little respect for danger and again very nearly went to an early grave. I placed coins on railway lines, climbed trees, crawled under culverts, sledged on roads. I survived, though I had friends and acquaintances who didn't.
I know there are risk takers out there who lead exciting lives, whether they be Formula One drivers, parachutists, canoeists, explorers or mercenaries but for many of us tea and tele is the most important thing in our day.
Is it true that men never grow up or have our lady friends equal ambitions they wish to achieve before they die? What was the daftest thing you ever did in your life? And is there something you would still like to do before your spell on earth comes to its inevitable end?

13 comments:

tony said...

The Daftest Thing I Have Ever Done? Ha!Well, Some People Are Born Daft While Others Have Daftness Thrust Upon Them!
Personally.Im not sure!I dont regret anything......I guess your right ,as one gets older we take less Risks.but in my case that's just because I get less opportunity too!When we risk something we feel more alive i think?
Anyway, I look forward to seeing you do wheelies through Hebden Bridge real soon!

cheshire wife said...

I was about 25. I had had more to drink than was good for me as had my companions but it did not stop us getting into the new car of one of the group to do the ton on the Oxford by pass. Luckily we all survived unscathed.

Granny on the Web said...

Well, me and mi bruver did all that you list doing and more besides. I don't think I could do any of the things now, that I could then, If I had a wish it would be to climb that tall tree which I did as a dare in 1951, I still have the scar!
At least we had a great childhood to remember.

Love Granny

Nota Bene said...

Oh I have such a long list of stupid, absurd, ridiculous and plain daft things I've done...but as my mum reads your blog, most will have to remain behind closed doors! We all have things that parents should never know about! f the mentionable, I'll pick running down a street chasing a police car demanding to know why they wouldn't give me a lift...no I don't know why either

Valerie said...

Some women have weird ambitions like freefall jumping. Not for me though, I prefer the comfort and sometimes hair raising experience of using a computer. I can imagine how much you enjoyed whipping across those passes though. Good luck to you, and thanks for visiting my blog. If this one post is anything to go by I look forward to visiting again.

Abe Lincoln said...

Well, I got here from grannies place....now I got to figure out how to get back out...

I have done some stupid things in my life. I have also done one or two brilliant things.

I married my Patty on July 12th in 1955 and we are still hitched. The only thing that is different about her is that she pulls easier with rubber tires.

We have five kids and three of them are over 50 years of age.

The dumbest thing I ever did was walk down the side of a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on one of those steel stairs held up by big chains. I was carrying an old Underwood typewriter in its proper Army box and was waiting on the bottom landing about 30 feet down on the side of the boat.

I was waiting for this landing craft to pull along side so I could step in. But the ocean rolls and it is OK to roll when you are suddenly about 20 feet up in the air on the landing of the steel stair way and quite another when the ship rolls back and puts you about twenty feet under the ocean.

But I managed to get through that wet. Fortunately, nobody could see that I had pissed my pants as I was soaked.

When the ship rolled back, I was now sitting on the landing with the typewriter in the box between my legs.

Shammickite said...

I've done a lot of daft things, some I regret, and some I don't, but there's one thing I've always fancied doing and that is to drive a double decker bus. Sadly, I don't suppose I shall ever get the chance.

BeckyG said...

I think you're right that on the whole we take few risks as we get older. When I was a child and teenager we used to camp by Lake Windermere most summers, and most summers I'd swim across the lake from Ambleside to the campsite. Apart from being freezing cold even on the warmest of days, it wasn't too bad, except that there are/were a heck of a lot of boats (sailing, rowing, motor, pleasure/tourist boats), some of which didn't have very attentive captains. There was more than one occasion when I found myself almost being sucked into the motor of a large boat ... yet I kept doing the swim year on year.

More recently, back in 2006 I went on a month long camping trip around the country on my own. Maybe not so much of a risk for most, but with my health difficulties it possibly wasn't the most sensible thing to do (though I had the most fantastic time), especially as I had a fractured leg at the time.

In terms of things I'd like to do, I want to do a sponsored paraglide sometime. Now that's daft!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Ken, Your mention of "Hardknott" caught my eye. I don't suppose you stopped to look at the Roman Fort there? I must get over to look at it sometime. There is a special Hadriana award for you over at mine. You don't have to accept it...just maybe take a peek?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

tony
Quite a thought. I do like hebden. Did we go to some sort of show on a field there?

cheshire wife
What would mother have said I wonder, even at twenty five!

Granny
True. And we're not done yet!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Nota
Tickled pink your mum reads my blog. How old were you re the police car!

Valerie
Thanks. Come again!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Abe
Thanks for visiting. All say ahhhh!. I hope you write down all your memories, if not for posterity, at least for your children and grandchildren.

Shammickite
Surely that is possible. Two years ago my children paid for us to do something on our anniversary. So we both drove a ruddy great articulated lorry in Lincolnshire!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Becky G
Absolutely brilliant. With your courage nothing is impossible.

Hadriana
Stopped quite close to the fort but didn't realise its significance. Thanks for the award.