Alexander very kindly bought me a book for Christmas - "1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die". It is the kind of book I like to read in the morning as I drink my morning cuppa and munch my Kit-Kat (am I the only person who finds that it has to be novels at bedtime and non-fiction at dawn?). The book ticks all the boxes for a morning book : short, self-contained pieces, plenty of photographs, rich subject matter. However, I have to confess, I am finding the book slightly depressing. So far I have got to page 52 - and there are either one or two sites per page - and I have not got to one place I have actually visited. This leaves an awful lot to do in a very few years.
I have to confess, that this morning I cheated, flicking quickly through the coming pages until I found a site I had visited. Not until page 134 will you come across a place I have actually been to (the Panama Canal). Based on a rough statistical calculation, even if luck and good health is on my side, I am going to have to tick off historical sites at a rate of one a week to be able to die in the knowledge that I have done my duty. The depressing thing is that as time goes by, and historic sites are left unvisited, the average goes up at an alarming rate rather like the runs-per-over average in a fading test match.
On the strength of this depressing prediction I have decided to do something about it and we have therefore booked a second cruise. Not only will I be able to tick off places such as Split and Corfu in the summer, I will be able to chalk up a host a Central American cities next January as well. One of the most exciting things about the new cruise we have booked is that it will take me to the Pacific for the first time - thus helping out with the far more realistic "5 Oceans To See Before You Die". But in these cold, dismal days of January, a far nicer thought, and a far more tempting challlenge, is "101 Cruises To Take Before You Die".