We Englishman seldom express a gregarious bent with physical expression, but my modern friend, Caspar Berry clapped me on the shoulder this week, when I mused out loud on all the things I’d done for the first time this year:

Presented a radio show without guests;
Written for the News Quiz;
Compèred a comedy evening;
Gone scuba diving;
Turned down a ‘safe’ (but boring and backward-looking) job;
Eaten frogs’ legs;
Listened exclusively to a single Tom Jones CD for an entire fortnight.

Caspar is a motivating sort of person, which is just as well because his day job is as a motivational speaker. (I presume by night he fights crime.) but even he was impressed by some of these milestones, not least the Tom Jones one.

There is a tendency for us to stick to what we know. You still find the occasional Indian restaurant with a page of omelettes and roast chicken for the chronically unadventurous. Yet there is something glorious about trying something new, doing something different, covering new ground, as my father discovered this week when he tried his first wasabi pea. He pronounced it ‘weird’ even as he took another… But then he has, like me, a mild addiction to mustard and horseradish, so I thought it was a pretty sure bet.

We have a choice between fencing in what we know, or to boldly sail on uncharted waters. To mix metaphors and split infinitives. Or as Tom might say, to strike… like thun-der-baaaaaaahhhhhllll.

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