Shropshire Star

Andy Richardson: Ten good reasons not to compile a list

I’ve never had a bucket list. While some people are sufficiently organised to corral their thoughts into sensible, logical lists, I’ve never found the time. So not for me a one-to-ten cribsheet that reads: A) Monet’s Garden, B) Taj Mahal, C) Mile High Club, D) Lottery Win, E), Put The Kids Through Public School, or whatever it is that passes for a Bucket List these days.

Ten good reasons not to compile a list

Curiously, the world’s top 10 Bucket List ideas are easily ticked off.

In at number one, with a bullet, is this: Become a published author. Did that. Today. #WinningAtLife

Number two. Start a company. Did that. Four Times. Fun, Fun, Fun.

Number three. Run a marathon. Did that. Thirteen times. While wife one was busy collecting devil’s horns and draping the house with lacy stuff on her hen do, I was in Singapore running 26.2 miles before coming down with heat stroke and vomiting in my own trainer. Not nice. Take my advice. Delete number three from your list. Especially if it involves a future life partner wearing devil’s horns and trainers that don’t make the flight back to the UK.

Number four. Buy a same day plane ticket to a foreign country. Tried. While in Luang Prabang, in Laos, I decided to go to China for a day trip, only to be denied a visa. Still, the mango we ate as a consolation was nice.

Number five. Learn to fly a plane. Are you joking? What’s the point in spending all that money when it only costs £16.99 to have someone fly you down to the South of France. Actually, learning to fly a plane is bad. Extinction Rebellion told me.

Number six. Climb Mt Rainier. Does Snowdon count?

Number seven. Visit every continent. Hmmm. Pretty close. Just waiting on Antarctica. It’s on the list. Damn. I do have a bucket list after all.

Number eight. Visit every state in the United States. Well, I’ve done quite a few. And I’ve also realised that the compilers of bucket lists are primarily Americans which is why Numbers Six and Eight appear.

Number nine. Be on a talk show. What was I saying about Americans and their obsession with self-promotion? Actually, I came pretty close to a talk show once. I was once asked to appear on BBC Breakfast as an interviewee with hosts who’d appeared on Strictly. I had a tough call to make as it was the day I was due to fly to Canada for a week. I could take my once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit on the sofa with Roy Cropper from Coronation Street and be listened to by millions, or I could sack that off and go and eat moose steak? Sorry moose.

And, finally, number 10: Be listed on a patent. I once had a pair of patent shoes. No, doesn’t count. Fine. Thought not. Next.

There are, as I have conclusively proved, 10 good reasons not to have a bucket list. And yet despite my aversion to regimented thought – with the obvious exception of Number Seven – I have often found myself hankering to do two things. The first was to own a classic Jaguar: something sleek and sporty, like a TDVI. By the time I get round to that, they’ll be appearing in vintage rallies.

The second, and far and away the more achievable, was to learn to dance. Just like today’s cover stars, I craved to put a sense of natural rhythm to good use. My friend, Charlotte, decided to lend a hand. By day, she may have been a demure keeper of the coins in her job as an accountant. But at weekends, she was SashaBelle, a dance tutor to all-comers.

I booked in. She asked me what steps I like to learn?

“I want to do flicks and kicks, like Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy in Series Four of Strictly.”

“We’ll start with something simpler,” she said.

“The Okie cokie?”

“You Midlanders have a strange way of saying okay.”

And so, for three months, I travelled to SashaBelle’s studio in Cardiff, cranked up the steampunk and floated around the floor like – let’s not mince our words – Donkey, from Shrek.

“You’re pretty good,” lied SashaBelle. I wasn’t.

However, as the weeks endured, I went on what Strictly contestants like to call ‘a journey’. And so by the end of my time in the studio, I was able to do a two-minute routine and would have confidently earned a seven from Bruno.

I bumped into SashaBelle a week ago. She asked if I’d kept up the dancing. I hadn’t. And so she and She Who Must Be Obeyed have hatched a plan to return me to dance school. Flicks and Kicks are on the agenda and we’ll be jiving like Ramps and Hardy before the year’s out.

Keep Dancing.