Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

What a mess

The children are visiting at the moment.

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Yesterday Molly and I had matching pigtails.

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It was fun.

We also went swimming. When we went in the small kiddies pool, Molly said, “Oo, it feels warm and hot and nice. Like chocolate mousse.” Which is fair enough, I guess.

While everyone else was having fun and splashing about, I decided to go for a swim in the big pool. I didn’t have my goggles but I thought I’d just deal with it. It’s fine. No problem. Off I went, to the grown up pool and got in the lap lane and got my Olympic brain on and set off.

It was a disaster, people! It was a disaster. I started with breast stroke. My face went under so I closed my eyes and breathed out and when I came up, I opened my eyes but there was still lots of water on my face which went in my eyes so that hurt. And confused me. So the next time I went under, I closed my eyes too late. Which confused me further so I forgot to breathe out properly. The next time I came up, my eyes were stinging and I had loads of water in my nose and mouth.

I was a mess. I started to get all breathless cause I was breathing in and out all at the wrong time. My face was a mess cause my eyes were red and I was coughing and spluttering like an idiot. I was panting like an old person trying to climb stairs.

It was just all wrong. All wrong.

I’ll never get to the Brazil Olympics like this. I feel like I’ve really let myself down.

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Going au naturel

When I was living in Namibia, a friend who was super cool grew her body hair and didn’t shave and she was great. She was au naturel and I wanted to be just like her.

So I came back to England in winter and decided to be au naturel and cool. I had not thought about the fact that my friend was being au naturel in summer in Namibia. Because it was winter, I was wearing tights and leggings a lot. Tight things on your legs when your legs are waaaaaay hairy is itchy in the extreme! I was constantly shifting and fidgeting with my tights, itching and scratching. I started to get little red rashy bits where the hair had been pressed into a pair of tights at the wrong angle.

The armpits. Well, the armpits were a constant problem. I get hot much quicker than I get cold, anyway. So even though it was winter, I’d be sweating up a storm under my jumper. I was constantly showering to stop from getting too stinky.

It was all very awkward and complicated. Lots of itching and sweating. NOT what I’d signed up for! Why wasn’t I the picture of au naturel and coolness? Why weren’t girls looking at me and thinking how admirable it was that I was being true to my body and its natural form? But no, I was the sweaty itchy kid in the corner with leg rashes who dreamed of taking a razor to it all….

Eventually, I did it. I just did it. It felt great! I was smooth and fuss-free and happy.

So I’m sorry, world. I tried.

I tried. And I failed.

And now I swim. So there is no way I can be mega hairy and preparing for Brazil 2016. Everyone knows you need to be streamlined so you can go faster. Unfortunately that’s what it comes down to. So I have to follow my Olympic dreams and that’s just how it’s got to be. Alright?

Search terms 2

I’ve had a few interesting search terms recently so thought I’d do a second part to my previous Search Terms post. The last search term in this list worries me a bit, although I am pleased that people are stopping here to learn about social etiquette….

baobob
highgate bookshop roof
book maze festival hall lego
my first bikram
wealthymatters
london eye chairoplane
“unspoken rules if social etiquette”
first bikram class
yoga “notify me”
first hot yoga class
i ve made my first wedding cake
cows for brides
evil peppa pig
lasy son resit university
portmanteau words sandwich
gary barlow neighbour
smiking
bikram tickling legs
i can be a worst manager
is big mag cow or pig
all embracing naked photos on olympics
yggdrasil afghan for sale
preschool watermelon temple
renegade squats
sun glasses one direction in eygpt
national estimayed costs bird droppings
the emptiest swimming pool in sf
sexy peppa pig

As a P.S., I’ve tried checking whether big mag is a cow or a pig but the truth is, I may never know….

Sunglasses, longboats and One Direction…. Just another day in my mind…

I had quite a wierd dream last night. It was kind of a mishmash of stuff from the closing ceremony.

One Direction featured heavily, not sure why. My brother was doing something at the Olympics, like he was volunteering there or organising something. So I was going to see him or sneak in the park with him or something. But you got there by boat. So I was on a longboat in my sunglasses.

I know why I was in my sunglasses. Last night, a friend was dancing in the closing ceremony so I was keeping an eye out for her but I haven’t got very good eyes and didn’t have energy to go and look for my proper glasses. But my prescription sunglasses were just next to me. So I was sitting watching the TV, in a darkened room, at 9pm, with my sunglasses on, yelling and whooping every time I thought someone looked slightly like her.

I also think the longboat must have been the Annie Lennox bit of the closing ceremony.

So I’m in a longboat, wearing sunglasses going down a river to the Olympic Park. And One Direction were in the longboat too, sitting near me. And they were looking over at me and saying something to each other, as though I were a famous celebrity they were too shy to say hi to… (My true desires come out in my dreams apparently! Or maybe I just feel that’s the level of reverence with which people should be struck when I am around them.)

The next bit I remember clearly. It must be because when I was watching them in closing ceremony I was thinking about how young they looked.

Anyway, they were still looking at each other and then me. I think they were trying to work out whether I was looking at them as they couldn’t tell because of my sunglasses. I, cool as a cucumber, dropped my sunglasses down to the end of my nose so that they could see my eyes and said to them, “Guys, I’m 27.”

Shockingly, they all kind of went, “O! O really?…” And mumbled apologies, embarrassed. They then got on with looking at the view of the park from the boat and forgot I existed. One of them, though, the youngest looking one with the blond hair, kept looking back. But I didn’t drop my sunglasses down again.

And that was my slightly mental post-closing-ceremony dream.

I have concluded a few things:
1. Deep down inside, I obviously feel that I deserve celebrity status, or at the very least, for people to admire me more.
2. At the grand old age of 27, I already feel that ‘younguns’ will think I’m old.
3. I need to find my proper glasses.

Getting Excited, Being Sporty and Being Friendlier, all in one day!

Yesterday I went to watch the Olympic men’s 50k walking race. This encompassed the three things I’ve been making concerted efforts to do since my liberation from exams.

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It covered Getting Excited About Stuff. In fact, I think I might have been the most excited person there. Or maybe just the most supportive. Certain people would always get a cheer when they went past – the leading group of about ten walkers, the British guy and, since I found myself in the middle of the Irish contingent, the Irish guys. A group of Japanese supporters opposite cheered the Japanese competitors. Finland had a following who would cheer for their competitor. But there were about 60 people in the race. So that’s a lot of people not being cheered. I took up the cause on this one and clapped and wooped and bashed on the railing thingy to show support for e.g. the lone very tall Polish guy who would often be adjusting his shorts awkwardly as he passed so I was unsure whether to clap or leave him in silence to readjust, the extremely hairy Norwegian competitor whose shoulders looked like they were covered in carpet, the two Ukrainians who shared their water bottles every time they got one and the Latvian in a little crop top who stuck with them the whole time, the Portuguese guy who looked determined, if a little grumpy.

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All these people would pass by unnoticed by the crowd or, if noticed, not cheered. So I clapped extra hard for these people, risking serious hand injury. In my mind, they felt a bit deserted, unloved, appreciated the sound of someone supporting them. In actual fact, they were probably just thinking, omygoodness I’m so hot and thirsty, I really want to win, I wonder if I’ll catch up.

I got there bright and early, in my excitement, and found a spot at the front. It was a 1km stretch that they walked up and down to complete one lap of 2km. As the walk was 50km, they did 25 laps of the course. As they started to spread out, there was constantly someone passing by to watch so it kept the excitement levels high. And my hands constantly in action!

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Being at this event also kind of covered Being Sporty because it was the Olympics. So although I was not active myself, I was involved in a sporting event, sort of. Would you say that counts as being sporty? I would.

It also covered Being Friendly, as I was alone in a big crowd and so ended up chatting to loads of people. I had a fascinating discussion with one man about women being tested for testosterone levels to check if they’re too ‘manly’ to be allowed to compete. We wondered whether the men ever have to get tested for oestragen levels to check if they’re too ‘girly’.

Later I came home and finished a book. This is a big deal. I’ll tell you why.

Now that I’ve got Getting Excited, Being Sporty and Being Friendlier sorted, I need a new thing to try and I thought I might try Finishing All The Books I’m In The Middle Of. My main problem is that if I feel like reading, I want to read right now. I don’t want to go and dig around finding the book I was last reading. That might involve going all the way upstairs to my bedside table. I want one now, here, on the couch, downstairs. So I pick up a different book and start it. So I have a few real books I’m reading, two or three on my Kindle app on my phone, one on my actual Kindle and one on Audible.com. I need to streamline. Finish off all the ones I’m in the middle of and just have one or two.

This may be the hardest challenge yet. I have books I’ve been reading for over a year (The Innocent Man by John Grisham), some that I’m reluctant to finish because I love (the complete short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald), some that I keep losing (one about the history of Highgate in old photos) and some that I’ve forgotten the storyline of so will involve major backtracking (Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed).

This one may take a while. Wish me luck!

My feelings about the Olympics

The months prior to the Olympics

O, the Olympics are coming. That’s nice. I’m not that interested in them though.

 

The week before the Olympics

The Olympics are soon. I guess I’ll see the torch as it’s going to be near my house. That might be interesting.

 

The day the torch passed

I’m here nice and early. This will be nice, seeing the torch. Not that ‘excited’, as such. It will be nice though. Waiting. Waiting. I wish that tall man in front of me would crouch down or something. Is this it?! No, it’s the convoy…. This?! No, more motorbikes and buses. Lots of people dressed in blue dancing about as though they’re at an exercise class. Wait a minute! The torch is coming! THE TORCH IS COMING! I WANT TO SEE! ME! ME! THERE IT IS! I CAN SEE IT! THIS IS SOOOO EXCITING! I’M SO EXCITED! O, there it goes. That was brief. Feel a bit emotional.
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The day of the women’s cycling

Oo, I’ve got a day off. This will be nice. I’ll go and watch the women’s cycling. Ok, go and hang out with a sporty friend and some of his other sporty friends. Watching the race on TV. It’s quite gripping actually. Come on, ladies! Come on! Cycle faster! Ok, they’re getting close to us. Let’s go and watch them pass by then run back and watch them finish on TV. Off we go. O, there are more people than I thought there’d be. And there’s thunder and loads of rain. Right, found a good spot. Phone camera at the ready. The phone’s getting wet, o no! Stick it under these people’s umbrella. They look mildly annoyed that I have my phone under their umbrella. O well. There’s nothing I can do about it. I need to get a photo. Waiting. Waiting. Their umbrella is directing a stream of rain right down onto my head, over my eyes, down my t-shirt and onto my left shoes. I’m slowly getting drenched. But there are more important things to focus on here. Where are they? WHERE ARE THEY? O! Here they are! No, wait. It’s a policeman on a motorbike. Wait a minute. I can hear screams up ahead. They must be coming. Phone ready! A streak of colour! There they are. Click!
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Little pause. Then some more coming. Click!
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Ok, off we go back to the house to catch them finishing the race. We need to run if we’re going to make it. Wait a minute, Laura does not run. I DO NOW!! GO! GO! GO! My legs are hurting a bit. I’m a bit breathless. IT DOESN’T MATTER! KEEP RUNNING! RUN! RUN! RUN! OW! LEGS! OW! LUNGS! RUUUUUN! Made it. Can’t breathe. TV on! Woooooo! We got silver! WOOP! WOOP! I LOVE THE OLYMPICS.

The past week

Oo, there’s more Olympics on the TV. This is amazing. I love watching the Olympics. It’s so exciting. I’ve never watched discus so closely and been so enthralled by it. I can’t wait to go and watch the triathlon on Wednesday. Wait a minute…. It’s Tuesday… So why is BBC News telling me that the triathlon has been won by a British guy? I’m going to see it tomorrow! Aren’t I? Omygoodness. It’s not tomorrow, it’s today. And I had a day off. And I could have seen it. And I missed it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more gutted in my entire life. I want to see the Olympics. I WANT TO SEE THEM! NOW! ME! I’VE GOT TO GET TICKETS! Ok, online, check ticket availability. Tickets for diving. In shopping basket. Click ‘request tickets.’ No tickets left! NO! NO! NO! I WANT THEM! I WANT TO SEE OLYMPICS! I WANT TO SEE THE OLYMPICS MORE THAN I WANTED A MONKEY WHEN I WAS 11 AND ASKED FOR ONE FOR MY BIRTHDAY. And I wanted that pretty badly. THIS IS MORE! I WANT TICKETS TO THE OLYMPICS. I NEEEEED TICKETS. How about the Paralympics? Those would be good too. In fact, they’d be amazing. Think how much more impressive it would be. Tickets to wheelchair basketball. Request….. NO TICKETS! Damn. Ok. Try requesting tickets for the tennis…. Nothing. Cycling?…. No. I’LL CRY IF THIS KEEPS GOING! I’LL CRY! I WANT TICKETS! I WANT THEM! Try swimming…. Wait four minutes, it’s telling me. I don’t want to. I want them now! Wait…. wait….. YESSSSSSS! GOT A TICKET! YESSSS! Paralympic men’s swimming, here I come! Woooop! Woo! I can’t wait. This is so exciting. It’s so historical and right here in London. I’d be mad not to get involved. I can’t wait. This is the most excited I’ve ever been. EVER.

EVER.

 

Embracing London

A few days ago, if you remember, I said I was off to see a maze made out of books. So, on Tuesday, I set out on my mission. I also wanted to see an exhibition about the Olympics, a world arts and music exhibition, an underground pavilion and there was a walk around Hyde Park which looked good.

Off I went, London 2012 app at the ready, to have my day of fun. The info about the aMAZEme exhibition said it started at 8am. It was about 9.20am by the time I got to the Southbank Centre. For some reason, it has never occured to me to think which bit exactly was the Southbank Centre. I just thought it was the bit which was lit up different colours in the evening. But I was always seeing that from the other side of the river. So as I approached the buildings in that area, I thought something would become clear, a sign or something. I walked in.. and around… and up stairs… and down ramps… and took this photo of a massive baobob tree, whilst trying to work out which exact building was the right one.

It is made using material from all over the world as part of the Festival of the World exhibition

It was shortly after stalling for time taking these photos that I found an information board about the Southbank Centre. It turns out, it’s all of the buildings I was circling blindly. It’s not one building with a big sign on. Embarrassingly enough, I should know that. I’m really familiar with this area. My law school is a stone’s throw from here. O well. I worked out that I needed the Royal Festival Hall and made my way there.

It was now a little after 9.30am. So why were all the doors closed? You know when a building doesn’t look like it wants you to enter? That’s what this one looked like. But my faithful London 2012 app said it started at 8am, so there must be a door open somewhere. There must be. THE APP SAID IT! THE APP CAN’T BE WRONG! The app wouldn’t let me down… would it?

I saw a door to a cafe inside the building open because the chairs and tables were being brought outside. I made my way there and saw a security guard. When I asked him how to get inside he said, ‘The building doesn’t open until 10am.’

What?! Bewildered, I produced my trusty app and showed him. ‘But it says! It says here! On my London 2012 app! It says it will start at 8am….’

‘That must be wrong, we definitely don’t open til 10am. Sorry.’

O, London 2012 app. Our relationship, which has been one of much excitement and adoration, has suddenly hit rocky ground. I shall not speak to you for a short while.

So I had a dilemma. Stick around and wait for half an hour to see this, or skip to the next thing and then come back later? I had too much to cram into one day to be hanging around at the confusing Southbank Centre.

I left and crossed the Hungerford bridge over the Thames, heading toward Covent Garden. I love the shops in Covent Garden but I know what I’m like on a day out. I get that holiday mentality on. ‘O! You’re only on holiday once! Just buy it! Don’t worry about money on holiday!’ For this reason, I’m reluctant to let myself too near large shopping malls or markets on a day out. I passed through the main square and headed for the Royal Opera House at the opposite end. Here, my (untrustworthy) app told me, was an exhibition called The Olympic Journey, about the history of the Olympics.

I was ushered up a ramp and told by a young woman in a white cardy and a strange white-to-green faded skirt (I tried, and failed, to work out how it fitted with the Olympics) that her name was Laura (snap!) and she was going to take us on an Olympic Journey.

‘Great!’ I thought. ‘There’ll be so much cool Olympic stuff in here that I can take pics of, to show everyone on the blog, they’ll love a bit of that.’ You see? I’m always thinking about you, about how to keep you entertained. Just call me Selfless Laura.

Anyway, up the ramp I go, camera at the ready. Before the curtain is swept back to let everyone in, Laura Of The Strange Skirt says, ‘Just to remind everyone, there’s no photography allowed inside and no touching of the artefacts.’ FAIL! Big fat Olympic exhibition fail. Never mind.

I got a little booklet about afterwards with the stuff in, but it’s not the same, so I’ll just tell you the best bits. When we first entered, they had made a Greece room, in essence. There were olive trees and loads of info about how and when the games started. The most interesting fact I discovered in this bit was that the Greek word for naked is ‘gymnos,’ which is where the words ‘gymnastics’ and ‘gymnasium’ come from. This is because the competitors used to all be naked when the Olympics first started! Something about showing the unity between the body and the surrounding environment, or something.

Immediately my mind got to work. Imagine! Just imagine you’re there, on your chariot, ready to compete in the pentathlon or whatever, and your chariot falls apart or you get dragged off and hit the ground, naked. You’d be torn to pieces! After I imagined gruesome naked deaths and embarrassing naked wrestling, we were ushered into the next room, about how it came back to life in the late 1800s.

Pierre Coubotin started them up again because loads of countries had already been captivated by this idea of a sports competition like the Greeks had. He mobilised them all to have a worldwide one and it’s been going ever since.

There was a room which had one of all the torches that had been used. The Sydney one was quite cool, all new-agey. I liked the Rome one too and the Beijing one was pretty. Interesting fact from this room was that the idea to have a flame on the torch was first used in the Berlin games. Hitler came up with it! Presumably before then, the torch was just being carried along, as a symbolic thing. I also didn’t realise that when they held the games in Sydney, they used some amazing new technology flare thing, to swim the flame underwater to Australia!

In the last room there was a copy of a gold, silver and bronze medal from each of the games. The London 2012 ones look massive in comparison and, to be honest, like they’re made of plastic! Of course they’re the colours of gold etc, but because they’re quite big, they almost look like children’s toys.

In the same room were stories of 16 Olympians. I loved the story about the Ethiopian marathon runner, Abebe Bikila. Adidas were sponsoring the event and provided shoes for all the runners, but Abebe couldn’t find a pair to fit, so he ran barefoot, and won! They had a video of him running barefoot, way ahead of all the other runners. Amazing.

After this onslaught of amazingness, it was time to head back to the site of my earlier disappointment to find the book maze. As I entered the Royal Festival Hall, it was in a room to my right, which is completely open, down a few stairs. I feel like it suffered a bit due to this, because I entered from above it and could easily see the way to get to the middle and that it wasn’t as massive as I had initially thought it would be.

Look a bit more like a book sale than a book maze

Because the first layer of books was a waist height, it wasn’t really a maze, because I just looked where the path went. As I got further back, though, the walls got higher.

Once I had gone around this one bend, though, it took another ten seconds or so to get to the middle. While it was fun to be surrounded by so many books, the ‘maze’ part took me all of one minute to work out. I revelled in being around so many books and hung around for a bit longer, looking at them. There was a section of the low part, where a load of Braille books had been left open and there was someone reading them, which was quite a lovely thing to watch.

I headed to the Festival of the World exhibition next, just down some stairs from the book maze. The exhibition was all about educational innovations that have spread around the world and the result of some were on display. There was artwork from an amazing South American woman who lived on a rubbish heap in a slum but had used the plastic bottles to make artwork.

There was music from a Cuban orchestra, which I sat and listened to for a while. Then I came to a room which just had a photo booth in. It asked me to put 20p in and get my passport photos done, to become a citizen of the world! Yes, please! This sounded fun. I got my photos done, cut out the best one and walked into the next room, where someone handed me a blue Antarctica passport, someone else glued my photo in and I filled in my details and got a country stamp for Antarctica.

This is because they have open borders, so anyone can choose to become a citizen of Antarctica, if they choose! So I did. Quite exciting.

After this I headed back to Waterloo station and got the tube to Kensington, to the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. On the way to the park, I happened upon this fantastic free exhibition for the Travel Photograph of the Year, located in the main hall and gardens of the Royal Geographic Society.

When I got to the underground pavilion outside the Serpentine Gallery, it wasn’t what I was expecting. In fact, I’m not sure I knew what to expect. On the top was a large round plate thing, which had water in it, and underneath was a series of steps and stools and blocks, all made out of cork, where people were sitting and relaxing, chatting with friends. It seemed like a nice chill-out place but I didn’t stop because I had seen something near the gallery itself.

There is an exhibition by Yoko Ono and one of the things she had outside was a wish tree. I love reading these! Here are a few of my favourites from this one:

I wish I had more than one cat.

I wish someone else’s wish comes true (I don’t really need anything) x

I wish for a nice job, a nice place to live and a nice boyfriend.

I wish I was a superhero like Spiderman so I could shoot webs.

I wish you were on me.

I wish for no distance between us. I wish to be the girl of your dreams.

I wish life was not that hard.

I wish that I could have chocolate every day. Joe, 5 years.

I wish that Lego keep making good sets 🙂

07912413886. Call me and make me wish come true. Jordan x

I wish I had a pigg.

So after looking at the wish tree for ages, I remembered seeing something when I came in the gates of Hyde Park, so I went back that way and found the Africa Village. Exciting! I headed in, ready for an onslaught of Africa-ness and nostalgia. There were stands with each country’s name on. I set about finding the Namibia stand, to go and pretend I’m fluent in Afrikaans and see if they had any Namibia stuff I could take away with me. Some stands had food or little souvenirs. I looked… And I looked… And I looked. There was no Namibia stand! I searched around but it wasn’t that big so after a few minutes I realised there mustn’t be one, and left the village a bit disappointed.

At this point I thought about setting off on my historic walk around Kensington and was wondering whether my legs were maybe too tired for that. I’d been on my feet for a long time by this point. And that’s when I saw it….. The sign for Whole Foods…

Holiday head kicked in and I abandoned my proposed walk around the area, for a walk around Whole Foods. I grabbed a trolley (I should have known better!) and started putting one of everything in. Do I really need Malaysian chicken skewers?! Of course! And a swordfish steak? Seriously now! A swordfish steak? Don’t be ridiculous. O, but it’s holiday, just get it! Live a little. In went the swordfish steak. And the raw chocolate and goji berry bar. And the handcrafted smoked haddock fish cake. And the sundried tomatoes from the mountains of Italy. And the gently steamed spinach with shallots and garlic. Ridiculous.

After this, I slumped to the tube station in shame, stuffing my face with a chicken samosa and a roasted vegetable wrap, washed down with a swig of pure Fijian rainwater, gathered at dusk by dragonflies or something just as ridiculous, and felt equal measures of shame and smugness.

And in this way, my epic day of embracing London was ended.

 

P.S. The app and I are now friends again.