#27 – Play Cluedo.

 Was it Mr Pink? In the observatory? With a draft excluder?
We’ve all played Cluedo before, or have we? That’s a lot of questions to open with, isn’t it?
Until very recently, I had not played Cluedo. That was why it was on my list of 30 things to do before I turned 30.
How did I get some Cluedo all up in here? Well, for that we have to head back to a long time ago, about a year ago, when my mum bought me a Cluedo set which sat, wrapped in plastic, in my wardrobe until this week.
I had friends over. We ate pizza. I made mulled wine. It was a total hoot. As it turned out, we had the maximum number of players possible for Cluedo. Six. That’s how cute and popular I am. Six friends!
I feel like I have always been aware of Cluedo. It’s like The Godfather. I knew all of the Godfather before I ever watched it. I found the actual viewing somewhat disappointing as a result. I hoped the same wouldn’t be said of Cluedo.
The rules of Cluedo are complex in their complexity. There are cards for each of the rooms , each of the weapons and each of the characters. One of each is put in an envelope and the rest are handed out to the players. For all you know, you could be the killer. I was. #Spoilers.

The aim of the game is to work out what happened and where and by whom. When there are six of you, it can get a bit involved because everyone has some kind of sick strategy. It feels like it goes on for ages before you get to do anything and your poor little part is being dragged all over the shop. In that way it’s very much like an inefficient handjob.

I watched the finesse with which my friends played and probably learnt more about the situation from their reaction than I did from actually taking any turns. It’s basically a game of elimination. Then you head into your mind palace and try to fathom out how exactly you would kill someone with a candlestick. I suppose the obvious choice is blunt force trauma it could also be fun to down the throat or up the anus of your intended victim until they choked.

It took three of us making a dive for the centre to make our allegations before we were able to conclude that I was in fact the murderer. If I had known from the off then I would have done whatever I could to put the other players off, or I would have booked a flight to the Philippines. Either way, they never would have caught me.

#11 – Ride a horse.

They say that horses are intelligent creatures, don’t they?
Wait, am I thinking of dolphins? Or velociraptors?
Clever girl.

Anyway, one of the things I really wanted to do was ride a horse. I think I was inspired by Django Unchained. I can’t think what other reason I have for wanting to do anything. Ride a horse. Become a free man. Eat some white cake.
The opportunity to ride a horse came to be on my actual 30th birthday. Clarissa had offered before but I had never committed. Here’s the thing about saying you’re going to do something, sometimes you actually end up doing it.

I don’t trust horses. I feel like they are plotting something. What do they know that we don’t? Why are they always standing about, watching everything? What have they seen? They say “oh, if I could be a fly on the wall”, try being a fucking horse.

The first thing I noticed about Bentley, my noble stead, is that he was massive. Apparently he’s small for a horse. He’s bigger than a vacuum cleaner or a Paul Schiernecker so in the grand scheme of things, I’m declaring him big. He also didn’t like me. Horses do what the fuck they want, don’t they? Unless you’re some kind of cryptic horse whisperer, threatening that they’ll become Iceland Lasagne, horses rule the roost. Clarissa made me dress him in a little S&M waistcoat and then we took him out into the ménage. That’s basically where they train horses and idiots, dressed in pea coats, who haven’t been on horses before. It’s a fenced in square, covered over in sand, so if you land on your tuchus you’re not going to die.

I assumed I would be a naturally gifted horse rider. I quickly realised that the reason I thought I would be able to ride is that I once spent an entire weekend eating chicken nuggets and playing Red Dead Redemption. It turns out that you can’t tap A to make it go faster. Instead, you have to be horrible to him.

Basically, there are a lot of instructions to follow. I was busy trying to send pictures to my brothers and didn’t hear a lot of them. It’s sort of like riding a bike. You put your hand out to the side to make a turn. You also have to talk to the horse. This is where it becomes different to riding a bike. You don’t talk to a bike. I’ve seen people talking to bikes but they were in Amsterdam.
You are supposed to be sure of what you’re saying, which is difficult when you don’t ever feel sure of what you’re saying. I mean, how can I be in charge, he’s been horse riding a lot more than I have, and we both know it.

After much persuasion (Clarissa to me), Bentley started doing what I wanted. He still stopped at the gate because he hated me and he always diverted off the course but other than that, we had a good time. I even managed to get him to trot.
The only harsh thing is that to do so, you have to give them a little kicking. At first I was really apprehensive because it’s like someone punching me in the kidneys to force me to run.

Basically, riding horses is excellent. Now I’m gonna go and hunt some foxes and poor people.


#5 – Write a letter to myself at the age of 60.

Dear Paul,
As you can imagine, this is a weird letter to have to write. I mean, I’m me. You’re me. It’s asking for all kinds of disappointment for either one, or both of us. I have spent a lot of years worrying about not achieving the great things I always felt I would achieve. I don’t want to put too much of a downer on what I am hoping is a spectacular birthday for us both.

I am writing this letter as part of a challenge I set myself. I wanted to complete a list of thirty things I wanted to do before I was thirty. I achieved some of these. I am hoping that between the pair of us we managed to take that train ride across India and visit somewhere to see the Northern Lights.

So here is where I am at now. I’m thirty years old. I am working. I know I am lucky to have a job but it is not what I feel I was put on this planet to do.
I have a one-bedroom flat where I can see the hospital in which I was born from the kitchen window. This flat is always cold, especially in February. We are due to clear the mortgage in thirty-two years.

I have independently published four books (Where Did All The Money Go, The Stamp Collective, Yallah! and The Stamp Brotherhood). I have written, recorded and released an album called Workbook. My latest project was co-writing a zombie dinner show called Delectably Dead with Scott. All I want to do is write and love and travel.

Today I went for lunch with Clarissa and then rode Bentley, her horse. Again, this is something that was on my list of things to do before I was thirty.
I’m waiting for Luke, Luke, Ben, Kate and Alex to come round for pizza and games. I’m taking Clarissa, Dad and Sue to see Delectably Dead tomorrow.
On Friday I’ll be out in Southend with my friends. I wonder what you are doing and who you are with. I hope you see Robb and Edd as much as you can. Unfortunately, they know you better than anyone and should be feared and respected.

I hope you don’t let your ego step on important friendships and I hope you are still a force to be reckoned with.

I guess what I was to say is that I am proud of the pair of us. Wherever you are, it’s where I am heading and I know you have solid reasons for everything.
Just stay true to who you are and what we want.

If you aren’t still writing then now is the time to pick it up again. Go and listen to DeBussy and make something great.

I love you.