Thursday, 26 July 2012

Disposable Olympics

Who cares about the Olympics? Not me: waste of money. There, I’ve said it. But you could be forgiven for thinking I do care, when I had both hands in the middle of a putrid bin bag this week looking for a lost ticket…

I’ll backtrack. I’m not interested in sport but I do like history and will concede that the Olympics coming to London, it’s a momentous historical thing. And I like a nice show, which I believe Danny Boyle is kindly going to put on for us tomorrow night (see waste of...).

Same with the Diamond Jubilee: not in favour of the monarchy per se (see waste of, again) but it was a historical event, so we went to Battersea Park to watch the flotilla because someone gave us free tickets, and we stood/crouched in the cold and the rain near a huge TV screen, because we couldn’t get anywhere near the embankment, and at the crucial moment, when the Queen arrived, the people in front of us suddenly stood up, completely obscuring our view. So we saw nothing. We came home, put the kettle and the telly on (in that order) and were much happier.

But that’s not the point. If you have children you have to do this stuff. It’s part of the job: building memories. Even if they are crap ones. Even if Middle One decides, as a direct result of the Battersea Park experience, that the whole of humanity sucks. And even if the children never want to go in the first place, which they never do. 

So, I queued up last week at the local library to get more free tickets (note running theme here), to see the Olympic torch arrive at the Common and watch some God-awful band called Rizzle Kicks (not ‘the’ Rizzle Kicks, Mummy, oh my God you are so old!). But by the time the queue snaked all the way round the neighbourhood and back again and I actually got into the library (you’re ahead of me here, aren’t you?). You guessed it.

Of course, after they ran out, I really wanted those tickets, if everyone else did. So I went to great lengths to get some. Such lengths that it’s a whole other story, which I will have to relay another time. Suffice to say I eventually got four: for the boys and me, and had them safely stashed in their envelope in my handbag, ready for the big day. Didn’t even look at them. Husband managed to get a fifth ticket from a friend, so he could come too. We would meet him there. Problem is, I’m tidy. Very tidy. And my first port of call tidying-up wise is… (you’re ahead of me again, aren’t you?).

Look, in my defence it’s stood me in good stead over the years, waging a constant battle against the tide of rubbish flowing into this increasingly decrepit old house. Only the odd vital document or child’s favourite drawing has ended up in there (and even then I usually get away with blaming the cleaner). So it’s hardly my fault that on Day One of the summer holidays, whizzing round trying to get the place in order, I picked up a tiny crumpled piece of green paper lying on the chest of drawers in the bedroom and chucked it away.

So, later, there's this wonderful moment, flailing at the front door, trying to leave, me and three boys, when Youngest is crying: I don’t want to go, I’m so tired! It’s so hot! You are so mean! and Eldest is muttering: I don’t want to go either, why did you get these stupid tickets? I haven’t had a shower, why is there no hot water? And Middle One is yelling: I hate Rizzle Kicks, they are chavs: it’s crap music, and I get a text from husband: just leaving office now, is my ticket still on chest of drawers? And my blood runs cold.

Good news is, husband found the ticket in the bathroom bin when he got in and joined us on the Common just in time to see Tim Henman arrive with the flame. Who would have thought I put it in there? And it was quite a good do actually. A total waste of money, obviously, but historical.

Yes, that is Tim Henman in the distance...

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  1. Well said! It might be unpatriotic but I think it's a vulgar waste of money too, especially when the government has the cheek to make us all cut back! But you have to build memories for the kids - and wait for it to be over in secret! :)

  2. Thanks! Not easy to come out and say it when everyone is so obsessed. Simon Jenkins put it very well in the Guardian yesterday