I was planning to go down to Kent and see my mother this weekend; I haven’t been over there for a couple of months. But I’ve had a nasty upset stomach, and she’s had a nasty upset stomach, and neither of us feels very lively at the moment, or entirely confident that we won’t simply exchange upset stomachs if we meet up, and both feel ill again next week as a result. So I’ve called the visit off. I’m due down at the end of the month for her birthday, anyway.
So, unexpectedly, I have a weekend to myself. I know people who would rush around frantically trying to find things to do and people to do them with. Not me; I’ll be fine on my own. I like a bit of solitary down-time now and then, after all. Witness my annual May-time escape to swim in the Aegean and walk in maquis-covered hills, and eat too much, in Greece.
I’m going to try and restrain the urge to sit and watch the last of the Olympics; there’s more to life than wall-to-wall TV. I will probably have a walk here at Kew, and enjoy the summer weather that has, so blessedly, returned for a spell. I’ll have to do some grocery shopping and clothes-washing, of course. But then can settle with my little A5 notebook and get on with writing Thorn and Carlton through the equivalent of busting someone out of jail.
I have been enjoying the Olympics, don’t get me wrong; enjoying them hugely, in fact. The skill and hard work displayed on all sides, from the astonishing feats of the winners to the sheer grit of the underdogs (absolutely any of whom is still a far finer athlete than me!) are both magical and heart-warming. What some of these people can do is simply amazing. Those runners! Those gymnasts! Those swimmers! And, oh good grief, bring on the dancing horses!...
What’s more, though there have been a couple of really unedifying displays of unsportsmanlike behaviour, in the main there seems to have been a good old-fashioned mixture of damned hard competition and honourable comradeship among the competitors. Watching all last night’s 800m finalists hugging winner David Rudisha, and then one another, at the end of the race was extraordinarily touching. Likewise, the sight of two of the runners who had completed their heat in the hurdles waiting for Liu Jiang as he limped in agony over the line, to help him off the field to a wheelchair; or Michael Phelps practically comforting the stunned Chad Le Clos, after the latter beat him to a gold medal; real lump-in-the-throat stuff. Factor in all the triumph and exhaustion, the cheering crowds, the ecstatic, incoherent happiness, and the sight of big, handsome men like Chris Hoy openly weeping on the medal rostrum, and you have a bit of an all-round emotional wallow.
But it all winds up this Sunday evening; and in the meantime I have sunshine to enjoy and writing to get on with. Long may they both continue - and long may the gyppy stomach remain okay again.