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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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Entries in Boston (4)


Fingers in my ears, John Harvard's statue, a final cocktail.

On the final day of my trip I turned left out of the Lenox Hotel instead of the customary right and headed west down Boylston towards the lofty Prudential building which houses a conference centre and shopping mall.   From here I would pick up the trolley bus to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a quick look around before dipping down into the subway and taking the red line two stops to Harvard.  Going in the opposite direction to normal I passed new places, admiring the plush Mandarin Oriental Hotel as I passed and stopping now and then to gaze into shops full of beautiful, sophisticated and by now, at the end of the holiday, unaffordable things.  But I didn’t mind just looking because the sun was out, I had a free ticket for the trolley bus and I was on my way to have a look around Harvard.

The trolley bus I took is one of many tours which takes a circular route around the main highlights of downtown Boston, many of which I had already seen.  But the three stops to MIT from this point took me to parts of the city I had not visited before and I was very much looking forward to it. I had not, however, counted on Shorna.  Shorna was our bus driver and tour guide and appeared to be able to talk, non-stop, without drawing breath.  I can only surmise that she has evolved over time to breathe through her ears.  However she does it, it is very annoying.  It wasn’t as if what she was saying wasn’t interesting or informative, it was, it’s just interspersed by personal opinions and facts about her personal life which frankly I didn’t want to know.  For example, “The Fenway Baseball Stadium is now the second oldest baseball stadium in the US”. Which is great.  It’s interesting. I am glad I know that now. But did I also need to know that the “Boston Redsox are my favourite team.  But not really because I only say that because I have to”?  This is how it went on and by the time I got to MIT I was desperate to get off.  And despite her repeated requests to me and everyone else, I will not be writing in to recommend her for tour guide of the year.  She’d never won it in seven years apparently.  Funny that.

You come out off the subway station at Harvard onto a small traffic island lined on two sides by shops and cafes and newspaper booths and I had to ask to be directed to Harvard Yard.  It’s only a step away in fact, but the buildings which back onto the junction don’t look particularly impressive and so it’s easy to think they are not part of the university.  A short stroll though takes you up to one of the main entrance archways which are flanked by large wrought iron gates and then you are straight into the country’s most famous campus.  Harvard Yard is a large grassy area enclosed by fences and walls through which there are twenty-seven gates in total.  It is the oldest part of the Harvard University Campus and its historic centre.  As I pass through it I notice that the trees are still full and green and lots of students are sitting out on colourful chairs reading books or looking at their laptops or chatting.  The yard contains most of the freshman dormitories, Harvard’s most important libraries and the offices of the Dean and President of Harvard University.  The original Harvard Hall that stood here housed the college library including the 320 volumes of scholarly books donated by John Harvard but all but one was destroyed in a fire in 1764.  A statue of a seated John Harvard, clutching a book and gazing contemplatively into the distance sits outside the window of the Dean’s office.  Depending on what you read and where, the statue is allegedly not John Harvard (he died at age 30 and there was no accepted likeness of him so the sculptor used as a model a young male student who had clear lineage to the Pilgrim Fathers); he was not the founder despite what the inscription says (his name was adopted for the college when he bequeathed his library to them); and the college was not founded in the year the inscription states (though this depends at what point, legally, you classify a college as ‘founded’).  Anyway, these three myths always draw a big crowd around the statue so standing on tip toe and having had a glance, I carried on my way around the various colleges and buildings poking my head through a door here and there and generally trying to get a feel for the place.  A little suffocated by visitors and by the busy roads which cut around and across the campus I gave it half an hour and then moved on.

Harvard Business School, by contrast, is a place of peace, tranquillity and calm about a fifteen minute walk down John F. Kennedy Street away from the university, over the Charles River and thence onward to N. Harvard Street.  The campus is completely open with no walls or fences.  (  The lawns are groomed, the buildings grand and imposing and surprisingly easy just to pop into for a look around.  There was almost no one about.  I popped into Chase House and had a chat with the receptionist about the campus and she was helpful and informative.  I had exchanged an email with the senior associate dean who had passed by name and contact details onto her colleague who in turn was happy to tell me more about the school and the opportunities available there.  I took lunch in the main school refectory which was busy, where the service was quick and the food was good.  With plenty of information gathered and some handy contacts made, I took a last stroll around the school, sat for a few minutes on the steps of the library building thinking about this and that and then picked up my rucksack and headed back to the tube.

Picking up the trolley bus at MIT once more, I hoped off this time, on a whim, in a charming area north of Boston common full of antique shops and small independent retailers.  All the shops had individual hand-painted signs in classic styles which made the area feel quaint and local and not at all like it were right in the middle of a very big city.  From there I took a slow and enjoyable stroll across Boston Common, watched a Chinese musician who was playing an instrument I had never seen before, crossed the little bridge over the lake, took a moment to review the bronze statue of George Washington and then crossed the road and headed down Commonwealth Avenue.  Comm Ave as it is known locally is a small parkway divided at its centre by a long grassy mall split by a path along which tall slim trees provide welcome shelter from the heat of the afternoon sunshine. It is much like one of Georges-Eugene Haussmann’s Paris boulevards and today it was doing me the favour of keeping me away from a particular shop on Boylston that sold funky hand-embroidered suede boots. Every time I have succumbed to a purchase on this trip a little voice in my head whispered “it’s ok, it’s a 50th birthday treat”.  But as the end of the holiday began to loom and I began to tot up the total cost of the trip in my head, the voice began to sound a little bit hollow.  A bit like my wallet was beginning to feel.  In the late afternoon we ate dinner at the Jacob Wirth Beer Cellar on Stuart Street ( where the beer was good but the food was not and which did not live up to its marketing in the local where-to-go magazine.  Exiting the restaurant and shivering in the sudden coolness of the evening we walked quickly down through China Town to the harbour front to take in another recommended spot – the RumBa cocktail bar at the Intercontinental on Atlantic Avenue ( Settled at the bar, not bothered by the fact that my dress was on inside-out and wearing it only because it was the last piece of clothing in my case that didn't smell too bad, I ordered a Martini and let the fact that this was the final night of the trip slowly sink in.  My reverie and quiet contemplation was disturbed by a chap sitting next to me with a now typical question "Are you English?” he asked.  Except this time the accent wasn’t American, it was a soft and lilting Irish.  Smiling, I turned around and said, indeed, I was.


Standing in the Oval Office, Bay of Pigs from the other side, frock envy.

The Oval Office is surprisingly small.  At least that’s how it feels as I stand in the mocked-up version at the John F. Kennedy Museum ( at Columbia Point in the southern half of Boston.  It had been an easy journey from my hotel on Boylston by taking the red line from down-town crossing four stops south to JFK/UMass and then popping up about fifteen or twenty minutes later in what feels remarkably like south west London.  There are streets full of solid residential properties with well-kept gardens and avenues amply planted with trees and shrubbery.  It’s a little disconcerting when you know you are two thousand miles from home. At the bus-stop I find the bus to the museum is free and the ten-minute route runs along the edge of the bay and loops into the University of Massachusetts before dropping off passengers at the front of the JFK museum.  The University of Massachusetts must have one of the most enviable locations for a university in the whole of the United States.  It is nestled on the waterfront with long lawns leading down to the water’s edge and buildings which look modern and well-maintained.  On this Sunday morning there are groups of students, male and female, black and white, doing American Football drills.  It all feels very relaxed. 

The idea of a Presidential library began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his second term of office as a means to store and preserve the evidence of a presidency for future generations.  It began a traditional that endures to this day.  There is, amongst others, the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California; the Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta, Georgia; the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas and the William J. Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arizona (does it contain ‘that’ cigar, I wonder).  The libraries are really archives and museums, bringing together in one place the artefacts and documents of a President and his Administration and making them available to the public for study and discussion. They also bring together personal papers and correspondence of Presidential family members, associates and friends.  I am not sure there is anything quite like it in the United Kingdom.  The Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston is impressive both in terms of the breadth of information it makes available but also the depth, and the engaging ways it presents it.  There are journal and diary entries about key events not just from JFK himself but also from his wife Jackie Kennedy, from his brother Robert who was his campaign manager and who became Attorney General during his administration and also from JFK’s secretary.  A visit to the museum begins with a nineteen-minute film mostly of JFK talking about his early home life and containing much family film footage, and then progresses through a series of corridors and rooms displaying interesting documents and articles pertaining to his life and career.  One learns about the 1960 campaign trail; the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate runs on a TV loop (they were surprisingly gracious to each other, American politics appears to have gone downhill rapidly since then); there is a wall showing the results of the 1960 election which clearly shows how close the race for the presidency was and then stuff on Kennedy’s inauguration and the three years of his office before he was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963.  The handwritten notes, the official typed documents and the black and white films being run are generously supplemented by large glossy photographs on the walls of John and Jackie Kennedy meeting many famous political figures of the day and glass cases dotted here and there exhibit the many beautiful, valuable and sometimes strange gifts that they received along the way.  Two of the rooms deal with the US space programme which JFK was keen to see accelerated the Cuban Missile Crisis.  This latter room held particular interest for me as almost exactly a year before I had been standing in the warm and shallow waters of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba reading about and thinking about the invasion of Cuba from the Cuban’s point of view.  As I read the letters exchanged between JFK, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Nikita Khrushchev of Russia and mused on those thirteen days in October 1962 when the world seemed to be toppling towards nuclear war I wondered whether today, with communication so rapid and media coverage of events so expansive, three individuals, all with the need to maintain reputation and political position would be able to come to the arrangement they did.  JFK, so young and relatively new to the role seems to have shown remarkable wisdom and courage and a surprising lack of ego.  But before you think I am as dulI as dishwater in my interest in historical political and social events I would like to report that I also spent quite a long time admiring Jackie Kennedy’s frocks.

Back at the hotel, shoes off, scoffing pillow chocolates and considering which cocktail to start with that evening I reflected once more on how at home I felt in Boston.  Tomorrow I would be going for a tour of Harvard Business School and wondered if I would feel just at home, there.

The US trip photographs are on the Gallery.


The Boston Freedom Trail 

The trip to Boston had three main objectives.  The priority was to visit Harvard Business School which is situated just across the river in Cambridge, the second was to walk the Freedom Trail – a brick-lined route of approximately two and a half miles which visits sixteen significant sites which were the catalyst for the American Revolution - and thirdly to visit the J F Kennedy Library and Museum which is housed in a purpose-built and modern looking complex at Columbia Point, four stops south on the red line from the down-town crossing.  Keen to do some walking and still enlivened by the fact that we were in an American city that didn’t appear to be populated by the type of creature which frequented the famous Cantina bar in the Star Wars Universe (, we headed for Boston Common, a ten-minute walk north-east from the hotel and the beginning of the Freedom Trail.  There are lots of formal and organised tours of the Freedom Trail available which cost differing amount of money but, with a clear route outlined by a brick or painted red line and the whole day ahead of us we decided to explore it for ourselves with the help of a free map from Boston Common visitor centre (

Though the trail is not long – only two and a half miles – it takes quite a long time, partly because the sites are interesting and give one pause for thought, but also because it is a ‘must do’ part of visiting Boston and on a sunny Saturday morning there is a steady flow of people, maps outstretched and who stop (us included) to studiously read the various information given at regular points along the way.    The route includes meeting houses where the revolution was discussed and planned, and the church where lantern signals were left which were the code to begin a sequence of events that began the American journey to independence. Paul (national hero) Revere (presumably dragged out of bed) began his fabled 30-mile midnight ride to Lexington, thirty miles north of Boston, to tell everyone along the way “the English are coming” and to rise to arms.  History, as they say, was made.   Like our own earlier revolution in England in the middle of the seventeen century (though we call ours the ‘Civil War’) it began because of the perceived misuse of power, of increasing taxes and a lack of political representation for those who were required to pay them.  The trail ends, across the water in Charlestown on Bunker Hill (which isn’t actually Bunker Hill, that’s the name of a hill about a quarter of a mile NW but somehow the name got transferred and stuck). On this small hill, only about half a mile from the river, the American revolutionaries (patriots or rebels, depending on which side you were on) hunkered down and fought valiantly but were eventually pummelled by the British forces. I don’t believe one American was left standing.  The British won the battle, but the sheer number of British fatalities needed to overcome a relatively small number of revolutionaries gave confidence and succour to those invested in the drive for independence.  The battle for Bunker Hill was recognised not as a physical win for the new Americans, but was seen as a significant psychological win and proof that, with enough determination and self-belief, the British could be beat. The weird thing is, despite a clear desire on the part of the new Americans to sever British rule, nearly everywhere you go in the States people love you if you are British.  So square that peculiarity.

The photographs from the US trip are on the gallery.


A proper hotel, the giddiness of freedom, free food.

The high-speed catamaran out of Boston ejected a sorry-looking bunch of customers, their pallor pale from a rough crossing. As we boarded past the notice which predicted further inclement weather we noticed the crew had liberally strewn new sick bags across the tables and chairs.  Janet bought a beer.  I was impressed.

It’s a 90-minute crossing from Provincetown to Boston by sea and the boat passes very close to the location the paid trips take you to view whales.  I strapped myself to the handrail to counteract the pitching and yawing that hit beyond the harbour wall and stood at the window scanning the sea, hoping to save myself the forty bucks it would cost to do the official trip.  But I saw none, so maybe the whales picked up on the fact I was being a cheapskate.  The skyscrapers of Boston, though, appeared after about an hour as tiny pale blue notches on the distant horizon and then slowly took form.  Small craggy islands lined the way into the bay and aircraft made their final descent low over the water before dropping into Logan airport.  We hauled our kit off the boat and into a taxi and then arrived a few minutes later at the first and last proper hotel of the trip. By proper I mean there were liveried doormen, a grand reception tiled with marble and scattered with jewel coloured Persian rugs.  Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling.  A bellboy swiftly transported our bags to the room and I pushed a big tip into his hand before dropping my rucksack and falling headfirst onto the bed, drawing the smell of posh hotel sheets deep into my lungs.  I stretched out my hand and plucked the complimentary chocolate from the pillow.

The Lenox ( a smart boutique hotel in a smart part of Boston – Back Bay – full of smart looking people (I know, I know, I liked it a lot) and furnished with all the necessary touches to smooth away the pressures and stresses of travel.  There are sumptuous white towelling bathrobes with a showy golden monogram, grapefruit body lotion in the bathroom and for each night you stay, an increase in the amount of chocolates they leave when they turn down the bed (yes, they turn down the bed.  I haven’t been in a hotel that does that, well, for ages). The curtains are heavy and expensively trimmed and the air-con, when you turn it on, doesn’t sound like someone’s running a mower up and down the bedroom.  There is a cocktail bar that is so dimly lit the regulars-in-the- know bring a little torch with them to read the cocktail menu and there is a restaurant that does eggs any way you want them, with a smile.  As I said, it is a proper hotel.

And it is from this proper hotel, freshly showered and followed by a gentle waft of grapefruit scent, that we stepped out into a warm Boston evening.  Boston is how in my imagination American cities should be.  The streets are clean and wide, the restaurants full of folk looking happy and solvent, many of the buildings are modern and tall, but not overwhelmingly so.  One can see sky between the concrete.  The pedestrian crossings emit a gentle cuckoo-like sound letting you know when it is safe to cross.  The young people don’t look like they are about to draw a knife on you and I’d not felt the need to strap my bag to four separate parts of my body.  This all combines to make a lovely city in which you can stroll down wide leafy avenues lined with large solid-looking houses designed with an enthusiasm for longevity and where you can stop now and then to recline on a graffiti free bench or just to stand and admire the many public statues of eminent past Bostonians.  And that Friday evening, fresh to the city and giddy with the sense of freedom, we found a tapas bar where we could order tapas at $5 a plate.  After the cash we were required to haemorrage every time we ate on Martha’s Vineyard, it felt like free food.