Bucket List

Bucket List

Postby ciderman_nz » Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:48 am

Bucket List

I have never really thought about a ‘bucket list’. The only thing even remotely like it was at age 6 when I wanted desperately, to join the navy , as I idolised my father who was a naval officer. As I discovered much later, this was not an option as I am colour blind! As life has progressed I have considered what I would still like to do, but at the beginning I didn’t have any preconceived idea of what I wanted to do. It’s not that I didn’t have ambition, but that the ambition seemed to change by the week! At least in those younger years my body was pretty reliable and I was supremely confident that I could handle all eventualities, unlike the current situation where I find that I have to remind my brain that it is in charge of outdated machinery in need of maintenance so I need to be aware of my limitations.
A couple of years ago I was collecting the last apple on one of our trees with the intention of giving the codlin infested thing to our pet sheep. The last was, of course, right at the top of the tree so I stood on a lower branch and reached up at full stretch and just managed to grab the fruit, when the branch that I was leaning against broke and I fell backward. My Brain remembered that I had once been a gymnast and immediately sent a message to my Body saying “Rotate”. A fraction of a second after I hit the ground flat on my back, Body said, “What?” It took me several minutes to start breathing effectively as my neighbour looked over the fence in consternation.
In my youth I wanted to travel and I did although not in what might be considered to be the usual method. It was always my intention to not just travel to strange places but , if possible, to work amongst the locals. The great attraction of travel always was and still is, interaction with different cultures. I suppose, in a way, this was my ‘bucket list’, even though I played things out as they were presented to me, often in unexpected ways, the list was potentially enormous.
In Portugal I was a freelance photographer, which is what I trained to be at London’s Hammersmith Polytechnic, but as unknown freelance photographers were only paid on publication, which might be two years after the agent taking the images on, I was in danger of starvation! Fortunately I met a young lady who was intrigued by the mention of New Zealand, so far, far away, and whose father had a vineyard that was one of the input vineyards to the famous Mateus Rose, which was for 7 years the largest imported wine into the United States. I offered to work for keep and eventually got involved in the winery and from that moment my career direction changed and photography became a hobby. When I returned to New Zealand I applied for the job of assistant winemaker at Villa Maria in Auckland. During the interview with George Fistonich, he asked me where did I get my degree? I told him London and he seemed happy with that. I was dreading that he might ask me what it was for! It was Photo Chemistry and Optics! Hardly anything applicable to wine.
There have been many things I have tried in passing, so to speak, and sometimes thought I must do that again, but usually something distracts me and I’m off on another tack. I have flown a glider, fortunately with someone in the back who knew what they were doing. I’ve jumped out of a perfectly good aeroplane and I’ve skied off a small cliff. I’ve made faces at a shark from inside a little cage and I’ve been stung by a Portuguese Man-o-war jellyfish. There are still so many things I would like to do . I’ve never been to South America and there is something about it that attracts me, particularly Peru and Chile, but I think I would find that travelling at this advanced age might not be very satisfying as I’ve never liked the idea of luxury hotels so I tend to sleep rough and walk as much as possible. This way I meet the locals which has always been my preferred way. I have to be a little bit careful in what I choose to do from now on as I don’t have a very well developed sense of self preservation. I’ve broken my right wrist twice, my left thumb once, ribs twice and my nose once but wisely, never any of my walking gear.
I think, maybe, I should rely on reminiscences from now on.
Civilisation is a veneer, easily soluble in alcohol.
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