Before my 50th birthday, a friend set me a challenge: let the big day be the trigger for doing fifty things I’d never done before. Two years on, I’ve completed the list!

It sounded daunting, but I decided not to interpret the brief as meaning ‘fifty massively exciting or scary things,’ like skydiving or hitch-hiking around the world. I started simply, by ordering a bottle of lager with my next curry. (Yes, I’ve led a sheltered life.)

Deliberately choosing new types of food and drink was an easy way of clocking up a few of the fifty – buying pistachio nuts instead of cashews, and trying foods I didn’t expect to enjoy, like figs and curly kale.

Others needed a little more planning, such as booking a lesson on the harp, or setting the alarm for 2.00 am on an August morning to look out for the Perseid meteor shower!

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