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.



Crime, Uncategorized

…witnessed a high profile case at The Old Bailey (and had a good old stare at the accused)

ImageDay Eleven

There’s lots that you’re entitled to do in Britain that I really didn’t realise that you could do, one of them is the entitlement to have a good old gawp at a murderer or pervert as they’re sentence to a lifetime in the slammer.  Admittedly it’s a weird thing to do but it’s free and you’re entitled to do it, and I guess once you’re exhausted of visiting the science or history museums what else is there to do?

To enter the public viewing galleries of London’s central criminal court the Old Bailey you don’t go through the grand entrance you see on the news but through a side entrance, a rather grotty looking side entrance in a subway, a subway where tramps and drug abusers would probably fit right in. There were ‘youths’ hanging outside the entrance to the viewing galleries and as I passed them I overhead one say “All my dayz did yo hear wat dat judge waz saying ’bout me”, or something along those lines. I felt I was certainly entering the world of crime. A world I really don’t know much about.

The first ‘crime’ I committed, I haven’t committed many, was when I was on a school trip to an art gallery.  I remember after the tour around the gallery, which frankly no child is really interested in but getting out of double maths is always a bonus, we visited the souvenir shop – the highlight of any school trip.  With great thought and consideration I decided to buy with my pocket money some sweets from the Pick ‘n’ Mix confectionary stand in the shop. As I waited in the long queue of school children eager to pay for their rectangle shaped pencil eraser with the art gallery’s logo printed on the top, or their novelty art gallery notebook with comedy googly eyes attached to the front, I found myself in a bit of a daze thinking of how great it was to be missing double maths (I got an E in GCSE maths – useless). As I daydreamed, standing in the queue, I unconsciously started eating from the open bag of sweets in my hand. By the time I was one school child away from reaching the souvenir shop counter I abruptly awoke from my wandering mind to realise, to my dismay, I’d eaten all the Pick ‘n’ Mix before I’d even paid for them.  For some reason in my weird little child head I thought I’d be arrested so panicked and made a bizarre choice to run out of the shop. Nobody noticed or probably cared, but from the day on I could officially be classed as criminal (this of course doesn’t included all the drugs and prostitutes I’ve had since.  I jest. Or do I? No, honestly I’m joking!)

I was hoping on my visit to the Old Bailey to witness a criminal trial that was a bit more exciting than the case of the stolen Pick ‘n’ Mix.  A juicy murder or at least a good old bank robbery would have done, but it seemed by pure luck on the day I visited the Old Bailey I’d stuck gold – the trial of Rebekah Brookes and News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Before I entered the criminal court I was expecting to witness scenes like those in films such as A Few Good Men or Twelve Angry Men, or any other court room based drama with the word men in the title.  I was hoping for doors slamming open as somebody looking like Danny DeVito rushes in with last minute verdict changing evidence that had only just been found, or men shouting “Objection” and “Overruled” at each other.  The reality of a court of law is it’s actually quite boring, but surprisingly modern.

Lots of men and women were sat behind desks wearing those funny wigs. I really don’t know the history behind the wigs they wear in court, but I’m not sure how you’re supposed to take anyone seriously with a small section of carpet plonked on their head.  Everyone had laptops, ipads and smartphones.  Technology everywhere.  The jury really did look like a fair cross section of British society; the law professionals not so much.  Sat in front of me was the accused, Rebekah Brookes, former editor of the News of the World and whom I recognised off the telly.  She was charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, and had now become an unintentionally celebrity.

I stared at Rebekah Brookes for a long time.  I pondered what possibly could be going through her head.  Was the same fears and panic running through her mind, as ran through mine the day I fled the souvenir shop with stolen sweets guiltily dissolving in my belly?  No, she didn’t seem bothered at all.  In fact she was texting somebody on her phone.  I then noticed everyone was texting on their phones or looking on the internet or frankly were quite bored.

It seems to me the problem with court is everything’s done so meticulously that it takes ages to do, and consequently didn’t offer the entertainment I was hoping for.  I watched for about forty-five minutes and had absolutely no idea what was going on.  I looked at the jury, made up of what seemed to be average people like me, and wondered how they all kept up with what was happening.  I thought to myself I hope I don’t ever get called up for jury service because I might just bugger it up.

In summary: It was nice to experience how a courtroom works, but I just hope my crimes as a ten year old don’t catch up on me and I end up on the other side.