I'm not that keen on the term "bucket list", not least because I never have any intention of doing something so undignified as "kicking the bucket". The phrase "departed this life" sounds much more elegant even if it in fact means the same thing.
Even so, there are some things I'd really like to do before succumbing to either of those terms.
Some items on that list (well, actually, it isn't really a list because I'm just not that organised), take money, preparation, and the kids to have either left home or be old enough and keen enough to accompany me; items such as going on a horseback safari in South Africa (that's the safari without lions, obviously).
Other things are easier and cheaper to accomplish, and on Sunday last, I managed to achieve one of them.
Easy and cheap, yes; but not necessarily straightfoward. It involved being down at the coast, the tides right and the weather\temperature sufficiently salubrious. All the ingredients were in place on Sunday and accordingly, at 11.45pm I set forth.
I carried with me my Kindle with its built in light and clock and a citronella candle, because, although I may be eccentric, I'm not entirely stupid; and sharing my proposed adventure with several hundred biting sandflies would have soured the experience somewhat.
Far, far out onto the spit of sand that divides the row of beach chalets from the harbour I walked, because I needed absolute privacy for this escapade. The sand and shells crunched beneath my feet; the soft lapping of the incoming tide caressed my ears; the sharp salt scent of the sea curled around me like mist. The light from my Kindle illuminated only the next small patch of sand and marram grass onto which I would next step.
Upon reaching my destination I sat and read until 11.58pm and then, allowing my robe to fall to the sand, I slipped naked into the water.
I had never been skinny dipping before. You can see why I wanted privacy.
And yes, all the cliches are true. The water really did feel like cool satin against my skin; there really is a different sense of freedom swimming naked in wild water.
Knowing these tides and waters well, I could let the current carry me a short way and then swim back to my little candle burning bravely on the shore. I could lie on my back and drift, watching the stars play hide and seek with the clouds. I could almost feel myself dissolving; becoming one with the ripples, with the green and red flashing harbour lights, the call of the night birds and the soft putt-putt of a fishing boat further out in the bay.
Emerging, I felt different: freer; at peace. The need for modesty seemed remote and I could have strode boldly back unclothed. I didn't of course. But I thought about it.
More importantly, the achievement of that small ambition is a source of comfort and pride to me; a pride and comfort out of all proportion to the actual accomplishment.
What ambitions do you have? Go on; try to tick at least one off the list: you'll be so pleased with and proud of yourself there will be no holding you back!
Probably best to wear clothes though.
A Moodscope member.