If we were to cleave the world into two, you might divide us in this way. There are the list makers. And there are those who are not.
If you are not, we might as well part company now. You of your spontaneous enthusiasm. With your fly by the seat of your pants vim and vigour. You probably don’t methodically research where to eat before you arrive somewhere. You probably do your Christmas shopping the day before.
And I’m guessing you don’t get that giddy sense of glee at the sight of a tidy spreadsheet either.
To you I can only say this; it saddens me to think you might never know the satisfaction that comes with crossing off a lingering item. The way a pen sounds, making that final horizontal stripe. It’s up there with all golden feelings in the world, I promise.
In many respects it’s a good thing that The Hungry One and I clocked this aspect in each other early on. The penchant for The List is something that links us, far beyond a shared distaste for Vegemite, loud noise and mess.
We both get perverse pleasure from naming and scribing, and later recalling and collating.
To many of you this will be obvious by now. In a list of lists, I can recall a few. There was this one, which has done untold damage to our mortgage and waistlines. There’s been this one, which made a bit of noise and is nearly, but not quite complete.
And then every year there’s Oscars Festival, which has a schedule all of its own.
After we’ve ticked things off, we like to make more lists; where we compare and contrast. The most recent result was this. It started when we were killing time in one of the world’s most unromantic locations (Gatwick Airport). We drank two glasses of crummy wine and tallied up our choices of most romantic restaurants. Some were his nominations, some were mine. Most were shared.
And now we’re looking at one more.
The English List.
In the past two years we’ve spent so much time gallivanting off around the rest of Europe. I’m now getting that sinking feeling that we’ve neglected some gems in our current backyard.
One day in the future, we may have to call somewhere else home. And the last thing we’ll want to do is leave with a sense of regret dragging along next to our suitcases.
So here’s our current working list of what we need to see and do in the UK before that hypothetical day arrives.
Nb, suggestions for other gems that we’ve left off very, very welcome (as are nominees for anyone who wants to share in an adventure or two).
The English List
1. Windsor Castle and Eton.
2. More quaint pub lunches ( very grateful for suggestions of terrific ones, preferably not too far from a train station)
3. Breakfast at the Wolsley.
4. Dinner up high somewhere in London (Duck and Waffle, most probably).
5. Dinner at Sat Bains (Nottingham).
6. Go to the Lakes District (and perhaps eat at L’Enclume).
7. London Zoo (perhaps during Zoo lates on Friday nights next summer…)
8. Go and see a football match (The Hungry One slightly keener on this than me).
9. Go to Tate St Ives.
10. Kew Gardens.
11. Go to Bath (and take a dip in the Baths. Perhaps that will have to wait until the weather turns).
12. See Book of Mormon on West End (tickets just went on sale for March and April 2013, thrilled to have snaffled some).
13. Go to Stratford Upon Avon.
14. Go to Durham.
15. Go see Hampton Court.
16. Worcestershire (to visit a Great Aunt I have been most recalcitrant in seeing) and a trip on the Severn Valley Steam Railway.
17. Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
And ones we’re happy to have ticked off
Jaunt to Oxford
Jaunt to Bournemouth
Jaunt to Padstow
Play at The Globe
Jaunt to Cambridge
Day in Hever Castle
Search for best high tea in London
Day down in Brighton
The Sportsman, Whistable
Dinner at Fat Duck
Lunch at Hinds Head