Considering the manner in which the Rio Olympics have invaded our household over the last few days, one might have expected that Mr B and I would be enjoying a carnival atmosphere. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong, but
it's all a bit too serious for me.
Mr B, as regular readers know, is a Champion Among Spectators. Indeed, if gold medals were awarded for loyal spectating - measured by number of hours watched multiplied by
number of different sports watched divided by number of hours sleeping in between bouts of Olympic activity - then he would be up there on the winners' dais, a gold medal around his neck, gazing up at the Union Jack and humming along to God Save The Queen.
Instead, he is ensconced in his armchair, being supplied with endless cups of coffee by Yours Truly on request, using the remote control with aplomb as he switches from sport to sport with the ease of a gymnast switching
from parallel bars to the pommel vault. Mr B is surely in his element.
Me? I'm just getting into it to be honest. I like to follow a sporting competition from beginning to end, choosing who to support, cheering
him or her on, celebrating victory, commiserating in defeat. The TV coverage of the Rio Olympics seems to flit about too much for my liking.
Mr B says it isn't the coverage that is flitting about - it's me.
If I would just sit down and concentrate on the sporting heroics being played out on our TV screen (he says), I would very soon be revelling in the carnival atmosphere.
Now, here's the thing: My Boy and his
family arrive on Friday. Each member of the family will need a bed to sleep in, food to eat. The younger ones will be hoping for some fun. Preparations are well in hand but I keep thinking of something else that needs doing - right in the middle of the synchronised
diving or the Road Trial or the Rugby Sevens. By the time I've sorted whatever it is and returned to the Sports Arena (aka our living room, I've rather Lost the Plot.
Talking about activities, I've been searching
for Crafty Things appropriate for boys aged between 4 and 10. And, guess what? All the arts and crafts seem to be, well, rather girlie. I'm not sure my lads will want to make friendship bracelets or a jewellery box. Even the box of three puppy dogs to decorate
came with bows and ribbons for adornment purposes. There appears to be a Gap in the Market and were I not too busy doing other things of importance (including cheering on Team GB) I would put my mind to it forthwith.
Sam says he would be happy with decorating a shoe box like he did last time he came to stay. This could then be used to transport home everything else he makes while he is here, he suggests. I can manage the shoe boxes, I reckon, but they can't take
them home empty, now can they? What can we make to put in the boxes? Ideas welcome - but please remember we only have two days and one of those is Family Beach Day. And how do their parents feel about three more lovingly decorated shoe boxes to pack into their
already crammed car for the journey home?
I take time out for a session on the Big Friendly Read desk at the library this morning. I was so sure that I'd put my name down for an afternoon session that it was
a bit of a shock when I checked the diary at 9.30 to find I was due on duty at 10 a.m. I made it, thanks to the Pulse bus, by the skin of my teeth. It was an Olympian effort on my part.
I present several medals and certificates today to children who have completed the challenge. My greatest fear is always that I will spell their name incorrectly on their certificate or inscribe it in less than perfect script. I usually
do a drum roll on the table before I make the presentation. My fellow volunteer on the Big Friendly Read desk this morning eyes me askance. I can read his mind: "Mad old bat!" I am unrepentant. It's one of the best things about reaching A Great Age, that you
can take being labelled a mad old bat as a compliment.
One lad, who has just finished reading the second of his six books, asks if I could possibly show him what the medals are like. I pretended that this
is the equivalent of a State Secret but one which I am prepared to share with him. From the bottom shelf of my trolley I produce, with appropriate flourish, a "gold" medal, complete with red ribbon. "Now that must be worth working for!" I proclaim. The young'un
looks up with shining eyes, alight with the fire of a competitive spirit. His mum tells me that this is just what he needs to spur him on to read the remaining four books.
Challenge. Motivation. Stickability.
It's just like the Olympics...