Wednesday July 6, 2005
I don’t go along with jingoism, not normally I don’t. This thing about ‘I live in the greatest country on Earth’ does not sit well with me, not when I hear it, and certainly not on the very few occasions when I say it myself. I reckon that if you have to say it ad nauseum, you don’t really believe it.
I think us Brits may be forgiven a little, very temporary, bit of self-aggrandizement today, though. And us Londoners, even more so. After all, it’s not every day that your home town wins the race to host the Olympic Games. Especially not against the likes of Paris, Moscow, New York… And really especially not when you pipped the perishin’ French to the post after the appalling Gallic faux pas of President Chirac, saying unpleasant things about your national cuisine. People who eat snails are really in no position to criticize your national cuisine, let’s face it.
Not only that, but Tony Blair did us proud over the whole affair, not rising to the bait, not dignifying insult with counter-insult, but by simply starting off his closing address to the Olympic Committee in faultless, fluent French. Yah boo sucks, is what I say. As well as jolly well done, Tony. You done us proud.
Okay. I’ve got that off my chest, danced a jig to Land of Hope and Glory and now I’m happy to settle back to being the quiet, modest little Englishman that much better suits me.
Can’t wait for 2012, though. The last Olympic Games I attended were those we hosted in London in 1948.
Actually, that was far from the most significant event of the day. The real highlight was of course catching sight of Graham leaving the train and climbing the stairs at Boston station. We had a good reunion.
From the station, instead of coming straight home, Graham expressed the need for decent coffee.
“It’s going to rain,” I said. “And our coffee at home is much better than we can get at Costa Coffee.”
“Don’t care,” he said. “I want coffee, and I want coffee now.”
You can’t argue against that, not when it’s said by a bloke that’s sat in a train for five hours you can’t.
So off we trudged, chattering happily, across town, past the Police Station where we were eyed most suspiciously by an ugly bruiser of a plain clothes copper, through the town square, all emptying out after the Wednesday market and being swept and tidied ready for another day, into Pescod Square and thence to Costa Coffee.
About half-way there, the rain started.
“If you’d like to run ahead,” I said, “I don’t mind.”
“Nah,” he said. “Doesn’t seem right leaving you behind to get wet.”
He did so when the rain started up again on the return trip to the car, though. Me, I was wearing the waterproof coat I keep in the back of the car for rainy days, and I can’t do much in the way of running anyway. Besides, I rather enjoy a bit of rain. When you can’t do much in the way of running, it pays to have a positive attitude towards being caught in the rain.
More happy chattering took place on the drive home, and when we got home, and especially over the bottle of Jacob’s Creek extra dry 2003 vintage Reisling I’d put in the fridge ready for the homecoming.
“Good choice, this,” Graham said.
“Yum,” I said.
On a less happy note, I learned earlier in the day that my neighbour, who was taken off to hospital the day ‘fore yesterday, has in fact suffered a second, more severe stroke, affecting the other side of his body, and rendering him unable to speak or walk. He’s in a very poorly state, apparently, and the prospect of a good recovery doesn’t look too hopeful. I doubt very much if he’ll be returning to live in his little house alone once more, and it may be that I’ll not see him again before we move. I’m told he’s indicated that he doesn’t want visitors. Shame that. I really liked the irrascible old blighter.
Hey ho. You can’t fully appreciate a sunny day if there’s no shadow in it.
And, cloudy skies or not, rain or not, it’s been a sunny day for me today and I refuse to end it on anything other than a note of good old-fashioned revelry. Does you a power of good, does a bit of a revelry.