Harriet Grace thinking ‘bucket lists’

Every time I interview people for ‘Blink and you’ll miss it’ I find myself becoming very enthusiastic about the challenges that are still available to us, whatever our age. (Left, yes, it’s me!).

Harriet Grace is a glowing example of someone who is determined to grab every opportunity with both hands. She kindly took time out from a trip to answer some of the questions I put to her about what she’d like to do before she ‘blinked and missed it’.

Harriet thank you very much for taking part in this feature. You have a list of questions in front of you and I hope you can answer some of them.


Firstly, have you ever written a bucket list?

No… and I’m approaching it with trepidation!  How can I stop the list being self-indulgent, embarrassingly personal, or just plain boring… And who cares really, except me… and I’m wondering if I do.  But they are good questions, and maybe they need to be thought about – and answered even.  So here goes…

I hope this isn’t too morbid a question but what would you wish you could do before you die?

  • Have made sure I have left a legacy –  a good enough, honest enough, brave enough model to make my ‘nearest and dearest’ be encouraged – empowered even! – to live life to the full, be generous, kind, creative, joyful, outspoken if necessary , but realistic about life’s hardships and difficulties and have strength to deal with those!
  • Not to have lost my mind (my father had Alzheimers) so I can keep communicating, learning, being heard, laughing, crying right up to the end.
  • Have finished my next novel and have people reading and enjoying it.
  • Keep working on something meaningful until I drop dead.
  • Be surrounded by those I love.


What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?

  • Make sure my children, step-children, grandchildren, and friends are financially secure – live where they want to, travel where they want to, do what they want to –  and not be held back, have the education they need etc.  Give them time and any resources I have, if they want it, but feel okay if they don’t!
  • Travel round the world with my husband, first class by air, train or boat, spending enough time in different places to meet new people and understand the culture and environment, and only move on when I feel ready.  Invite family and friends to join me in different places.
  • Spend lots more time in France and improve my rusting French.
  • Take expensive courses and not worry about earning any money from them e.g. philosophy, psycho-analysis, life drawing, history.  Attend master classes with 21st century novelists (Rose Tremain, Marilynne Robinson, Salman Rushdie, William Boyd, Ian McEwan, Justin Cartwright etc.)
  • Give and get involved in worthwhile charities – working abroad, e.g. with Africans using my counselling/coaching skills to help them help themselves.


What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?

I’ve written several novels, and self published ‘Cells’ with the wonderful SilverWood Books and I’m very happy with that… BUT I would like to have a novel accepted and published by a mainstream publisher so that it reaches a wide national and international audience.

Are there any countries, places or locations you want to visit?

  • Interesting cities that have histories that help me understand the world a little better – Rio de Janeiro, Delhi, Berlin, Vienna, St Petersburg, Dublin, Istanbul, Rangoon, Sydney etc. etc…
  • Beautiful places and sights – the northern lights, Zanzibar, New Zealand’s South Island, Ayers Rock, Kashmir – if it’s safe enough, Kerala, rural Spain, west coast of Ireland, etc…    but now sadly not the Scilly Isles because they’ve stopped the helicopter from Penzance and it wouldn’t be the same going by boat!


What are your biggest goals and dreams?

  • To have written my next novel and get it accepted by a mainstream publisher (see above)
  • To write a history of my family from my earliest memories, based around food I remember and recipes.  Accompanied, possibly, by small water-colour pictures!  This could involve travelling to Moscow, Estonia, Boston and Alexandria in Egypt.
  • Travel round the world ‘wild swimming’ in beautiful natural water or sea, and invite my daughter who lives in Los Angeles and who is as mad about swimming as I am, and any other members of my family or friends to join me where and when they want to.


What do you want to see in person?

  • That my children, step-children and grandchildren are emotionally and intellectually happy, find the right occupation, achieve it to their full potential, and have lots more to strive for and achieve
  • More grandchildren!
  • The places and locations I want to visit – see above.
  • Politicians arguing in the House of Commons at Question Time.

What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?

  • Be able to write in different genres
  • To get better at drawing/painting
  • Get better at research


Are there any specific people you want to meet in person?

  • My paternal grandparents who died 20 and 14 years before I was born.  My grandfather was a maths scholar and wrote a Maths Primer… and I’m hopeless at maths…  what happened to that gene, I want to ask?  He started a prep school.  My grandmother was wonderful with children, apparently… is that where I get my people skills from?   They both loved books and were very religious.
  • My maternal great great grandfather and family who was German and built cotton mills in Estonia and Russian in the 19th century, employed freed serfs in a co-operative arrangement, was philanthropic,  made a huge amount of money, died in 1894, and then everything was lost in the Russian Revolution
  • George Eliot, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire (inspired by the book rather than the film!), Jesus, Socrates, Aristotle + masses of other dead people
  • Rose Tremain – a brilliant writer and intelligent, sensitive woman.  She taught on the University of East Anglia MA course in creative writing.  I saw her at a reading and spoke to her afterwards.  She treated every question so intelligently, and having just read ‘Trespass’ I have masses of questions to ask her about writing!
  • Nelson Mandela, Jung, Winston Churchill, Germaine Greer??

What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning?

Work with what I think is important – words and people.  Give rather then receive.  Keep learning.  Keep being able to concentrate and feel absorbed in whatever I do.  Keep journeying, never arrive.  Feel useful.  Be there for other people.  Know myself enough to know if I’m doing harm to others or myself, and go and seek help – therapeutic probably.  Be strong enough and clear enough about my own identity and what is important.


Bucket List can sound a little morbid. What would you call your bucket list?

All aboard for the holy grail… ?


Harriet, thank you very much for taking part today.  I have been fascinated by some of your answers and I am intrigued about wild swimming. That sounds like a very exciting challenge. Maybe I could encourage Hubby to take it up. It would certainly keep him out my hair for a while!

Find out more about Harriet:

Amazon.co.uk (BUY) UK: http://amzn.to/LsdXvV
Amazon.com (BUY) US: http://amzn.to/zTZ0XD
Publisher – SilverWood Books: http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/product/9781906236618/cells
loveahappyending.com author page: http://loveahappyending.co.uk/harriet-grace/
Author Website: http://www.harrietgrace.co.uk/Harriet_Grace/Home.html 
Twitter A/c @Harrietgrace65:  https://twitter.com/#!/Harrietgrace65
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752268153


Find out more about Carol and her novels:-

Author page
Author website: http://www.carolewyer.co.uk
Facebook Page: Carol E Wyer
Twitter: @carolewyer



Please leave a comment

  1. Christina James Says:

    Consideration for others shines out of this. A very uplifting read. Thank you both.

  2. Ali B Says:

    A very thoughtful and inspiring post, Harriet. and I’m also a huge fan of Rose Tremain. ‘Restoration’ inspired me – indirectly – to write my first novel. ‘The Road Home’ is my most recent favourite. I so admire authors who can produce very different kinds of fiction.
    Ali B

  3. Harriet Grace Says:

    Thank you Ali B and Christina,, AND Carol for inviting me on Bucket List journey. It made me really think…. and I finished it feeling very lucky and happy. Ali…. yes, Rose Tremain is an amazing writer AND she looks wonderful too!!! Harriet x

  4. Debbie Young Says:

    Wow, awesome list – you’re going to be busy to fit all that in, Harriet, even if you live to 100 and more! Tricky questions, thoughtful answers, fun to read and to think about my own…

  5. Sheryl Browne Says:

    Love this! As Ali says, thoughtful and inspiring. Life is all about the journey. Too often we are are so desperate to arrive ‘wherever’ that we forget to smell the roses. Here’s to us and those we love fulfilling our potential! 🙂 xx

  6. Harriet Grace Says:

    Thanks Debbie and Sheryl for the lovely comments – yeah… well I fit it all in…. phew…. 🙂

  7. Alison Morton Says:

    What a thoughtful list!

    You’ve inspired me to start gathering one of my own and I think travel would also feature prominently.
    You are obviously a very caring parent and grandparent. Lucky family to have you!

  8. Janice Horton Says:

    A thoughful and thought provoking list, Harriet. I really enjoyed reading this post and feel inspired by it too. I wish you every success in achieving all the achievable parts of your ‘Holy Grail’.

  9. Harriet Grace Says:

    Thanks, Alison and Janice. Good luck with yours!

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