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Tony Grist

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50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4 [Apr. 13th, 2012|05:14 pm]
Tony Grist

This is the National Trust's list of 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4. The ones I did I've printed in red
and the ones I didn't do I've printed in blue.

1. Climb a tree

2. Roll down a really big hill

3. Camp out in the wild

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone

6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

10. Play conkers

11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand

17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing

20. Make a mud slide

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet

26. Hunt for fossils and bones

27. Watch the sun wake up

28. Climb a huge hill

29. Get behind a waterfall

30. Feed a bird from your hand

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn

33. Catch a butterfly in a net

34. Track wild animals

35. Discover what’s in a pond

36. Call an owl

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly

39. Catch a crab

40. Go on a nature walk at night

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

42. Go wild swimming

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches

45. Find your way with a map and compass

46. Try bouldering (rock climbing outdoors but with safety mats and short drops)

47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling

49. Find a geocache (use GPS and other navigational aides to locate hidden containers.)

50. Canoe down a river

My score is 21. I've tried to play fair. I'm not counting things I did after I was 11 3/4. Some things I just can't remember. Did I make a mud slide? God knows. Others I tried to do and failed at- notably flying a kite. Does burning plastic toys with  a magnifying glass count as making a fire without matches? I doubt it.


[User Picture]From: akirlu
2012-04-13 05:19 pm (UTC)
Some of those things are weirdly specific. I went fishing as a kid, but not with a net. I remember learning how to kill the fish by sticking my thumb in its mouth and using that leverage to break the spine, so possibly I caught fish myself. I certainly ate many kinds of berries in the wild, and fruit straight from the tree, but blackberries specifically are not that common in either Sweden or California, so dunno about them. I am somewhat inclined to lump the frogspawn, what's in a pond, and going 'wild' swimming together in one rather than get three separate credits for them, but whatever. I score roughly 37.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 05:30 pm (UTC)
37 is impressive.

Blackberries are the only wild fruits that are at all common in Britain. I'm sure your other types of berry are valid within the spirit of the game.
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[User Picture]From: akirlu
2012-04-13 06:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, Britain is sadly over-domesticated in some ways. Among the berries I've eaten wild that grow wild in Sweden: raspberries, cloudberries, huckleberries, lingonberries, wild strawberries, and one or two varieties I don't have English names for. I think my score is high because a normal, ordinary Swedish childhood just has much more contact with nature than an ordinary British one. Swimming in a lake or pond wasn't weird or special to me, swimming in an actual swimming pool was.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 06:55 pm (UTC)
There are things called bilberries that grow on the hills round here. They're tiny but perfectly edible.

I grew up in the London suburbs, but within walking distance of some properly wild woods. And we used to holiday by the sea.
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[User Picture]From: akirlu
2012-04-13 07:52 pm (UTC)
I was born into the working class in a smallish industrial town in Sweden. (The Bofors guns, which I imagine you may have heard of, were all built in my home town.) The nearest woods were just on the other side of my grandparents' back hedge and then across the small public playground there. That wood wasn't very big, but big enough to have trees and moss-covered granite boulders to climb; assorted wildflowers, berries, and mushrooms to forage for; an old, broken down, moss-covered stone wall to explore; anthills to molest, and so forth. In summer we fished and swam and collected crayfish in various local lakes. When we moved to the suburbs of Stockholm, it was actually a wilder place, because our area was mostly summer houses. The wild deer would come sleep on our back lawn, and foxes and hedgehogs came to the back door to eat the scraps my mother left or them. My main playmate at the time lived across the road and their house was right on the lake, so in summer we fed swans off their jetty, and in winter we skated from the jetty to the island in the middle of the lake.

Well, thinking back, it's no wonder I hated California when we moved there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 09:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've heard of the Bofors gun. I hadn't realised it was Swedish.

I have a mental picture of the Swedish countryside from watching art house movies. Your description of your childhood landscape makes me think of Bergman's Wild Strawberries.
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[User Picture]From: bohemiancoast
2012-04-19 07:41 am (UTC)
It's a British list, and that activity of fishing for minnows with a net feels peculiarly British. Obviously fishing for actual fish you can eat would count; I think they're trying to demonstrate that there are simple little things you can do.

I'm pretty sure we did bouldering when I was a child, except without the safety mats and the short drops. We just, you know, climbed rocks. And we fell down a bit too.

Calimac's mention of climbing chicken-wire (I remember being able to do that easily as a small child) makes me think about generating an urban child's version of this, with playing football in the street, taking a bus on your own, spotting wild foxes, eating discarded fruit from market stalls, visiting free museums, hanging out on a street corner, breaking into a building site...
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2012-04-13 06:48 pm (UTC)
I scored 31, but allowed the attempt for the deed in a couple of instances. Also, I'm not sure what some of them even mean - "Bring up a butterfly?" Sounds digusting. As for calling an owl, yes ("But will they come when you do call to them?") - but perhaps they mean calling like an owl?

Anything that involves swimming or potential swimming (e.g. canoeing) is ruled out by my youthful non-swimminess.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 07:03 pm (UTC)
The one that foxed me was "look inside a tree". I assume we're talking about a hollow tree- but it hardly seems like something to make a fuss about.

A lot of these activities are very boy scouty and I have never been much of a team player.

I made lots of fires, but always with matches.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2012-04-13 07:29 pm (UTC)
I love this list. I copied it to my page, and adapted it for a 12 year old (or younger) girl. I got a 31, playing completely fair. No girl scouts for me - they only emphasized homemaking when I was a girl, and I loved the out of doors. Thanks for sharing it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 09:33 pm (UTC)
It's fun, isn't it!
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[User Picture]From: internet_sampo
2012-04-13 07:39 pm (UTC)
49. Find a geocache (use GPS and other navigational aides to locate hidden containers.)

Before I was 11? No GPSs then.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 09:34 pm (UTC)
Well exactly. I guess the nearest thing we had were treasure hunts.
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[User Picture]From: internet_sampo
2012-04-13 10:27 pm (UTC)
When I was about 8, my family went to Florida for a vacation. There was a place where you could put a note in bottle, then they would seal it and drop it in the ocean. Maybe that could count.

Edited at 2012-04-13 10:28 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-14 10:15 am (UTC)
Yes, that's something every child should do...
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2012-04-13 08:29 pm (UTC)
I had done 46 of those by the time I was 11 3/4... (Geocaching wasn't really a big deal in the 80's, for one thing! And I never brought up a butterfly, though I did have a pet wasp at one point.)

Also, you blue font for the island-thing confuses me... You do realise that the UK consists entirely of islands, right? :-P
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-13 09:35 pm (UTC)
Gosh, but you were an outdoorsy kid! I'm impressed.

:) I don't think large islands count.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2012-04-14 05:12 am (UTC)
Our family holidays when I was a kid were on a tight budget, so my parents would load up our tiny car with us three kids, tents, food and whatnot and take a ferry across to Sweden or Norway for a week of camping in the woods or on the fells... I think they spent well under 200 pounds in today's money on taking five people on a week's holiday!

Also, each summer we three kids were put on a train to visit my maternal grandparents for a week's vacation at their farm. By the time I was 11 3/4 I could drive a tractor, assist at the birth of piglets and chop the head of a chicken, so in spite of growing up in Suburbia I definitely wasn't a city kid.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-14 10:18 am (UTC)
Sounds like a great childhood.

There weren't any farms in my family- just the odd golf course...
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2012-04-14 11:14 am (UTC)
39 but that isn't quite fair, since there were no "geocaches", when I was a child. Also, strikes me that many of these aren't available to one so very young. I spent thirteen years in Scouting and even then didn't do any rock climbing or repelling until I was eighteen and in an Explorer post more-or-less dedicated to that sort of thing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-14 01:11 pm (UTC)
39 is a respectable score. Better than mine, anyway. I spent a lot of my childhood in the open air, but I was never very sporty.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2012-04-15 10:57 am (UTC)
I was lucky. Both sets of grandparents lived on farms about an hour from where I grew up, so most every weekend was spent tramping the woods and fields.
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[User Picture]From: kalimac
2012-04-19 05:57 am (UTC)
I got stuck on #1. All the other kids climbed trees. I was never able to figure out how to do that.
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[User Picture]From: kalimac
2012-04-19 05:59 am (UTC)
The other thing that all the other kids climbed that I was never able to figure out how to do, was wire fences, the kind around schoolyards.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-04-19 08:35 am (UTC)
I found it easy to reach the lowest branches. After that, for some reason, it got much trickier.
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[User Picture]From: apostle_of_eris
2012-04-19 05:31 pm (UTC)
I score about 23, but this list is parochial in both space and time.
Most of the U.S. lives in suburbs, where the places implicit in most of these don't exist. A lot of kids only see a plant (aside from weeds) that no one planted only trough a car window. As for open water other than landscaping, forget it.
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