Richard Ord: Lashings of ginger beer

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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