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Things To Do Before I Turn 50

  (also known as my "TA-DA" list as opposed to a "to do" list) It was my 49th birthday a few days ago and this got me thinking. Any birthday that ends with a zero always feels a bit like milestone or a landmark and, when I hit the big "five-o" in 2022, I don't want huge parties or celebrations but I would like to have ticked a few things off my low-effort bucket list.   I see these things as a way to improve my mental and physical health, plus a few slightly off-the-wall experiences that would make for great memories.  Start running again and include the following: Lead a C25K group again  Participate in parkrun EVERY week where possible  < ongoing (now parkrun Run Director too) Visit local landmarks whilst running  Train for a long race - building up from 5k > 10k > 10 miles > half marathon, with a couple of longer trail races mixed in  Lose a lot bit of weight Post more on Instagram or give the blog a bit of a reboot < ongoing Look at

You've Got Lovely Teeth

Fred and Freda (it sounds like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, doesn't it?) had been together for over sixty years.  They had shared a room, but not a bed, at the rest home for the last three of those.  Fred was frail and ate all his meals in his room, only moving from bed to chair and back again, with help.  Freda insisted on joining all the other residents in the main dining room, and occasionally the communal lounge, but needed escorting from first floor to ground floor in the lift.

She was a liability - she had a tendency to wander around to 'help out' and she was often found in the garden at the back of the house, digging with her bare hands, or trying to get into the (security locked) kitchen.  It was obvious that she felt a little bit lost in her old age and with the onset of dementia - but she had a wonderful sense of humour.  We were travelling down in the lift one day, on our way for a game of bingo in the dining room,
"You've got lovely teeth," said Freda, looking directly at me.
"Thanks, Freda," I replied whilst subconsciously licking my teeth and praising the three years spent strapped up in metal and plastic as a teenager.
"Yes. They are lovely.  Did you borrow them from a horse?" continued Freda, mischievously.

Fred died.  Peacefully in his sleep.  Freda woke that morning, dressed herself and was escorted down to breakfast as usual.
"Fred is still asleep.  You'll have to bring him his breakfast later."

I'm still not sure if Freda ever understood that her husband had died.  She was taken to the funeral and she still stayed in the same room at the rest home afterwards. It was a double room but no-one wanted to confuse her even more.  She randomly commented,
"Fred isn't in his bed.  I think he's gone to the shops.  Do you think he'll remember my magazine" 
"Is Fred asleep upstairs again?  We shall have to wake him soon or he'll not sleep properly tonight."

I left the rest home before Freda did and never knew if she stayed there until her last day or not but I did find out that she had been a housekeeper for quite a upper-class family when she was younger.  I remember her with fondness as she followed me around, wiping the edge of the dado rail, checking it for dust, trying to help me change the bed clothes in other people's rooms and generally keeping me on my toes.