Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth

What a weekend of firsts - apart from Mark Cavendish in the road race of course.

It all kicked off on Friday by watching the Opening Ceremony along with 26 million other people. Now, I love Only Fools and Horses but isn't it funny that that is the only programme ever to have had more viewers with 27 million for an episode in the 90s. I've never bothered watching an opening ceremony before - but they were never in my home country but I'm so glad we couldn't get a babysitter on Friday. It was one of the best evenings of televisual viewing pleasure since I watched 4 episodes of The Wire in one go. I shall have to restrict my highlights to top 5 as they're too numerous to mention:

Good Evening Mr Bond

  • The Queen making her acting debut with everyone's favourite Bond
  • Rowan Atkinson's spoof Chariots of Fire
  • David Beckham's arrival with the torch by speedboat
  • The French team carrying Union Jacks - but I suppose London is France's 5th city.
  • The cauldron - nuff said. V clever.
  • A trip through British musical history because, let's face it, we are the best.
I know, that's 6


  • Why or why were all announcements made in French before English? I know we've just established London is France's 5th city but it's England's FIRST city. And anyway, no-one speaks French apart from the French and people from Martinique.
  • Macca - I love Paul McCartney but really......Hey Jude? It could at least have been "Here comes the Sun" or "A Hard Day's Night"
So, as we moved from our bottle of champagne onto a bottle of red (historic British events call for Olympic drinking which is what the rest of the world think we're great at), the teams started their long march around the stadium. Christ, how many countries beginning with "A" are there? We were almost onto our third bottle by the time the mighty force that is the Bangladesh team of 5 came on. Anyway, Learnt some very interesting facts about the various countries and I'm a girl who likes facts. Such as , Bhutan were the last country in the world to receive TV and that was in 1999. Brunei and Qatar are including women in their teams for the first time. Botswana is the largest producer of diamonds and Bolivia the highest and most isolated country. The Bs are far more interesting than the As clearly. Nauru has only 2 team members but I have no idea where it is. And Djabouti - learned absolutely nothing interesting about that.

I think it would be far more enjoyable to watch each nation compete in its opening ceremony costume. There were some corkers. Team USA looked resplendent in their Ralph Lauren designed British Airways cabin crew uniforms and the Czech Republic took the piss out of our climate wearing wellies. The Kiwis would find sprinting difficult in pointy trainers (no offence to all my kiwi friends and family) but the biggest disappointment of all was our own outfit. Normally the nation  of refinement and understatement, our costumes could have been confused with the one Elvis Presley may have worn as he munched on a peanut butter and jam sandwich before breathing is last on the toilet.

"You can find your lifejackets under
your seats"
2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
Rain Rain go away, come again
another day, not in London grey and dark
but in warm and sunny Prague.
The Associated Press
Chris Hoy - well known Elvis impersonator and national Olympic hero
Anyway, the whole thing was incredible. Having gone to bed at 1.30am and having consumed an Olympic swimming pool of wine, I got up early on Saturday to fulfill my own Olympic feat - taking a 5 year old to a sporting event. I had thought of going on my own but couldn't face the guilt I would feel ten years down the line when he berates me for depriving him of what would potentially, and most likely, be his only ever experience of the games. I panicked, took the portable DVD player, upgraded to weekend First Class on the train so I could avail myself of the plug socket and keep it charged for the mercilessly long 2 hour journey and bought him 3 magazines in case he was still bored and wanted to talk to me, god forbid. The day before I had suggested we take colouring crayons for the journey to which he had replied "Ok mummy, good idea, but just for the train. I won't colour at the gymnastics because then you'll ask me what I enjoyed most and I'll have to say I don't know because I was too busy colouring to watch anything". At least he's honest so I left them behind. He surprised me and was an angel until an hour into the gymnastics when he kicked the Japanese lady in front of us in the head (accidentally of course - he's basically a nice boy) and announced loudly during a lull in proceedings "I'm bored now - when can we go on the underground train?". Thank god for the nice couple next to us who gave him an ipod to play games on so I could ogle Team USA in their tight leotards for the rest of the session.

And so we made our long and winding way home stopping off for a packet of ham and a bag of chocolate fingers for him (I had lost the will to try and make him eat normal things) and a much needed can of Marks and Spencers Mojito for me. Believe me, despite the hangover, I needed one by then.

Last night I slept for 11 hours I was so mentally and physically drained. When our next door neighbour asked The Monkey this morning which part of yesterday he liked the most, thankfully he claimed the gymnastics, despite looking like he was having knitting needles stuck in his eyes for most of it. It made the 95 quid a ticket and the 12.99 stuffed Mandeville that I had to buy him at Waterloo Station all worth while. Perhaps one day, when he's a champion vaulter, he'll remember the great service I did by inflicting two hours of sheer boredom on him and thank me for being such a wonderful mother. Maybe not.

Today I did my last run of the week bring my total up to 29km since Tuesday. I've just spent the evening watching the swimming and I cannot believe that those guys experience more pain than I do when I run to the organic farm and back.  Next week I shall have to up my game to 30k.

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