THERE are some glaring omissions from a list of 50 Things to do Before You’re 11 and three quarters, which was released this week by the National Trust.
The list was compiled in a bid to get more children out and about exploring the countryside.
Computers, naturally, are being blamed for cooping our kids up in the house. Personally, I think the lack of top-shelf magazines blowing around our playing fields can account for fewer teenagers playing out in the countryside.
The list is commendable, though it does have a golly gosh Enid Blyton feel to it. Among the things you simply must do are climb a tree, build a den, dam a stream, light a fire without matches, catch a butterfly, set up a snail race and “check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool”.
Drinking lashings of ginger beer fails to make the list but then they only had 50 spaces.
But what if you live in the city? The urban 50 Things to do Before You Grow Up may be very different. It certainly was when I was growing up in South Shields.
So here, for your delectation, is my alternative 50 Things You Perhaps Shouldn’t be Doing Before You’re 11 and three quarters, But Probably Did or Are Planning to Do, As Long As You Don’t Get Caught.
1. Break a window, with or without a football
2. Put a lit firework in dog muck
3. Have a wee fight (boys only, although ...)
4. Burn an ant with a magnifying glass
5. Give someone a wedgie
6. Bunk off school
7. Spy on girls in school changing rooms
8. Scribble graffiti in a toilet cubicle (include a friend’s telephone number, if possible)
9. Steal a shopping trolley
10. Make a fire, with matches.
11. Explore a derelict house
12. Have a full-on fight on the school field
13. Throw an egg, not necessarily at someone in authority
14. Make a prank phone call to a stranger
15. Drop a stink bomb in school
16. Break wind … and light it
17. Stick chewing gum in someone’s hair
18. Turn your eyelids inside out
19. Draw cartoon genitalia on a school pal’s exercise book
20. Smoke a cigarette dropped in the street, don’t inhale
21. Vomit in public (see nos. 20, 22, 23, 38)
22. Eat you own earwax.
23. Drink the dregs of a pint glass
24. Cut your own hair
25. Climb a lamppost
26. Swallow chewing gum
27. Give someone a Chinese burn
28. Break a bone (not necessarily your own)
29. Throw someone in a pond/river/sea
30. Stand on top of a postbox
31. Eat chewing gum found on the ground
32. Wear same undies for a week
33. Nick something
34. Taunt a tramp/drunk/babysitter
35. Skim stones across a car park
36. Snowball a bus
37. Overturn a rubbish bin
38. Try to get drunk on wine gums
39. Watch a horror movie, when your parents are asleep
40. Have a shave, even though you don’t need to
41. Write your name in wet cement
42. Burp the alphabet
43. Hold your breath until your face turns purple
44. Urinate your height on a back lane wall
45. Spend an afternoon on a bus shelter roof
46. Put cling film over a school toilet
47. Ring a doorbell, and run away
48. Kick a ball on a roof, and head it when it rolls back down
49. Have a spit fight
50. Check out the crazy creatures in a dead bird