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50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ meme

Apparently I have succumbed to a meme.

Bold the ones you did before you were 11 ¾ (as far as you can remember!)
Italicise the ones you have done since then.  Reminisce wildly, it makes the thing more entertaining to read. 

1. Climb a tree

- I can't remember the first tree I climbed, but the one I remember best is the big oak tree that was by the road down the valley. I can still remember how that tree fitted together, and where you had to put your hands and feet and swing round the trunk to get to the very top of it, where there was a branch that you could lie on just inside the leaves. Occasionally I still dream about it.

The tree is still there but they have sawn off the low branch that you needed to grab to swing yourself up.  Spoilsports

2. Roll down a really big hill

3. Camp out in the wild - still haven't done this. Keep meaning to. 

4. Build a den  - sooo many dens!  Indoor-dens of spare mattresses and duvets and furniture.  Outdoor dens of wood, dens of reeds, dens of snow, dens embedded in hedges, dens woven into trees...   When I was about 8, we instituted for some reason, a rule that all dens must be build entirely of naturally occurring materials, and one must not use, for example, tarpaulin or any plastics in their design or furnishing. 

This made them hard to waterproof, though you can actually make a decent roof out of bracken if you don't expect it to last too long. 

5. Skim a stone - not very well though.  3 bounces max. 

6. Run around in the rain  - Oh yes.  And dance naked in it, obviously. 

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net - although only very very small ones.  Mostly what we caught with nets was newts.  Probably increasingly annoyed newts, as time went by. 

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree - although I can't swear that this was before I was 12, as it was when I was 12 we moved to a house which had a big apple tree in the garden. 

10. Play conkers 

11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach - although in honesty, I don't think we really hunted specifically for treasure.  Just stuff. 

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand -  not the head though! 

17. Set up a snail race - I had a whole stable of racing snails, for reasons that now escape me.   They all escaped and went all over the garden :-D 

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing - although frankly, rope swings are not that comfortable, and they are always a bit perilous because you wonder if the raggedy rope will part and dump you in the nettles, or on the really pointy bit of dead tree.  

20. Make a mud slide - nope.  Don't think I've even been tempted. 

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild -  and strawberries, and hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts, and woodsorrel and young hawthorn leaves.   Chestnuts are really better cooked, frankly, and young hawthorn is something for ardent vitamin-seekers only. 

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island - as long as little ones in streams count.  And rocks that get cut off at high tide and you have to swim to them. 

24. Feel like you're flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet  - assuming this means creating a grass reed between your two hands, which is not very trumpety, but the only way I can think of to make a grass musical instrument.  Also made flutes out of Gypsy Rhubarb (Japanese knotweed) (not very good ones though, it's too squishy)

26. Hunt for fossils and bones

27. Watch the sun wake up - probably, as the sun comes up so late in the winter -  but I honestly can't remember.  I can remember seeing the stars all spread out and blazing on a velvety blue sky though.

28. Climb a huge hill

29. Get behind a waterfall

30. Feed a bird from your hand - well, if ducks count.  I'm not sure they should. 

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn  - though I think the year I did the raising the frogspawn, and the subsequent finding of tiny frogs all over the place, was a few years later when I was 13 or 14... 

33. Catch a butterfly in a net  - I think only because that was what people did in books though.  I have a mental image of catching a butterfly settled on a leaf with my newt-fishing net.   Then I let it go. 

34. Track wild animals  - well. not much.  Rabbits a bit. Fox. 

35. Discover what's in a pond  oh yes.  We did a lot of this in my childhood.  The pondbeasts must have sighed deeply when they saw us coming.  Often what was in the pond was my little sister, who seemed to be constantly falling in and having to be fished out. Luckily she floated like a cork. 

36. Call an owl

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool - ?? why crazy I wonder?  Did lots of this.  My dad was boaty, so we spent a lot of time finding things in rockpools while he did boat-maintenancey things and drank beer with boaty types. 

38. Bring up a butterfly

39. Catch a crab - while rowing a boat, or an actual crab?  I definitely did both...   

40. Go on a nature walk at night - hmm, not sure about this.  I definitely went for walks at night, with bats and owls and mosquitos and moon -  but what is a 'nature walk' ?

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

42. Go wild swimming

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches  - I can remember trying this many times, but it's bloody hard.  I don't think we ever got more than a charred spot.  

45. Find your way with a map and compass

46. Try bouldering  - what IS bouldering?

47. Cook on a campfire  - mostly marshmallows, admittedly. But quite often.  Sometimes we would cross the Big Road to go to the sweetshop (which was Not Allowed) then on the way back, make a little fire with stolen matches (Not Allowed) and toast various sweets on sticks.  I can assure you that toasting chocolate on a stick is not a good move. Stick to marshmallows. 

48. Try abseiling - never been tempted. 

49. Find a geocache  - not entirely sure what a geocache is, actually. 

50. Canoe down a river - I am fairly sure I first did this at 13.  But I did sail a dinghy before that, which I think should count. 



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
15th Apr, 2012 22:53 (UTC)
This is a great list and you've done so much of it.

It strikes me that my (urban) kids have probably done a lot less of this than I did with a rural childhood when we ran wild for the summers.

Also, just want to say hey for the fab big bang art. Don't know if I missed the proper post; I couldn't find anywhere to leave comments in your gallery, but I loved them. Lovely jewel-ly colours and great landscapes, and you've captured the creepyness of the Morta one very well,
16th Apr, 2012 07:40 (UTC)
Whoops - sorry - I wasn't going to do an art post, vaguely assuming that I'd see comments on the master post anyway and being temporarily without things to witter about... Then I did one at the last minute - but I see from your other comment that you found it!

I think urban kids probably have other lists of awesome things we never did, but you can't help wondering if they are missing out sometimes.
16th Apr, 2012 12:01 (UTC)
I was just trying to make an extra effort to be sure I'd commented on the art as well as the fics, so I was looking for specific places to comment. Some of the artists had them and some didn't, but it seemed a bit rude to muscle in on a separate conversation. (You'd think after three years I'd have some idea of the etiquette, but often I don't.)

I quite often forget to comment on art when I'm reading a BB, but now that I've collaborated with an artist, that seems even more remiss.

You're certainly right about the urban kids' other list, quite a lot of which you wouldn't want to know! But, I do think they missed out - especially on the just being left alone thing (and I know that can be hell for some kids if they get bullied or worse).

I think they have better friends than I remember me and my sister having in our village; there's no one that I keep up with except (vaguely) from sixth form (which was in a local town in N Yorks), whereas both my children have strong friendship groups that still include some people from primary school. They had a bigger pool to find like-minded friends from.

I guess both models can have Lord of the Flies tendencies - one from being unmoderated and the other from the weight of peer pressure
18th Apr, 2012 11:17 (UTC)
I'm not sure there *is* an etiquette for that. Well, if there is, I don't know it :-D All my public posts are definitely "comments welcome from anyone who happens to be wandering by!"

Goodness, I am dreading to think what else was on the urban kids list now... having been a small suburb then rural child, I was thinking of stuff like having access to libraries, museums, theatres, hobby classes etc.

There's probably an optimum size for a friendship group - am still in touch with a couple of people from primary school where I lived on the outskirts of Swansea, and there were lots of people my age about, but not from my Devon village because basically there was nobody my exact age or a few years either side. My husband has more friends from secondary school because he lived in a place where it was feasible to walk to their houses without coopting an adult to drive for half an hour or so, I think.
19th Apr, 2012 19:33 (UTC)
Glad comments are welcome.

Actually i think most of the dodgy things were after 11 and threequarters, thankfully.

Yes, I'm not sure what the right size is but your village sounds even smaller than mine.
16th Apr, 2012 06:08 (UTC)
Wow, you have done a lot. Bouldering is rock-climbing without ropes and (therefore) not going very high! -N
16th Apr, 2012 07:36 (UTC)
Oh! Well in that case I think I have done it. Used to zoom up and down the cliffs unstoppably... my Mum later confided she was terrified, but she never let on at the time, star that she is.

I feel so lucky to grow up somewhere where most of this could be done within walking distance or v short drive at most.
16th Apr, 2012 08:04 (UTC)
Is it very bad that I've done most of these in the last few years (since I retired)?

Did them at 11 too (except for the geocacheing - which is all very recent and requires expensive equipment - so probably not many 11 year olds today have done it).

And I love that they have conkers in there - a real British meme list for once!
16th Apr, 2012 08:17 (UTC)
Why would that be bad? Well, apart from the rolling down a really big hill, possibly. That's probably more one for the 6 year olds... :-D
16th Apr, 2012 10:07 (UTC)
... also tree climbing. I mean, adults *can* climb trees, and I do (having large apple trees to prune and pick from) but it was undeniably a lot easier when I was small and light enough to easily reach the top branches!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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