As I begin this prose I’m taking temporary residence in a Costa coffee house in the White Rose Shopping Centre. My OCD being severely tested by having to utilise a different cafe than normal due to flooding at my usual eatery. Circumstances that’ve led to feelings of angst, an outbreak of hives and a desire to buy cheesecake.

Yesterday during a conversation with an acquaintance***, in a tete-a-tete about my summer breaks to Scotland, Wales and Canada, he submitted “You can’t have many things left on your bucket list, Gaz!”

*** Who for the sake of anonymity I’ll call Bert Creme D’Menthe”

Without hesitation, I firmly countered “You’re joking aren’t you, Bert!…… I’ve got loads of things I want to experience before leaving this vale of tears.”

“Really?!!” my buddy questioned with surprise. Prior to him adding “Oh, and why you calling me Bert?!”

“Yes, there’re many things I still have aspiration of achieving before I pop off this mortal coil.” I re-iterated.

“Such as?!” Creme D’Menthe enquired inquisitively in his broad Yorkshire dialect.

“Well for one thing I’ve aspirations of one day owning a dress shirt with epaulets!” I informed my rotund buddy.

“Really??!!…….. Epaulets on shirts are really old fashioned!” Bert advised.

To my bewilderment, this idiosyncratic chum appeared to have appointed himself as my personal dresser. Bearing in mind he ordinarily shops for threads at Crossgates library ‘Lost Property’ section, a move which baffled me.

Not wanting to appear out of vogue, I responded “Ok then I’ll get a pair of slacks adorning epaulets.”……. A decent enough compromise; or so I thought.

“No, Gaz!!… Those cotton and button clothing adornments are ‘so last year’ on any item of clothing!” I was further enlightened by my Stella McCartney wannabe buddy,

“What, even socks?!” I questioned; seeking to fill my fashion knowledge voids.

“Yes!” Bert assured me firmly.

“Well Bert, it appears I’ll have to wait until they’re back in fashion to fulfilling this particular aspiration!” yours truly conceded.

“I’d recommend that…… And stop calling me Bert!” Creme D’Menthe barked.

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Of course, the epaulet dream isn’t genuine, however yours truly does retain some serious bucket list aspirations. For instance, I’d like to cruise off the Alaskan coast, own a lodge on the banks of Loch Lomond paid for by a successful creative project of sort and write a whimsical book called Bed Time Story For Dogs…… Oh and not forgetting my hope epaulets once again become en vogue.

As I commence this particular paragraph the Rugby Union World Cup plays out on the TV in front of me. England contesting the spoils against South Africa. Attempting to evoke creative thoughts while anxiously watching my nation compete to become rugby world champions a challenge.

England currently struggling against the Springboks who’ve just gone into half-time with a 12-6 lead. The English habitually conceding penalties through not being able to get to grips with South African in the scrum. Sadly for my nation the South African’s rugby shirts not containing epaulets to grab hold of to assist their scrummaging stability.

Right the second half is just about to start….. Come On England!!!!