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Welcome to the blog of the NeverTooLate Girl.

With the aim to try out, write about and rate the things that people say they'd like to do but haven't quite gotten around to, this website gives you the real and often humourous inside gen on whether it's really worth it.

Read about it,think about it, do it.

 The Top 20 Never Too Late List

  1. Learn to fly - RATED 4/5.
  2. Learn to shoot - RATED 4/5.
  3. Have a personal shopper day.
  4. Attend carols at Kings College Chapel on Christmas Eve - RATED 2.5/5.
  5. Have a date with a toy boy.
  6. Do a sky dive.
  7. Eat at The Ivy - RATED 4/5.
  8. Drive a Lamborgini.
  9. Climb a mountain - CURRENT CHALLENGE.
  10. Have a spa break - RATED 4.5/5.
  11. See the Northern Lights.
  12. Get a detox RATED 4/5.
  13. Read War & Peace - RATED 1/5.
  14. Go on a demonstration for something you believe in.
  15. Attend a Premier in Leicester Square.
  16. Go to Royal Ascot.
  17. Buy a Harley Davidson - RATED 5/5
  18. Study for a PhD - RATED 4/5.
  19. Visit Cuba - RATED 4/5.
  20. Be a medical volunteer overseas - RATED 3/5. 



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Coming soon: Feeling square at the Round House.... Seeing stars.... 

I am not sure that getting to bed at 3am when one could be considered to be in the throes of middle-age is the done thing, but, in the past 4 weeks I have fallen into bed to the sounds of birds beginning the dawn chorus more than once. The night before my holiday was one of those occasions.  Being invited to a gig at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm in London ( was a fun enough prospect, arriving to find it was my friend's son's band took the fun to a whole different level.  The Gentleman's Dub Club was that band ( Imagine UB40 meets the Specials, meets Trance meets House and then mix in a bit of Speed.  The place rocked.

Getting up at 7am with only 4 hours sleep I was surprisingly chipper. But then the prospect of beginning one of my NeverTooLate adventures always puts me in a positive mood.  The house may have been strewn with furniture evacuated from the conservatory as it is replaced and remodelled and from rooms being cleared ready for the decorator to tackle during my holiday but this was all part of the Big Cambridge Plan which was nicely taking shape.  A move at the end of February had become a very realistic expectation.

In the next week though, I was booked in at an astronomy centre in Portugal where I was going to be introduced to some of the wonders of our solar system and beyond, through the medium of a very large (by amateur standards) telescope.  

My introduction to Portugal, however, did not start well.




Winning the yes vote; hitting a landmark; and Cambridge in my sights

The inaugural Ashley debate supper went well with fourteen attendees and the ‘for’ Scottish independence winning on the quality of argument though not winning on the subjective, more emotive vote.  The next debate is scheduled for the end of April with the topic ‘University education – a right or a privilege’ to be tabled.  Lots of good stories being told about the evening and we are already up to twenty people for the next event.  It’s nice to be reminded how much fun, and how inclusive, debating can be.

On the rowing side I’ve made the move from beginner to improver and can be found ploughing up and down the rowing lake in a single skull, mostly staying upright.  80% confident, 20% nervous and 10% terrified about sums up the state of mind when I am out on the water.  There is really good support at Peterborough City Rowing Club – plenty of coaches, supplementary off-the-water training and personalised development programmes based on rowing ambition and motivation.  This Saturday was landmark day – I boarded a single skull on my own and when I had finished my 6k I got the scull out of the water and onto the trestles all by myself.  At club night in two Wednesday’s time I have offered to cook the member’s supper – my way of saying thank-you for the friendly welcome at the club and all the new friends I have made.

The Harley is on the road for the summer.  It’s a dream to cruise along the quiet country roads near where I live and to meet up with other biking chums for trips out. My first Harley rally is in the diary – a ‘ride- out’ and social event being held in Market Harborough at the end of April.  Need to find some time to shine up that chrome.

And lastly, Bill Bryson is being interviewed by Prof. Jim Al-Khalili at the Royal Society in London in a couple of weeks.  The train ticket is booked, lots of music downloaded onto the iphone to listen to while we queue and a nice post-lecture supper venue awaits.


Rowing but going nowhere, sweating buckets, and a pain in the bum 

The water in the rowing lake is spilling over onto the pathways and grass verges and the wind has turned the top of the water into choppy waves of khaki brown.  It’s been another week without getting out on the water and another Saturday morning spent on the Concept 2 rowing machines in the rowing club gym.   Today, instead of an individual race against the clock we’re organised into teams and our objective is to see which team can row the furthest in ten minutes.  My team form a little huddle and decide on tactics which is to begin strong at 35 strokes a minute and then slow down to keep a steady 31, slotting in bursts of ten hard drives at three or four points and then (we hope) a very strong fast finish.  The score will be the three distances for each team member summed and then compared with the competition.  In my ten minutes I make 2159m which is the best distance in my team but overall we lose to the other team who have nudged just ahead of us.  Standing up when we have finished my legs wobble and I feel streaks of sweat run down my forehead and into my eyes which then sting. I am too out of breath to speak.  Our coach stands there and watches us with a knowing smile. It has “so you think this is hard” written all over it.  I chat to a chap called Ian who will coach us at the next level and to the ladies captain and tell them I would like to race and would like, if possible, to have a structured programme of fitness and technique to help me develop both on and off the water.  For those that want to race and will put the time and effort in, I am told, there are lots of options.  Even Henley.

Later I am at an evening of blues music called the Shake Down in a village just outside Peterborough with some friends.  I am shifting around on my seat because my bum hurts and I work out the pain is probably coming from my coccyx.  At the interval I get up and have a walk around and the discomfort goes away.  I sigh and realise, sadly, that this sort of ache and pain after sport is probably just part of getting older.


A lively debate, getting competitive, celebrating Richard

The ground rules for the Ashley Debating Society are set and we convene for the first time early next month. Already we are having a debate about the debate and what topic we should use.  The agreed format is that everyone will be told the theme two weeks before the date of the debate and will not know, until the evening, which side of the motion they will take.  That way we don’t run the risk of having no debate because we find that everyone agrees. So after a convivial sausage supper and a glass of wine it will be a thirty minute team effort to share research on the topic and prepare the argument before nominating one person from each team as speaker.  Each side will have ten minutes to present their argument succinctly and concisely (hopefully) before the floor opens to any contribution.  At the end we shall vote.  It looks like it will prove to be quite a hoot from the level of interest shown in the idea so far and as Chairman I get the impression I will have my hands full keeping the (public) house in order.

In the meantime there are the results of the Cambridge Day Out photography competition where I pitch myself against a professional photographer friend.  The images have been shortlisted and anonymised.  Now they will be presented to ten totally impartial, studious and highly qualified individuals to decide the winner.  OK, it’s likely to be ten mates from each side in the pub.  Watch this space for the result!

The rowing course has finished, I am now technically no longer a novice and are entitled to take a boat out on the rowing lake at my leisure.  I successfully got through the ten week course without falling in.  But in this inclement weather it’s impossible to get out on the water, even for an experienced crew and so we have spent our time on the concept 2 rowing machines in the gym in the boat house improving technique and building fitness.  In the 2000m sprint competition today on the concept 2, I finished in a time of 9 minutes 28 seconds.  I was so exhausted I nearly fell off the seat when I stopped. I see the need to push myself a lot harder on the rower at the gym especially as I want to compete as a single sculler for the first time in May. 

It’s been a busy social month so far with a medieval banquet in St Martin’s Great Hall in Leicester to celebrate the finding of Richard III, lots of friends turning out for a New Year’s drinks party at home (where the Cambridge photo competition was hatched and the interest in the debating society confirmed), impromptu supper parties and what has become regular early evening drinks on a Friday at the thriving pub in the village down the road.  And Enterprise Tuesdays in Cambridge have begun again.  Fab.


Cross words for the right reasons, avoiding the tar Schnapps.

I have been collecting cross words over the last few weeks ready to take with me down to the house party on the east coast over New Year.  Having been a recent discoverer of the draw of the cross word (or word cross at it was originally termed) I aim to keep my fellow cruciverbalists occupied in the time between drinks at the local pub, the New Year’s supper party and a long walk on the beach, ending up, we think, at Holkham for lunch on New Year’s Day.   The cryptic and supercryptic crosswords will be for the ace solvers only.  It will be my task at that point to volunteer to make the tea.

It’s been a busy Christmas with invitations to suppers and parties and a chance to spend time with good friends and new acquaintances.  As I sit here planning my own New Year Drinks and Open House I can’t imagine where I will fit everyone in.  But invitations accepted should (for those with good manners at least) be returned and I only hope the weather will be dry and people can spill out into the garden where they can huddle in a tight circle around the garden heaters.   I may have to borrow a gazebo or two.

Twenty fourteen looms.  This time last year I was up at the Arctic Circle in Finland on a wilderness training week.  This year’s New Year’s Eve will be distinctly more glitzy.  It’ll be less fleece base layer and shots of tar Schnapps and more satin and lace and flutes of champagne.