Acts of kindness, Crime, Dance, Dating, internet, Religion, strangers, Uncategorized

…shoplifted/Hare Krishna/Freemasions/Ninja Skills…

Week 9

Day Fifty-Eight

…signed up to a dating website

I’ve always thought internet dating was full of weirdos and perverts – so I gave it a try. allows you to upload 6 profile photos, unfortunately I don’t have any of me working out or saving several orphans from a burning building, just lots of drunk photos, which is unlikely to entice the ladies.

If you wish to date me (I’m not paying for the whole meal) you’ll find me under the name neilfoster81 here:

Day Fifty-nine

…committed to seeing something through to the end

It was New Year’s Eve.  I contemplated the ten months left of this challenge and came very close to quitting.  One of my Friends said “why don’t you just give in, that’s what you always do”.

Like most modern men, I have commitment issues – it’s not my fault, I blame the generation I was born into.  On New Year’s Eve 2014 I made a commitment to my friends to see this through to the end and not give up on it, something I’ve never really done before.

I’m excited about the year ahead.

Day Sixty

Day 60…shoplifted

I’ve never shoplifted, apart from when I unintentionally stole Pick ‘n’ Mix as a child, so I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s a lot harder than it probably used to be as every shop has cameras, so I had to wait until the shopkeeper turned his back.  I bought a bottle of water, whilst at the same time sneaking a Mars into my pocket – proper rebel.

Afterwards I felt completely guilty, so I’ve returned the pilfered confectionary item in post with a note apologising for my misdemeanour; I’m not quite a career criminal yet.

Day Sixty-one

…listened to a meditation tape

To get the New Year off to a good start, I received a speeding ticket from the police.  I now have three points on my driving license, which I’ve never had before.  I was always told as kid that points mean prizes, so I’m quite pleased.  In the eyes of the law I’m now three points closer to being a Bad Ass.

To help me relax after this unfortunate news I tried listening to a meditation tape, it didn’t work.  It was basically just the sound of nature with a softly spoken woman saying “you’re in your secret place”.

Each time I tried to relax a really loud woodpecker kept making me jump, making my secret place quite stressful – I won’t be going back.

Day Sixty-Two

Day 62…visited the Freemasons Grand Lodge

I don’t know much about the Freemasons, apart from that it’s a very secretive organisation – which is why I don’t know much about it.

I discovered there’s a small museum in the United Grand Lodge, their HQ in Holborn.  You can visit the museum if you ask at the reception desk, but you have to sign in and they watch you closely.

The plethora of Freemason artefacts on display still didn’t really explain what they’re all about.  The whole time I kept thinking, if this was a movie I’d accidentally uncover a secret, my apartment would be bugged and men with guns would start following me.

I was given a tour of the Grand Temple.  It was impressive, but I was still no closer to the truth.  However, to my surprise, the tour guide suggested perhaps I’d consider becoming a member; he asked nobody else in the group.  He took my details and said he’d pass them on when I’m ready – if you don’t hear from for a while, then I’m being bugged and the armed men are coming.

Day Sixty-three

…folded a t-shirt in 2 seconds like a Ninja

Day Sixty-four

1528552_781065705241364_1171771393_n…chanted at the Hare Krishna Temple

I was informed the Hare Krishna’s (or “a bunch fruit-loops” as my Nan once called them) have a service/get together on Sunday that’s good for newcomers, so I went along.  I was expecting someone to greet me and explain the basics, but nobody did, so I sat on the floor in their small temple, just off Oxford Street, and tried to copy everyone else.  I felt like a bit of a prat, but I don’t think anyone cared as they were more concerned with Krishna.

At one point, after lots of chanting, a large curtain was drawn to reveal some deities.  Everyone stood, banged cymbals and danced; I must admit I got into a bit, despite having no idea what was going on.  At the end, three hours later, they asked who was new and why they were here.  I put up my hand and explained about my yearlong challenge and they all spontaneously clapped, which I felt was a very gracious, but I guess that’s what they’re all about.

On my side quest, to understand religion, I’m starting to realise gathering as a group to be selfless and share some common principles may be a very beneficial practice, but I’m still not convinced there’s a God yet.  The Hare Krishnas were very lovely people; they gave me a free Indian meal, making them one up on the Christians who just offered me coffee and cake.



Dating, strangers, Uncategorized

…tried to get a stranger’s phone number

Day 37Day Thirty-seven

I’ve never been good at chatting up women, in my head I think I’m really good, but the reality is I’m rubbish.

I was in a pub, once again panicking for a new daily task as time was rapidly passing, when a friend asked if I’d ever approached a stranger to ask for their phone number.  When I said no my friend reacted like he was The Fonz from Happy Days, claiming he gets numbers all the time and couldn’t believe I’d never done it. I had no way of telling if he was talking nonsense, I imagined he was, but I certainly knew I’d never been brave enough to do it.

I was quite nervous and also slightly concerned as the choice of women in the pub was very limited.  They were three French girls, possibly on a foreign exchange scheme, who appeared a little too young to be in the bar.  My French is below basic and also the fear of Operation Yew tree knocking on my door meant I left them alone.  There were two attractive women, both with their boyfriends of course.  There was my mate’s sister, which I was informed I couldn’t ask as that’d be cheating.  And, around a table in the far corner, there were three girls who seemed to be on their own, clearly they’d have to be my ‘target’.

I kept finding excuses not to go over.  I don’t know why I was so nervous, I have ‘chatted’ women up before – it’s a very British and slightly odd turn of phrase ‘chatted up’ – but I’ve never just approached a women in a bar and said something like “Hey Hot Lips, I like the cut of your jib, can I get your number?”, or whatever a true Casanova might say. I was unsure what was the worst that could happen to me, I guess only rejection, unless of course she was so repulsed by the idea she pulled out a ritual sword and committed ‘harry carry’ in the middle of the bar. Anyway I only had five minutes left so I went over, or rather I was dragged over by my friends

I started talking to one of the girls, I’ve forgotten her name already, in fact I forgot it at the time as I wasn’t really listening just thinking at some point, very soon, I’d have to say “Hey, it’s been real nice chatting to you, what’s your number? Perhaps we could meet up sometime, Vis-à-vis, you and me, one on one”, I kept thinking of the character David Brent from The Office and it was really putting me off.

She’d just finished doing a show in a theatre above the pub so we talked about that, which was easy, but I could never find a time to boldly state my flirtatious intentions.  The more she talked and the more I wasn’t listening, the more time ticked past until inevitably midnight came and went – too late. The bar closed, I said goodbye and we parted and I was disappointed I never managed to utter the simple sentence “can I have your number?”

In conclusion: I certainly haven’t found my ‘sparkle’ yet, but I have got three hundred and twenty-eight days to go, so no panic.

P.S. I’ve completed the course of JIA WEI XIAO YAO WAN pills the Chinese Medicine man gave me.  I haven’t noticed much difference, but I have felt quite lethargic recently and my wee has gone a funny colour.  I probably wouldn’t recommend them.

Dating, strangers, Uncategorized

…been on a blind date

Day 22Day Twenty-two

Very shortly into my quest to do something new each day my friend Mark asked if I’d ever had a blind date.  I’d never been on a date with a complete stranger, so I asked him to arrange one for me and immediately got the fear he was going to set me up with a man or some kind of farmyard animal.

Some of my friends are serial daters (they go on lots of dates, they don’t date serial killers) but I haven’t been on many, mainly because it tends to cost a fortune. People these days, particularly in London, seem to be into the internet dating scene yet I’m still not convinced that everyone on the internet isn’t a complete nut-bag.  Luckily I didn’t have to deal with the Worldwide Web (a computing term that seems to be less used these days) as my friend arranged it for me.

A week before the date Mark forwarded me a message with three questions from the mystery women, and at that point I was still hoping that it was a woman.  The questions were written in the style of the 1985-2003 British TV Classic Cilla Black’s Blind Date, and with a sense of nostalgia I answered in a similar spirit.  I was hoping to come across witty but may just have sounded like a knobhead, as most of the contestants used to on the TV programme.  Here are her questions and my answers:

Q. If you’re an ABBA fan, what song of theirs would best describe you?

A. The Winner Takes It All, because when I meet you I’ll feel like I’ve hit the jackpot

Q. If you could be a superhero, which would you be and why?

A. Tufty the Road Safety Squirrel (more 80’s nostalgia).  Technically not a superhero but you can’t underestimate the importance of road safety

Q. Which pizza topping is most like you?

A. Four Season’s pizza topping because I’d be there for you whatever the weather

Looking back at my answers now I must have just sounded like a knob.

I arranged to meet under the clock in Waterloo station and I was to wear a rose so she could identify me; an old-school dating cliché if ever there was one.  It turns out it’s quite hard to find a rose on Waterloo station when you’re running late, so I had to improvise and quickly bought a box of Cadbury’s Roses.

As I waited on the station concourse clutching the box of chocolates feeling relieved I’d just made it on time, I couldn’t really get away with being late as we were meeting under a giant timepiece, I suddenly thought what if she doesn’t turn up.  Luckily my blind date did turn up, and best of all it wasn’t a man, farmyard animal or indeed a blind person (not that there’s anything wrong with being blind but I may have waited a long time).

We strolled along the Christmas Market on the Southbank by the River Thames, a date idea Cilla Black would be very pleased with.  It was nice to spend an evening with a complete stranger, something I don’t normally do, and I could certainly see why people are into this whole dating thing.