The one where Andy realises he has 1 month left to complete all the challenges

There are a number of reasons why I haven’t completed many of my challenges to date, now almost 11 months into the year and around 8 months since my last post.  This is co-incidently why it is on a different site – I lost the log-in or it expired or something.

Here are my reasons for lack of completion/blogging:

  1. As it turns out, buying your first house and moving jobs at the same time takes up a lot of your time.
  2. It also takes up rather a lot of your money
  3. My over-confidence with time remaining has quickly evaporated now I have realized I have only a month left until the big 2-6 years of age.

For these reasons, combined with my intrinsic nature of being a bit of a cheap skate (though I would prefer to think of it as “careful with money”), has led me to this,  namely, my attempt to mark off as many as my challenges as possible that can be done for free, with little to no effort, as quickly as possible.  In fact, most of them I completed in a single evening when I was particularly in the mood for, as the phrase goes “out of the box thinking”.

I hope this can also act as a sort of money saving inspiration board in this time of the squeezed working class, or the “cost of living crisis”. Maybe, if your friend, girlfriend or relative asks you for a “life-changing experience” similar to one of the following challenges I was set, you might be able replace your own challenge with an almost identical but much more affordable alternative.

I hope, at the very least, that the attempt I lay out here will make the post a little humorous for those that know me, or at the very very least an amicable read for those that may not.

p.s. There are a few challenges I have completed in a more “proper” way. These I’ll include in a later post sometime towards the middle of Jan.

Challenges Completed

#number2: Go to a music festival: I saw a folk band play in the park in Godalming, Surrey. They played in the bandstand. There were at least 50 people there (maybe 40), a bar, and a kid’s bouncy castle.

#number7: Make your own calendar, that features you in every month: This is a “print your own” calendar (can’t be bearing any upfront printing costs). If you are crazy enough to actually want to pay for it, please send £5 to your favorite charity, then send me the evidence, then it’ll be on it’s way via email or carrier pigeon within 3-14 working days. My personal favourite for this calendar is fire-man February, which I have also used for the cover…


A taster of what my 2015 calendar holds…


#number8: Complete a volunteer day: I actually went one better than this one and helped organise it too.  The event was a local sports day for kids in Hackney. By giving them an opportunity to try out new sports (i.e. not football) the hope is that more kids get into sport.  The benefits include but are not limited to self-confidence, leadership skills, health, community cohesion, and limiting anti-social behaviour including joining of gangs. This is a yearly joint event between UBS and SportsInspired, the latter is probably the more interesting read unless you have a thing for litigation charges.


#number9. Go to a hot yoga class: A hot yoga class sounds like a lot of effort, so instead I set it up in the comfort of my own home. I gave a quick blast on the central heating, and put on 6 layers of clothing so it ticks off “hot”.

I chose to master the Adho Mukha Svanasana in my first (and co-incidentally last) lesson.

Me doing hot yoga

Ladies, if you don’t think 3 jackets and 3 trousers is hot enough I’ll do one topless (10 requests minimum)


#number10: Go on a roller coaster 4 x in a row (i.e. in Chessington/Thope Park etc.): A quick trip to the app store and a free download of Roller Coaster Tycoon Mobile, and in no time my ‘avatar’ was doing 4 x virtual roller coaster-ing. If I had more time and money (and a house I wanted to sell, and a knack for carpentry, and basic knowledge of structural engineering) I would have done what this guy did.

mobile tycoon

This is in no way a cop-out


#number11: Apply and go on a TV show (and provide proof – NOT take me out!): My completion of this challenge probably wasn’t what the challenge setter had in mind, maybe they were imagining me getting punched in the balls by a wall of random boxing gloves then falling in the mud, or getting ironic remarks made about the sorry state of my soufflé, or losing £1 million through a hole by getting the name of the 3rd Reich of Cambodia wrong, or even winning 10p during that extremely long drawn out game of choosing a random numbered box (all the time waiting for the appearance of Mr Blobby that never seems to happen).
Instead I went on the audience of BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight. I wasn’t in the limelight all that much and my biggest contribution was refusing to get involved in the gunshow of the 17 year old public school boy team standing next to me.


Sarah looking guilty after smashing a £4,000 studio light with a drop-kick


#number12: Learn a new language: I highly doubt you remember my dubious reasoning from the last post, but basically I successfully argued myself into believing that learning a computer language counted. So though this is obviously an ongoing thing, and embarrassingly sparse at the minute, I can say this is completed as I have made my own basic website:

#number14: Do a tour of London and take a selfie in front of at least 5x London attractions: This is the challenge I am boldly claiming to have absolutely nailed. Those who know me well, know me to be a natural at selfies – but I’ll tell you now that it takes a lot of effort for a selfie to look effortless. All the below come from the quickest ever walking tour of London at around 2 hours on a Friday after work, no public transport involved. See the collection below if you want to be jealous (of me living in London and/or how natural I am in front of a camera).

The one in front of the Ministry of Defense actually led 2 passing officers to question me about why I was taking photos, in case I was a terrorist.


#number15: DJ at a party: At my recent houseparty, I played an electronic 80s set that literally blew everyone’s minds. No, it was NOT just me playing the Ministry Of Sound’s 3 CD collection. And yes, I do like Duran Duran’s classic anthem “Hungry Like The Wolf”.


#number17: Make a piece of furniture: After moving into my new house and buying the essentials there was only one vital item remaining. Check out this bad ass DIY conversion of an old kitchen counter top and spare bannister railings into a fully functioning, fully compliant with South Woolwich’s Under-26 Basement League Regulations, full sized, Beer Pong Table.  See it in action.

Beer pong table - the most vital piece of equipment for a basement

Beer pong table – the most vital piece of equipment for a basement

#number18:Build a house using the art of origami: After a vigorous internet search I fell in love with this sites slogan, “spreading joy one fold at a time”, lovely.  Have a go yourself!

My awesome origami house

My awesome origami house


#number21: Fly a plane: No specification in the challenge as to what type of plane, so I chose paper.

Now, so that this isn’t a complete cop-out, I built the one from a blog entitled “how to make the worlds best paper airplanes”.  I made the hammer (the most advanced one), and as a summary of what the Hammer is, the blog does pretty well, so no point me rehashing:

“The Hammer – While there are far more advanced paper airplanes, this one, in my opinion, is the perfect balance of complexity and accessibility for the Average Paper Airplane Joe… Pay attention with this one, folks, and the payoff is well worth it”

And boy was it worth it.

The Hammer - made from recycled material

The Hammer – made from recycled material


#number28 Do it ‘Gangnam style’ in your office:  Little random, and I thought it best from a personal brand/career progression point of view to not do this in the middle of the day, but here you go:

Challenges In Progress
#number 26 Buy your little sister something every week: TRANSLATE – bombarding my sister with free stuff every week:  More about this one next time…

#number5 Brew your own beer:  A vat of Young’s-esque bitter is bubbling away in my living room.  In 2-4 weeks time the fruit of my labour will be revealed, most likely as a very weak tasteless watery yeast drink, but hopefully as a horrible 8%+ rip-snorter.

Making beer

Making beer next to the BFG’s stirring paddle


#number19 Write and record a love song: I’ve bought a piano in an attempt to get the creative juices flowing.  So far I have taught myself a kids version of Bear Necessities and the first 2 bars of Moonlight Sonata.  I don’t think creativity is my strong point.

Random Muse

This weeks random muse comes from my favourite topic for musing, philosophy of science.  If you’ve heard of string theory (cue mass skipping to next section), you’ll know that the world is supposed to have 10 or more dimensions (or the maths doesn’t work).  But, I here you say, that can’t be true as I can’t even begin to conceive more than the 3 dimensions!  The 3 dimensions cover everything!  Or for the perceptive, 4 if you include time, but there are definitely no more than that…

A nice way to get around this problem is to imagine what would happen if you lived in a 2-D world.  You couldn’t conceive a 3rd dimension.  And this is where a curious short story written in 1884 comes into the picture.  A mix of a 2 dimensional world (flatland) and a properly Victorian class system makes for an interesting 30 minute read!

Flatland – A romance of many dimensions

Progress to date

Here is the full list of the challenges:

  1. Use a fire extinguisher
  2. Go to a music festival
  3. Complete a marathon
  4. Send someone flowers
  5. Brew your own beer
  6. Buy a piece of designer clothing
  7. Make your own calendar, that features you in every month
  8. Complete a volunteer day (i.e at a homeless shelter)
  9. Go to a hot yoga class
  10. Go on a roller-coaster 4 x in a row (i.e. in Chessington / Thorpe Park etc)
  11. Apply and go on a TV show (and provide proof – NOT take me out!)
  12. Learn a new language
  13. Bake a cake (chocolate one would be preferable)
  14. Do a tour of London and take a selfie infront of at least 5 x London attractions (i.e. London Eye, Houses of Parliament etc)
  15. DJ at a party
  16. Grow your own tomato plant (or some sort of vegetable / fruit)
  17. Make a piece of furniture (a table / chair, for example)
  18. Build a house using the art of origami
  19. Write and record a love song
  20. Go to a place abroad that you haven’t been before
  21. Fly a plane
  22. Complete a rubix cube
  23. You must go to Bounce for an evening
  24. Take a picture of anyone you see with a moustache. You need at least 5 in one week
  25. Make it to 26

#26 Buy your little sister something every week

#27 Go skydiving

#28 Do it ‘Gangnam style’ in your office

#29 Create a wall display using the art of mosaic


That’s All Folks!



3 thoughts on “The one where Andy realises he has 1 month left to complete all the challenges

  1. Enjoyed that little read a lot. Got me thinking I had better not leave it quite so long before I do a few more of my challengespragueysenior !!

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