The Bucket List

I'm not one of those people who made a Bucket List early on in life then ticked them off one by one. But looking back now, I've had a few amazing experiences, which I'm now going to consider bucket list experiences. Here they are, with a few others that I'll aim to fulfill in the years to come.  

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West Brom win at Wembley

30th May, 1993. Wembley Stadium, London, UK.

If you choose to support a big club, you may get to do this every few years, or even every year. But if your hometown club chooses you, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As it happens, this has been our only win in my lifetime, and I was there. I look back on my decision to go, without a ticket and with just 40 quid in my pocket, as a risky one. But one of those decisions that you look back and know you got it absolutely right.

I bought my ticket off a tout, without even checking what end it was in, but was relieved when I ended up in the Albion end, behind the tunnel. Nil-nil at half-time, it was a nerve-wracking second half, but the task was made easier when Vale had a man sent off around the hour mark. We kept the pressure on and eventually scored three great goals to seal the victory and Albion's only Wembley win in the last 50 years.

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Last Night of The Proms

10th September, 1994. Royal Albert Hall, London, UK.

I'd never been to The Proms before the 100th Season in 1994, and I've never been back since. I think I went a couple of times during the season, and even took my London-based Granny on one occasion. To get tickets to the Last Night, you're supposed to have been to at least five previous nights, but we had some inside help and managed to get in. Admittedly, the whole occasion is a little eccentric, but a lot of harmless fun. Despite not knowing most of the words, I sang most of the songs and I even managed to get on TV. I tracked down the DVD years later as a life-long reminder.

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Pink Floyd Live

October 1994. Earls Court, London, UK.

I can't say the concert blew me away, but it was Pink Floyd and it turned out to be one of the last concerts they ever performed. I bought the tickets and my brother and I enjoyed a couple of pints before the concert. The set-list alone should do most of the talking, and many of the songs from that night ended up on the Pulse live album.

  1.  Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)

  2. Learning to Fly

  3. High Hopes

  4. Take It Back

  5. Coming Back to Life

  6. Sorrow

  7. Keep Talking

  8. Another Brick in the Wall Part 2

  9. One of These Days

  10. The Dark Side of the Moon

  11. Speak to Me

  12. Breathe

  13. On the Run

  14. Time

  15. Breathe (Reprise)

  16. The Great Gig in the Sky

  17. Money

  18. Us and Them

  19. Any Colour You Like

  20. Brain Damage

  21. Eclipse

  22. Wish You Were Here

  23. Comfortably Numb

  24. Run Like Hell 

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Parachute Jump over British Hong Kong

June 1997. Sek Kong Airfield, Hong Kong.

I certainly didn't plan this in advance, but when the chance came, I literally jumped at it and became one of the last ever first-time jumpers over British Kong Kong. My boss suggested it and I tagged along for the day-trip from Macau to Sek Kong Airfield in the depths of Hong Kong.

 

It was an actual certification day that we opted for, so we learned how to pack a parachute, how to jump and of course, how to land. As the day wore on, the weather started to turn, and the chances of us jumping started to decrease. But we finally got the go ahead and I think there were 3-4 of us in the Cessna as it ascended to 3000-ft for our static line jump. Upon the 'go' signal, I was first up, and stepped out of the plane door, onto the platform and gripped the strut underneath the wing as the ferocious wind battered me. I can't remember what we had to say and we jumped, but once I released, it was a chaotic few seconds before I was upright again and commenced my gradual floating to the ground. I adjusted my toggles as per my training and managed to work myself towards the airfield for a perfect landing. 'Good all the way' was the verdict - it all went very smoothly.

 

Back in the mess, we rang the bell for first time jumpers and bought a drink for everyone there that day, before heading back to Macau via a few more celebratory drinks in Wan Chai and Lan Kwai Fong.

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The Handover

June 30th, 1997. Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong.

A day I look back on with a sense of sadness, but I'm glad I was there to enjoy the last few moments of British Hong Kong.

© 2019 by Giles Leonard

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Contact: giles22leonard@gmail.com