A Brick Lane Curry Reduces the List!

Posted on November 21, 2011

I read one of these “Things to do Before You are 50!” articles in a Sunday supplement a while back and it recommended a “Brick Lane Curry.” I am not sure where it all goes wrong if you don’t have a Brick Lane curry until you are 51, but last week I was just 44, so this left me six years away from danger when we ticked off this rather odd recommendation during London pub crawl to celebrate my birthday. The curry house we visited was called Alladdin, and very good it was too, even if Pete did dampen my spirits slightly by knocking a full pint of Kingfisher lager in to my lap. The pub crawl was fun too, though it is all a bit vague now and I am trying to work out where we went, though I think it was Waterloo, then over the Thames to Blackfriars, Aldgate, Whitechapel, Brick Lane and Bethnal Green. The crawl was supposed to take in twenty four pubs with a half of lager/bitter consumed in each, but on far too many occasions we had a pint instead, which meant we faltered and visited just twelve or thirteen, but it was still good fun all the same.

Brick Lane: The Curry house capital of London

In reality, these “things to do before………lists are an load of old tosh really, because the ambition of every individual is different, and whilst the curry in Brick Lane was a modest and affordable achievement, I have no intention of bungee jumping my way to a heart attack off a bridge in New Zealand or surfing in to the mouth of a shark on the golden coast of Australia. I am just not that daring, not anymore anyway, my brain takes me through an internal risk assessment and method statement just to hurdle a barbed wire fence. Twenty years ago I would vault it without thought or fear, now the movie playing out in my minds eye is one that features a fire fighter removing my testicles with an enormous pair of industrial wire cutters. A Brick Lane curry is about my limit these days.

However, there are a couple of things I do want to achieve in the next few years. First of all, I would love to overcome my irrational fear of snakes as this would allow me to visit my dear friends in the Northern Territory of Australia that is home to about every nasty slippery bastard you can possibly imagine. I can cope with luminous frogs and spiders the size of my car, but the thought of coming face to face with a snake, deadly or not, feels me with such terror that I don’t know how I can overcome it enough to make a visit to this venomous but beautiful part of the world. To put my fear in to perspective so you can fully understand my issue, I cannot even look at a photo of a snake in a book, or watch wildlife shows where they appear without warning. Even that programme everyone watches called  “I’m a Celebrity…..Get Me Out of Here” is completely out of bounds for me, though I have serious doubts how long I could put up with Ant & Dec anyway. Lots of people seem to like them which probably means I don’t because I am forty four.

My other burning ambition features a race against time as my eyesight and knees become weaker by the day. That ambition is to score a fifty in any form of cricket that is on offer. I have nearly done it a couple of times, well sort of nearly, a couple of scores in the mid thirties are the best that I have come up with so far, but on both occasions a lack of concentration has thwarted me. My friend in Broughton is sixty three years old and he regularly pops up with scores of seventy or eighty, and even though he may no longer have the grace of his younger years, it still gives me great hope that I can reach this most unlikely of personal milestones in the next six years, though a winter in the practice nets at the Dummer cricket centre is probably required and cricket is not cheap. If I ever make a score of fifty, you will probably be better off avoiding me for several years as it is all I will want to talk about, in fact, I would probably rename this Blog, Bob’s Cricket Blog. I will be emptying pubs all over Hampshire as unsuspecting victims are forced to hear the detail of every shot I played, all of them embellished to an extent that an edged four will described as an effortless Gower-esque drive through the covers. The more I think about it, it may be better for all concerned if I go to my grave without one.

My concern is not just so about boring you all to a point where you feel you are having an outer body experience, it is also something I read which was explaining the pitfalls of an anti-climax, which in sporting terms can lead to deep depression as the individual suddenly achieves what they were striving for. This, apparently, is particularly prevalent in cricket, the sport with the not very envious title of most suicides! It is very common for an Ashes winner, an Olympic gold medalist, a European Cup winner or a golf Open Champion to feel utter deflation and loss of direction after years of chasing their ultimate goal, then succeeding, leaving a huge vacuum in front of them. However, I am not so sure that scoring a 50 on a pudding of a pitch against a pie chuckers eleven is a justification for leaping off a bridge, though I won’t know unless I get one. For the time being I think it is a risk well worth taking, so I am going to keep striving for the day I can lift my bat in the air in glory as seven spectators and a dog look on in bemused admiration. I don’t suppose that is on Michael Atherton’s list of things to do before he is fifty which empahsises my point about in the first paragraph….everyone aspires to different levels!

So apart from learning what the “non colourfast cotton” button on my washing machine does, I would be thoroughly happy with just the cricket and snake achievements……………..perhaps I could kill two birds with one stone by scoring a fifty in a game of cricket against a Nick Clegg XI.

That would be fun!

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