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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 never to late list (21)


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.  


Dusk and sunset

Shots of dusk and sunset over Nevill Holt in Leicestershire are on the gallery.


Going round in circles; concentrating hard; not enough hours in the day.

Lying in bed, watching the grey winter light slowly filter through the gap in the curtains I remember the heating is turned off.  I can feel the chill of the early morning air rest heavily on my arm as I pull it slowly from the protection of the bed covers and rest it on top. The hotwater bottle still has the last vestiges of warmth and I dig my toes into it.  It’s another early start and through the window which is ajar, I hear the sound of a solitary black bird, signalling its presence and establishing its territory.

It’s difficult to remember what day it is.  The days and weeks rush by in a kaleidoscope of impressions and experiences and activity.  Each day has a tendency to merge into the next.  But, for all the early starts and late finishes, there is a sense of achievement and progress.  Taking abstract and theoretical knowledge and ideas gathered over the last few years and crafting them into a tangible output has some practical value and is a rewarding way to pass one’s time and to earn one’s money.  But I am aware of how ‘green’ I am in some areas. I think it was Aristotle who said, “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”.

A trip to Cranfield to meet one of the academic directors who I have, until now, only exchanged emails with proves to be an interesting and useful meeting.  There is an invitation to submit a paper to his journal.  After the meeting I wander around the campus for a bit, getting a sense of scale and stature and imagining what it might be like to work there.   I compare it to Warwick and Cambridge and Bristol campuses where I have also been spending some time and then go on to compare it to UCLA, Berkeley and Harvard.  So many different places, so many different opportunities.  So many different prospective futures.  It’s a bit like an academic career equivalent of the 1998 film Sliding Doors.  And if things are hectic on the work front, they are just as hectic on the social front.  An Old Girl’s reunion and a chance to catch up with school friends, supper parties with friends which are full of fun, laughter and surprising conversations.  Another rowing lesson where, once again, I manage to remain upright and will progress, next week, to a proper racing scull.  This week we learned how to begin to manoeuvre our boat on the spot. It feels almost impossible at first, but with lots of concentration and a logical approach to the problem I eventually work it out.  Never have I been so happy as to learn how to go around in circles.     

Slightly slower progress for the new greetings card business and the Everest preparation because there has been so much to think about over the last few weeks and so many other priorities.  But my photos are given a confidence-building nod by a professional photographer who also inspires me to hold an exhibition of my work so I am looking into the cost of hiring one of the rooms at Stamford Arts Centre.  I also find, out of the blue, that I am to be made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.  And, in amongst everything that is happening, I am thinking about my next nevertoolate challenge in the short-term – attempting the Olympic bob-sled run in Lillehammer, Norway.      


Hitting the snooze button; making contacts at Cambridge; rowing into the future. 

I am reminded what normal life is like for many people as I’m reluctantly awoken to the sound of the alarm at 05:45 on a Monday morning.  I lie there in the dark, cocooned in the warmth of the duvet, calculating to the minute how long I can stay there ignoring the repetitive trilling of my iphone as I repeatedly hit the snooze button.  I need to make the shower, wash and dry my hair and stuff a piece of toast into my face and be away by 06:30.  The drive down to the West Country is long but uneventful and it’s a long time since I’ve been on the road early enough to see the sunrise. I arrive for my meeting in Bristol at 10:15 and during introductions hope the desire for a caffeine hit isn’t written too obviously across my face.  Back home at 21:20 having detoured via the TSB HQ in Swindon to meet some of the innovation team I make a sandwich and sink into the sofa.  The house, without Monty the cat who died last week, feels even more silent than usual.

Another busy and productive week has passed.  A lecture run by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Cambridge Judge Business School is interesting and at the networking event afterwards busy and fun.  I talk to a variety of people both in the capacity of entrepreneur and research associate. I am asked if I would consider mentoring start-up companies set up by students at the business school. Two people ask for my resumé.  I seem to be spending more time in Cambridge both professionally and socially and later, as I walk down Trumpington Street after a glass of wine at the Hotel du Vin, I feel more and more drawn to make the move there. 

I am waiting to hear from the card company following the submission of my photographs (it’s only been two days) but it doesn’t trouble me too much as the NeverTooLate brand is starting to take firmer shape in my mind.  I am rewriting some of the blog into chapters that are suitable for book publication and today between projects I spent a little while browsing the web for agents who were looking for submissions and who might be interested in my kind of writing.  Companies like Random House won’t accept manuscripts directly so an agent (unless one wants to self-publish) is a prerequisite.  The idea to link the images in the greeting card range to the NeverTooLate Adventures on the website and then to a series of books which provide details, guidance and advice for people to replicate the experience themselves is, I think, unique in the market place.    

On the Everest side things have been slower this week and I still haven’t finished drafting a proposal to Loughborough University School of Sport, Exercise and Health Science.  I begin a rowing course this Saturday which will get me properly fit again.  I checked the weather report and Saturday weather isn’t forecast to be quite as grim as it has been in the last couple of weeks.  All the same, I intend to swathe myself in waterproof layers. I am already imagining freezing cold water trickling down my neck.