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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

100 Words - Competition Results

The recent "100 Words" competition, (prize: a ticket to Cybermummy or £100 in cash) finally came to a close.  The judges - Her MelnessMr London Street and myself - sifted through the 26 entries and drew up a shortlist of 10 finalists which was published on Monday.

Entrants were asked to write a letter of exactly 100 words (excluding salutation and sign-off) to anyone or anything, covering any subject.  

I am pleased to have the honour of publishing the winning 100 Words letter and those of the two runners-up.  Congratulations to Paul Kendrick and many thanks to all those who took part.

Please feel free to comment about the top three letters, or indeed, any from the shortlist.  It's amazing what you can achieve in just 100 words.



Paul Kendrick

Dear Sympathetic Num

A secular child at Catholic school; teased for being different.  Too "unclean" to partake of the host during mass.  "Demonic", perhaps (if catcalls can be relied upon).  A hellish situation for a teaching assistant's first day, certainly.

Not for you.

You gave me a magic box: currency; a teetering pile of unconsecrated communion wafers to eat at break.  "To shut them up," you said, with an unexpectedly impish spark, grinning... Those brittle discs carried more kudos than Quavers, I can tell you.

A soothing drop of compassion on the rough, cracked memories of my schooldays, even now eighteen years forward.

Better at remembering acts of kindness than I am names


Travis Sloat
A Letter To My Wife

Dear Alicia,

The emptiness drives you mad, out of your senses with jealousy, anger, and rage.  The emptiness clouds your mind, makes you bitter, makes you hate others for their gifts.  It's something you've always wanted, yet you've been denied for eight years now.  I want it too, for different reasons.  I want it for you.  I want you to be able to share the massive amount of love you've shown me over the years.  However, the emptiness still exists, prominent in your mind, a barb that pierces your heart every time someone else gets to say, "I'm pregnant."  I love you.

Yours forever, Travis


Katy Scrogin

Dear Soren,

A dozen years ago, floating on a confident wave of shared secrets and earnest discussions, you called to ask me for an official date.  A dozen years ago, I tried to hid my freak-out, but you knew.  Although I always say I have no regrets in life, that instance of caving to still-childish fears shows me up as a liar.  I miss our friendship, and your goodness, and the lapsed possibility of sharing some of my life with you.  I wish you joy and peace and unending abundance of the eagerness I spurned so flippantly.  I've missed you ever since.