Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Archive for August, 2012

and now – the Paralympics

Well, here we go again!  I hope you are settling down / enjoyed the opening ceremony.  I’m writing this just before it starts.  As a non athlete (bit of gym, running and archery and stuff), I am in awe of all athletes.


The hardest thing for me is not to digress into wonder at the paralympians and their own journeys.  There is no difference in the astonishment at achievement.  I can’t imagine how not to ever sound demeaning or condescending – in a “Does he take sugar?” sort of way.  But I am remembering the Olympics (beautifully described as the warm up act by channel 4’s marketers) as the blub fest then I can’t imagine this is going to be anything else.


Bring it on.  And let’s all us brits be proud of what has already been achieved.


(And I hope some of our professional soccer players are watching and get just a little embarrassed at their own silly antics.)

Couch Potato Olympics!

Well !  How tiring was that?  Great to see all the old rockers at the Olympic closing ceremony.  Makes you feel good to have survived without the need for too many non prescription drugs.  And marvel at the superlative effects of looking after yourself with the help of coaches, advisers, managers – and the occasional botox injection if you are a Spice Girl (possibly)?

It just feels supremely ironic that:

  1. Most of us watched prodigious amounts of TV entirely sedentary and now want to become the new fit for GB legacy
  2. The cynics at day 4 (no gold rush yet) have stopped saying ‘told you so’ and now want to bask in the reflected glory?
  3. The best commentators on BBC knew when not to comment
  4. The men cried more than the women
  5. This government is still selling off school playing fields

The Blubolympics one of the Gamesmakers called them.  And wasn’t it wonderful that the longest and most sustained standing ovation was reserved for them?  They really did us proud.

I will not need to stock more Kleenex tissues now – the blubbing is over.  My favourite moment?  Jessica Ennis taking her private moment as she won the 800 metres to cap her glorious Heptathlon victory.  Eyes shut, arms extended and smiling and drinking it all in.  Wow.  And she doesn’t normally win that race – but wanted to put  show on for the fans.  Double wow!

Jessica Ennis flying over the 100m hurdles to take Olympic Heptathlon Gold commemorated on Royal Mail stamp

Yes – we can all buy the stamp (and I bet they sell out as well as the seats did eventually…)

That’s the link if you want to look at the whole range of stamps.


One of the athletes said he wanted to thank two people.  My cynical hat thought here we go – mum, god, coach, EPO or whatever.  Ban that cynical view!  he said “The Gamesmakers and the crowd”.  And, come to think of it – Gamesmakers – what a stunning name for the volunteers?

The other thing that seemed in abundance was sportsmanship.  Astonishing that Victoria Pendleton held aloft the hand of her nemesis the pusher from Australia, Anna Meares, after being relegated in the first session of the Sprint final.  There were many other moments like that (Chris Hoy being hugged by Steve Redgrave, cheers for the brave injured who crossed the line last, Mo Farrah and Usain Bolt doing their opposite trademark poses – and you will all have your faves too).

I’m a football fan, and was desperately trying to Hoover up all the last crumbs of the last day of the games and dip into the Charity Shield match between Chelsea and Man City.  They didn’t feel like they had learned anything from the Olympic spirit.

Can’t wait for the Paralympics now!

Bad Service?

I had occasion to stay at one of those Lodge places – Premier Inn at a business park in Crawley.  I’ve always found them pretty good – it does exactly as it says on the tin.  A simple meal, all bought in I am sure – but served nicely (literally, the good old fashioned prawn cocktail rump steak and chips and ice cream.  I felt like I’d returned to the 1970’s and fallen into a Berni Steak House!)


It all went wrong the next morning.  There were a few car park spaces roped off at the front entrance the night before.  I thought nothing of it, but it became a problem.


They were having some work done on the front of the hotel above the entrance.   I took my luggage out to the car and returned for breakfast.  Although this means I have already left the room and done my teeth, it feels a faster get away is possible.  It does make the first sip of orange juice a bit of taste frightener, but that’s all there is to not like about this efficient use of time.  Or that’s what normally happens.


I tried to get back into the hotel.  They had locked the front door, and were directing (haphazardly) the guests who were trying to leave out of another entrance. I tried to wave and get their attention – to no avail.


So, I walked all round the back, and found someone leaving through a fire exit, so jumped in.  The door was alarmed, so all hell was breaking loose.


Quick breakfast – time is pressing on – found my way out the back of the hotel, and then it happened.  Walked around the front (it is a 90 room hotel, and so takes a bit of walking around).  My car was visible, 20 yards past the entrance, but barred by a jobs-worth and a piece of tape barring my entrance across the work area.  Nothing was happening yet.  I lost it.  “I am effing annoyed now”.  (I regret I didn’t say effiing).  The staff member said there was no need to take that attitude.  I replied, “And there is no need for me to stay at your hotel ever again”.


OK.  It made me feel better, but not much.  And I feel obliged to apologise for my outburst, but all they needed was some sign-age to say how to get back into or exit the hotel.  Not a lot of rocket science there.  But no.

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