Northern Male is counting his lucky stars

April 21, 2023

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Bucket lists are fine for those that have them but they’re not for me. As my 67th birthday approaches I have no requirement to throw myself out of an aeroplane, run around Stonehenge naked or be a contestant on a national TV game show – although I admit to doing one of those.

Northern Male is counting his lucky stars

Being an Aries, instead of making lists I tend to just go out and do stuff then think about it later. They call it shooting first and asking questions afterwards. This method occasionally backfires but generally it means I’ll have no regrets when the bath-chair beckons.

I’m recently back from Barbados. My partner has always wanted to go and for a Christmas present I decided it was time she went. She sunned herself and I protected myself with Factor 50. Reading matter included “Something Dangerous” by Penny Vincenzi which I found in the hotel library. Penny died in 2018 and was a friend of a former girlfriend of mine.

Down the road from our place was a hotel called The Cliff where Michelin star chef Matt Worswick creates food to eat to the sound of the Caribbean washing ashore. It’s expensive.

In November last year Cliff Richard, who has a property there, rocked up to sing Summer Holiday and Congratulations when the restaurant opened. A tour guide told me he’s trying to sell his place there for £6.5m as the journey at 82 years old is too much. So far he’s had no luck. But then luck takes many forms.

Compare this to a story I saw recently on BBC World about a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who searches through bins for plastic to recycle to support his wife and 3 children. Deiri Fayyad dives into bins with no protective clothing and uses his bare hands to open rubbish bags. The smell is appalling.

He earns 250,000 Lebanese pounds (about £1.63) for a 12 hour day. Deiri says his dream is Europe but the reality is this. “I hope God can help us and we can leave. All I want is to give my children a better life and get them some education.”

Then there’s Gary Lineker. We all know he fell out with the BBC over his tweeting about how migrants were being treated. His support for migrants is at odds with the UK Government stance and the BBC rules of conduct for a presenter. Is a former footballer to tell them all what to do? It seems he is. He won his case and has recently also triumphed over HMRC regarding a £4.9m tax bill. Lucky Gary.

My father was fond of quoting a passage from the Bible. Mark Chapter 4: Verse 25.

“To those that hath shall be given. To those that hath not, even that which they hath shall be taken from them”. These reported words of Jesus are undoubtedly taken out of context but they remain a truism 2000 years later.

We were taken on a tour of the island by Ted. He’s a legend and quite a character. Ted’s tour of Barbados is one of the bucket list things you should do.

Rounding a bend, Ted pointed to a guy sitting on a rundown shack alone which overlooked a beautiful vista of the Caribbean and told us that man had been offered millions to sell up and had refused because money meant nothing to him.

No amount of cash could come close to the happiness of waking up each morning and seeing the view he’d always had in his life. His family memories and his connection to the island were priceless. He waved and we waved back in envy. Some things cannot be bought. A lucky man indeed.

At Easter I thought I’d do something different than buy eggs and flowers to show my love. So I made a plan to take my only child to America next year. Years ago my daughter Charlotte told me she wanted to visit the States and I filed that away. Now a busy married woman working with two children in Norfolk, she is tied up and finding space for even a phone call can take ages. But tonight we agreed we should go together for a week. To my mind, that is a very special thing for any parent to put in a bucket.

Except for Deiri. He doesn’t have a bucket.

Read more from Northern Male here.

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