Paralympic Tarts

After Olympic-fever comes Olympic-fatigue and then more Olympic-fever. I don’t know whether it was Team GB starting to win things, Bear being so excited by the whole thing or actually going to the Olympic Park and Stadium, but as the Olympics wore on I became totally involved. It stopped being about ticketing fiascos, cynical sponsors and ‘security’ and started being about the people it should have been about all the way through. The people who have given their lives for at least the past few years to achieving Olympic success. Then strange things were happening in our household. I was listening to 5-Live instead my usual Radio 4. I was the one switching on the telly to catch up with the day’s events and I was totally up-to-date with the medal table. (I didn’t manage to find out anything about Handball, but Rome wasn’t built in a day!)

So the Olympics was basically a load of athletes doing things that I can do, just fitter stronger and faster. I can run, ride a bike, swim and throw things! They just did it a whole lot better than I could. But the Paralympics is a totally different ball game. I need my own legs to run. I would drown with a missing limb. The idea of playing football without being able to see the ball is frankly terrifying. I will be watching athletes performing feats that are above and beyond my everyday ideas for what is possible. I can’t wait to have my mind stretched. Mr. Invisible, Bear and I have tickets for 5-a-side football and swimming. The Olympics was just to get the party started. This is the real event. We are going to be total Paralympic tarts!


After Olympic-Fever comes Olympic-Fatigue. Yep! I’ve officially had enough of the Olympics. I thought we might watch a highlights programme at the end of each day and perhaps listen to a few events on the radio. But no,  that’s not enough for my lot. All day every day, our telly has been tuned in to one or other of the BBC’s twenty four (yes twenty four!) Olympic channels. I’m a ‘telly for half an hour before bed and definitely not during the day’ sort of person so my stress levels are on the ceiling.

Time for some recovery. Dad wanted a bit of a lie in this morning so I made myself a gorgeous fresh coffee and whipped up some hot milk. I even made a cheerful heart pattern on top. Of course it went cold before I had the chance to drink it. Dad insisted on coming straight downstairs after his shower and then gave us a really hard time because it was too much effort for him. Then there was pandemonium while Bear and Mr. Invisible got themselves ready to go out. They are trekking across to Surrey to watch the Cycling Time Trials. Right now the house is peaceful. Dad is snoozing on the sofa. Dogford is at my feet and Catford is mincing about, but in an undemanding manner. I might even make myself another coffee and actually drink it this time.

Maybe by the time Bear and Mr. Invisible get back, I’ll be sufficiently recovered to do it all over again.

Oops! Actually that was yesterday and I was so exhausted when they got in, I forgot to post!!

Smaller World

It’s almost a week since my last post. And what a week! We had a holiday club for children (I was a volunteer), the Olympic Opening Ceremony (I was transfixed) and a Family Fun Day today (I was doing too many things!) It’s a struggle to do all this stuff with Dad. He was at Auntie’s until Thursday evening, and I was already done in! I should be getting up-to-date on my own jobs and re-charging my batteries a bit when he’s at Auntie’s. But this time last year he was walking to places and playing cricket with the kids, so I can hardly blame myself for having said yes to stuff. Without Mr. Invisible I couldn’t have done it. He helped Dad with the morning routine yesterday while I was at holiday club and again this morning when I was setting up the Fun Day. I think my world needs to shrink a bit.

Dad and Bear and I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we have been waiting years for it. Just as the seven young athletes were in position to light the copper petals, which would combine to form the Olympic cauldron, Dad decided he needed the loo. Between the walking frame and the stairlift, I managed to get the gist of what was happening. And in the modern age, there are plenty of opportunities to see it again. So remind me, why did I stay up for it? That it’s all happening just along the road might have something to do with it. I’ve never taken any notice of the Olympics before, but now I’ve got Olympic-coloured nails and am well on the way to getting the total fever! Actually I love it. I love the hype, the atmosphere, I love that Bear is so engaged with it. I love that I can’t go anywhere without seeing an Olympic cycling team in training or an Olympic volunteer on the way home from a shift.

Anyway, Bear is in my bed now. He woke up an hour ago wet with perspiration, hiding under the covers from the monsters. Where these monsters have come from I don’t know, but they are real to him. Mummy’s bed with the lamp on is the best place. Monsters wouldn’t dare go into Mummy’s room and they are definitely scared of the light. I hope he’s still there when I go to bed. I’m happy for my world to get smaller if I get to look after Dad, give Mr. Invisible a break and enjoy Bear.

Memories are made of this

We are all exhausted today. Yesterday was one of those sepia days. Our friend D carried the Olympic flame for 350 metres. 50 supporters chanted his name as the previous torch ‘kissed’ his and the flame was in his care for what must have been three minutes, maybe four before he passed it on to the next worthy soul.

It was long enough though. Long enough to lift the dreams, prayers and hopes of a whole community into the Olympics and beyond. To be honest, I’m not that interested in athletics. If it were only about sport, I probably wouldn’t bother. I might switch on the telly from time to time, or glance at the back pages, or maybe get really excited about something on the car radio, but not enough to listen to the end if I arrive at my destination before the race is over.

But yesterday was something else. Carrying the torch is nothing to do with sponsors or organisers or buildings. This is the bit that belongs to the people. Lots of little communities adding together to make a big one. D had his photo taken more times than a Hello-magazine bride. Everyone wanted a piece of him. We had one of those good old fashioned parties with buckets of drink, troughs of food and all kinds of people mixing together and having a fabulous time. There were people from beavers, cubs, scouts, from church, from work, family, friends, neighbours, friends of friends, children of friends, ex-lovers of friends. There were as many smiling faces as there were people and I bet there are a few sore heads today!

I’ve had enough of the sponsors and doom-mongers. It isn’t about them anymore. It’s time to consign it all to the small print. From here on, it’s about dreams, about inspirational people like D. It’s about a community that’s been getting ready for this for seven years, finally making it happen. Bring it on!

Architect of the Week

Bear received a set of wooden bricks for his first birthday from Grandma & Grandad. At first he could hold one, appreciate the texture and explore it with his mouth. The first time he put one on top of another, Mr. Invisible and I were very excited. He’s building, he’s building! We were jumping up and down.

They have to be his most-used toy. He probably wouldn’t rate them as his favourite. He’d probably choose some noisy piece of plastic that doesn’t often see the light of day. But he goes back to these wooden bricks time and again. He has built train stations, beds for his cuddly toys, castles, even a playground complete with ice cream van.

This afternoon he came up with an ‘Award Tower.’ His world is taken up with all things Olympic at the moment and it’s still almost three weeks to go! I dread to think how much more excited he can get. At the weekend he built an Olympic stadium with a portable toilet block for the ‘Teddy Bear Olympics.’ I am constantly amazed by his individual thoughts and ideas. I love that that he is a totally separate creative being. He’s definitely my Architect of the Week.


I’m finally excited about the Olympics again. I was excited in July 2005, when Dogford and I heard the announcement on the radio in our old kitchen (oh how my life has changed!) I was excited when the diggers moved in and the electricity pylons moved out. I was excited as Bear and I saw bits of Olympic Park take shape through the windows of the Docklands Light Railway. All those diggers, cement mixers and other complicated bits of machinery couldn’t have come at a better time for my young Bear.

My enthusiasm has been gradually chipped away by lots of niggly things. Firstly the sponsors. How are junk food, sweet chocolate and sugary soft-drinks supposed to ‘inspire young people through sport?’ Then there was the school-fayre fiasco, when schools and community groups were prevented from holding Olympic-themed summer fayres and fun days. I can understand that the sponsors don’t want to pay all that money for their competitors to cash in, but surely these events would foster enthusiasm for the Olympics across the nation? I’m not even going to mention the first round of ticket sales. Next up, the good people who were named as flame-bearers were asked to pay if they wanted to keep their torches. I’m actually excited about watching my friend carry the torch on the 22 July. Although I still don’t understand why it takes under 10 minutes to the Olympic Park by tube, but it’s going to take the flame 6 days to get there! I know that running is slower than the Central Line (most days), but come on!

There’s definitely a buzz now. The flags and bunting have started to go up and the final preparations are in progress. The car park at Westfield shopping centre is already closed for the duration (excellent news for our local High Street), we’ve finally been notified about road closures and lots of people have signed up to work for free just for the pleasure of making it happen. But why am I finally jumping up and down? Because our tickets arrived this morning, so Mr. Invisible, Bear and I are going to be part of it.