Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Every hair has a silver lining

"Oh My", as our favourite sex-craving anti-heroine likes to opine (I did count actually and she comes out with this intellectual gem 24 times in 50 Shades Darker which, incidentally, is as much a pile of complete crap as the first one).

Anyway, the point is, I think I am going through a midlife crisis. I didn't think I was going to be bothered about turning 40 but I'm suddenly feeling, physically,  really old. This wasn't helped this morning by The Monkey telling me that my hair is changing colour and I have bits of "silver" in it (slightly more polite than grey I suppose). His father took him aside and had a quiet word, suggesting that he probably shouldn't mention it again. Anyway, I've told The Monkey off about fibbing before and I pay someone good money to keep the silver OUT of my hair. Yesterday a Silver Fox came up to me in the street and said "Lovely hair - that's a great cut!" Two things, with hindsight, now strike me about that;  firstly that he omitted to mention the now seemingly obvious grey bits and secondly, he was in his sixties. At first I was flattered. Now I'm wondering whether he was saying it was a good cut for his age group and that he wouldn't mind taking a lady with such hair on a Saga cruise. I know 65 is young these days but, please, I'm 25 years (2 months and 16 days) away .

Twins or small planet?
Three small children probably aren't making me feel much younger - nor is the running. I've done 16km in the last 2 days and my legs just want to fall off and tomorrow I'm faced with a BIG one. It's not like I've lost a couple of stone either but I suppose that could be the martinis. I'm sure I read in a running magazine that they're a good energy drink. As every mother of twins or more knows, no matter what you do or how hard you try, you will never get rid of that fold of skin on your stomach. No amount of sit-ups or running can shift something that has been created by two small beings stretching your previously cared-for skin beyond recognition and then suddenly vacating that space - like popping a balloon. So, now that I've been informed by The Boy that "flobby" is a good word for it, (thanks Boy) I'm going to start saving for a remoulding. I use that word because I'm in denial. Surely whatever is removed from a tummy tuck can be recycled into a boob job, thereby saving me money and the surgeon time? All I want is a little bit of shape redistribution.

The future looks bright...
stepping out of my cryo-pod thing in 10 years time
I don't know whether his father had another word with him but The Monkey has since redeemed himself. Watching me brush my hair for the first time this week to go and get him some new school shoes he said I didn't need to put any make up on for him. "You only need to put make-up on if you want other people to think you're pretty. I think you're perfect pretty without it".

No matter how bad things seem you can always rely on that first born son / mother bond to make amends. At least I know I now appeal to both ends of the age spectrum. It's just that 60 year gap in between.

I don't think I've ever really been that vain but if this is what turning 40 does to you then I'd rather skip it and move straight on to 50.

Perhaps I'll investigate cryogenics now.....

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Boo on the loose

Well, this is the first time I have updated this blog from a different country though I am so tired and confused I'm struggling to remember which country I'm actually in. On Tuesday I arrived in New Zealand and flew out again on Friday night - a long way to go for 3 nights. It really freaks me out that, having spent an entire night on a plane, I arrived in San Francisco 7 hours before I left Auckland. Which is just as well.  I was so tired and hungover on Friday that my friend in NZ pointed out that I would at least get another shot at the day and indeed I did. This week I may have completely lost Monday, but I've had two Fridays.  Kerryn, if you're reading this I'm so sorry. Next time I see you I'll take some talking pills. I feel very bad that I turned up for our annual catch up and then said barely more than three words to you before falling asleep in your car.

San Francisco was another first and so was the fact that I was exploring and staying in a new city on my own. How liberating. I would heartily recommend it to anyone - no arguing over which sights to see, which bar to sit in, when to eat, what to eat. You get my drift. The only downside is not having a man by your side in the evening. Well, not having the man you want by your side anyway. When you're a girl on your own and you sit at a bar and order a drink and it becomes clear that you're not waiting for anyone, you start to feel eyes boring into your back and you're convinced that everyone thinks you're a lady of negotiable affection. I know I'm skint after buying the athletics ticket but thank god I wasn't offered $50, or worse, less.

"How much, love?"
San Francisco is my new favourite city. I think I saw pretty much everything during a three hour walk. Union Square (flashy), Fisherman's Wharf (trashy), Alcatraz (bleak) , cable cars  (steep), Lombard St of Steve McQueen fame (twisty). Everything,  that is,  except the Golden Gate Bridge (misty). Which means I shall have to go back.

LA is a different kettle of fish though. Not that I've seen anything other than the airport and I don't have much desire to. The people are less friendly and seem to take pleasure in sending you on a wild goose chase. It's a good job I have 5 hours between flights because it took me almost that long to find the international departures. On getting off a domestic flight I was told to exit the airport and get on the shuttle bus for Air New Zealand. First I missed one then half an hour later the next one arrived. After 20 minutes it dropped me off. That's strange I thought. I know I'm tired but this all looks vaguely familiar. It had done a massive loop of the airport and dropped me off where I'd got on. International Departures was one floor up from Domestic Arrivals. Hey Ho.

And so, back to Blighty. Tired, emotional, missed the ankle biters and a whole week of training and not looking forward to the rain. It's bound to be raining - it's a bank holiday.

Friday, 17 August 2012

And the gold goes to.....

The repetitive strain injury is worth it.

As you'll recall, I spent most of our holiday in Devon hitting the refresh button on the London 2012 Ticket website. Either on my laptop or on my phone depending on our proximity to an electric socket, or both simultaneously just to really increase my chances. I have always been fairly determined and I can quite categorically state now that persistence pays off. When my obsession was becoming a little annoying and The Boy was on the verge of leaving me, those magic words came up. "Ticket available - you have 3 minutes to complete this screen". Frantically I rummaged for my debit card realising that I was logged in as The Boy and he was out and had rather cunningly taken his credit card as far away from me as he could possibly get it. (incidentally, the Monkey even takes the piss out of me now. He came up to me today and shouted rather frantically "Where's your credit card Boy, where's your credit card??" and then wet himself laughing. I struggled to connect this outburst to anything even vaguely familiar and then realised he was parroting my attempt to finalise my ticket). You'll notice that it said "ticket" in the singular. I did try to apply for two, I really did, but weirdly I only got one. Shame. I had to go on a big adventure on my own.

Photo: Olympic park and athletics Fri 10 AugustSo, what a night. I arrived at the Olympic Park in plenty of time (no ankle-biters or husband to slow me down), availed myself of a couple of cold beers, sat in the baking sun then wandered down to my seat. To be fair, I had spent the GDP of a small country on my ticket so it shouldn't have come as a surprise to find out it was a good seat. But, wow, front row?? I promptly broke the world record for over-excitement. Rather predictably I went on probably the only night where we didn't win a medal but who cares. In fact we even got disqualified but I saw a couple of world records and smelt the sweat of the American relay team so it was all worth it. Honestly, it was a night I shall never forget. 
Photo: Olympic park and athletics Fri 10 August
OK, so it's not Team GB but close
enough to see their nostrils twitch
This week as a consequence of the Olympics being over, I am more than a little bereft. In fact, the whole country seems to be a little down and despondent so just as well that the next post I do will be at 3am from my hotel room in Auckland when I've already been awake for 2 hours. Something to look forward to. At least the kiwis can't take the piss out of me for belonging to a nation who are crap at sport. I'd like to remind my good friends that we came 3rd in the medal table with 29 golds, they got 6 and 5 of those were in sitting down sports. The Australians only got 7 but apparently the reason is that they always perform better when their currency is weaker hence their relatively shocking performance this time round. There are many methods of calculation employed to manipulate results and make things seem not quite as bad as they initially appear. Take this for example Brian Dawes, an Australian statitician has ground breaking news for us. He calls it the MAP methodology:

 "Based on a crafty combination of medals won, athletes in your team, and your country's population, I am please to advise that the real winner of the London Olympics is Australia!"
Using the formula, medals won multiplied by athletes in your team divided by home count population (MAP), here are the top four:
  1. Australia 632
  2. Great Britain 565
  3. Hungary 268
  4. Russia 250
Team USA scored a measly 175, and China only 23.

So, that's ok then.

Antipodeans know your place - The natural order of things......

As I have been so inspired by my new hero "Mo", yesterday I ran 12km. As a consequence, today I am having to nurse my aches with a bottle of fine Australian Chardonnay (no, seriously, they do exist) while I wait for The Boy to return from the cricket at Lords where he has been busy high-fiving Yohan Blake. My 420 quid got me within sniffing distance of the American relay team. His cricket ticket got him palm on palm action with "The Beast".

Hey Ho. Next week I will be mostly on a plane, in NZ and enjoying a one-night stopover in San Francisco on my way home. Unfortunately I had forgotten about this when I bought my athletics ticket so I am being forced to check into Alcatraz.

The best thing about trying to do all these firsts is that you live in a state of perpetual excitement. And poverty. But life's too short....

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Gold, wet and windy

So, here I am, in our little seaside bolthole and what's happened today? It's pissed it down so we had to resort to soft play. God help us if it rains again tomorrow.

So, a few Olympics firsts this week - not for me obviously unless you count watching it obsessively.

We now have 22 gold medals and lie in 3rd place in the medals table which beats our Beijing result and isn't bad for a very small island. Go Team GB!

We won our first dressage gold, our first canoeing slalom gold, our first mens' gymnastics team medal since 1912 (when it was a slightly different discipline including rope climbing..) and first showjumping gold since 1954 and first sherry, wine and vodka drinking gold since 2011 (oops -sorry, that was us).

There've been several irksome issues so far and we still have 5 days to go. For example, as I mentioned above....dressage. I know this will upset certain of my friends who have already sent me various querulous comments but, honestly, what is dressage all about? Can fannying about on a prancey horse really be called sport? The Radio 5 commentator the other day mentioned that "not a man nor woman is making a sound  in this 20,000 seater arena, not a whisper can be heard". Could that be that because it's so deathly boring that no-one actually turned up? And can anyone in the GB team whose surname is a) French and b) means Of The Garden really be taken seriously? Congratulations, though, on Gold Charlotte.

Next up, swimming. Team GB have disappointed us badly and then claimed that it was because swimming is the hardest sport. Really? Would the dressage horses say that? Could it be that the best female in the pool this year (USA's Missy Franklin) has built in flippers with her size 13 feet (how will she get a boyfriend with feet like that?) and that Michael Phelps hadn't yet retired? Perhaps there should be a height restriction for swimming? Clearly a very tall person with inhumanly long arms can touch the side before anyone else?

There are many other gripes but most of all, our national anthem seems to have been butchered. Indeed there is even an image doing the rounds on Facebook that questions the absence of the four most important notes of that heraldic tune.

Crabbing Bucket - doesn't actually
do what it says on the can
Anyway, back to glorious Devon and this week I have been mostly surgically attached to the Olympics website in the hope that I can pick up a random ticket or two for Friday night's athletics without having to remortgage the house and also I've been partaking of what should be a new Olympic sport. Crabbing. Oh, how I remember now those days as a kid when my sister and I brought a bucketful of crabs back to our Devon holiday home and left them in the bath to fester for a week. Not so this time. This time The Monkey has been taught how to crab. Slightly disappointing then that we showed a nice Austrian family how to do it only for them to then catch 10 nippers in their bucket while we stuck at zero. Even more disappointing that, once the seagulls had swooped and swiped our entire pack of Co-op bacon (minus packaging of course - very eco-friendly seagulls), the Austrian family then felt that they should deposit one of their crabs in our still empty bucket in gratitude for our tutelage along with a rasher of far superior Marks & Spencers maple cured bacon. These Austrians must have more money than sense. Perhaps we should go into coaching instead of participating.

Mary Mary, quite contrary,
why on earth did you do that?
Despite the weather, Dartmouth is glorious. And I have discovered two things. Firstly, that, despite being quaint and pretty with posh shops you can still get the ubiquitous "special" massage here  and secondly that, once Mary Mary had finished being quite contrary in her garden (see previous blog), she retired to the seaside and adorned her house with cockle shells. Said house is

"You want a side dish with that?"
now for sale.

Good luck with that.....

Might go for a Mo tomorrow.