Tag Archives: Olympics

Going for 100

It’s been one of those days where I have, so far, spent over two hours doing nothing of any substance. It’s been all bits and bats and mostly consisted of emails, lists and blurred photos. It’s not productive, but it’s easy, and I have a habit of doing easy things rather than the ones I should be doing.

August is a light month for submissions, with just one that actually needs doing.  I also have four which can be left until the early weeks of September, but I have put them on the August list. This still leaves me with five compared to the seven I did last month. September is even worse – assuming that I do five in August I still have nine planned for September.

So far I have never broken into a sweat writing a poem, or found one I’ve struggled to lift. I haven’t even bled over one, despite the amount of paper I have handled. (However, I think I just found an idea for one . . .) so why does it seem so much of an effort? Not only that, but why is it so difficult to write until, you get close to the deadline? I know there will be people out there that don’t have this problem, but I’m one of those that needs the pressure of a deadline to make me work.

I can produce enough quality pieces to keep at least some of the editors happy. However, even to get to 100 submissions I need to do two a week. I’m currently on 59 for the rolling 12 month average. It doesn’t take a maths genius to work out that is about half of what I need to do. So do I go for 75 next year, which doesn’t seem very ambitious, or do I go for 85 (better) or just go all out for 100? It won’t be the 100 rejections this article talks about but even 100 submissions is going to take a lot of work. However, I expect you’ve already guesse what I’m setting as a target from the title. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do . . .

PS, when I said I’d spent 2 hours doing  nothing much, it was just after 11am – I’ve spent another seven hours doing errands and other useless stuff since then. If they ever make procrastination an Olympic Sport I reckon I’m in with a chance. If Break Dancing (now known as “Breaking” can make it to the Olympics I don’t see why procrastination can’t.



My Lazy Day and Olympians – a Contrast

Had a lie in. Had breakfast. Read some blogs. Checked my emails. Made lunch, which was bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, beans, sourdough toast, eggs and several pangs of conscience – it was not really what I should be eating. Watched Olympic closedown and Murder She Wrote. Dozed in front of TV. Made tea – heavy on the salad. Watched  Professor T. Sat down to write, but ended up reading more blogs. It’s now 10.45 and I really should do some work. Julia spent her day making a hobby horse, entering her Covid test results on the Mencap system, making apple crumbles, blanching and freezing beans and topping up the shopping after last night’s pathetically inadequate performance by Tesco – 2 questionable substitutions and 10 items not available. She also watched TV and ate. I really don’t know how she fits it all in.

I am ambivalent about the Olympics. There have been some great stories, and some heroic triumphs. However, it’s also true to say that a lot of rubbish has also been spoken. Tonight it has principally been about Jason Kenny being our greatest ever Olympic athlete. That is simply not true. He is certainly a great athlete, and has won more Olympic medals than anyone else in Team GB. He also seems to be a pleasant person, which isn’t always the case with successful athletes.

To be fair, he hasn’t said anything about it, it is journalists who  have been making the claim. Our top four medal winners come from cycling, a sport that has been highly organised over the last twenty years, extensively financed and where there are plenty of medals on offer. Does that make them great, or does it just make them prolific? Steve Redgrave, on the other hand, won his five golds in five consecutive Olympiads. What’s more, he won several of them before the current funding system came in and he won  despite suffering from ulcerative colitis and diabetes. If you want to see a candidate for a great Olympian, try him.

Or Eric Liddell. He only won one gold medal. He could have won more, but he wouldn’t run on Sundays and he had a short running career because he returned to China to work as a missionary. He also had a short but successful rugby career playing for Scotland. It’s hard, despite his solitary gold medal, to say that he doesn’t measure up.

The featured image is a sailing boat – they sail in the Olympics. It’s a tenuous link.

Olympic Stories

Is it that time already?

There’s something about the Olympics that tempts me into watching too much TV. I see that GB won a silver in the women’s weightlifting (the frightening 87+kg class) and I’m told by Number One Son that she used to be a shot putter at the athletics club when he was a member. We had a couple of women in the top ten earlier in the competition. An interesting thing in the various stories is the difficulty with funding. However, they seem to have put it all together and while the expensive efforts of the rowing team came to nothing (and seem to have ended in acrimony) the women weightlifters can all be proud of their efforts.

There have been some great stories in the is Olympics, as well as some lessons in the double-edged nature of investing heavily in sport.

It was interesting to read something by Dame Katherine Grainger on Lottery Funding for sport. She said that when she started in the rowing team in the lead up to the 2000 Olympics the rest of the team members all had jobs or overdrafts or family to help them live as they trained. She, from the outset, was funded from the National Lottery money. (I use the word Dame because it seems polite, not because I agree with our honours system or think that the current crop of titles handed out to Olympians is appropriate).

It was refreshing to find that some of our athletes, such as Bethany Shriever and Charlotte Worthington, have had proper jobs and have struggled to get to Tokyo.

Days Lengthen, Spirits Lift…

The theme of coldness carries over from the last post.

At around 10pm I went out to put a sheet on the car windscreen and ended up having to clear the screen before I could put the cover on.

It’s notably crispy this morning, though not quite as bad as I was expecting.

On a brighter note, I’m excused washing duties as we have Number One son visiting. We have a quinoa salad for lunch, made with tinned beans and sweetcorn, Eventually I intend making pots of the stuff using proper quinoa instead of the microwavable alternative and I will soak my own beans.

For the moment it’s enough of a culture shock without the extra cooking.

And talking of culture shock – it’s full daylight now. The days are really starting to open up now. If only the weather was more spring-like.

This may be good news for North Korean athletes who, it seems, are likely to do a spell in a labour camp after failing to perform in the Winter Olympics. At least it won’t be dark and dismal. This would tend to suggest that the carrot and stick approach may not work, particularly when the carrot is “extra rice” according to the article.

Meanwhile, anyone who came fourth in an event where one of the Russians won a medal is waiting to see if they are going to get an upgrade. I really despair of a world where an entire country is banned for drug use and the replacement “neutral” team provides 50% of the positive drug tests at the games.

I’m not going to add anything more, as there are plenty of accusations flying about relating to GB’s rise to sporting success and I don’t want to say anything that may prove embarrassing in the future.

This article is interesting, and puts things in stronger terms than I would dare.  You can’t blame people for taking a chance to be an international athlete, but it’s important to keep it in perspective. There is no surge in African Winter Sport. If we want to help Africa we should make it possible for the continent to host the Olympics. After what happened with the Commonwealth Games this may take some doing.

At least my joints are feeling better and I seem to be able to think again, even if I can’t solve any world problems.

A Poor Selection of Thoughts

Just a few random thoughts today.

I’ve just been watching Donald Trump talking about  arming teachers. Putting a million guns into schools is a novel solution to the problem of school shootings and has certainly enhanced his reputation for innovative thinking.

The curling situation has developed in a way not necessarily to Team GB’s advantage. That is to say that after the men lost, the women also lost. They may still win tomorrow and gain a bronze medal, which will make it our most successful Winter Olympics ever. We’re currently lying 18th in the table.

If you add every medal we’ve ever won in Winter Olympics, it’s 10 Gold, 4 Silver and 12 Bronze. Norway, Canada and Germany have already surpassed that total in these games alone. I think Eddie the Eagle might be right.

That’s about it. Those two subjects are giving me all the thinking I can handle, apart from the thoughts I’m having about future posts. These will cover Part Two of the £32 million post, salad, quick meals and several on collectables.

The thinking, of course, is the easy bit. It’s the writing that takes the time.


What Does £32 Million Buy? (Part 1)

The easy, topical answer, is that it buys a Winter Olympic team, along with 59 athletes, four medals and the material for some great film scripts.

A crowd-funded bobsleigh team, crashing skater and an ice dancer who came back from smashing a kneecap – it’s all there.

I’m not a great sportsman, as you may have guessed from my photos and various comments on size and sloth, but every four years I rotate through Olympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. The kids make me watch a variety of World Championships, there’s the Rugby World Cup,the Rugby League World Cup and plenty of local news on skaters and kayakers who train in Nottingham. It’s hard not to get involved with all that around on TV.

Now, the question, as raised by National Treasure “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards, is, are we spending too much on Winter sports. We aren’t, it seems, a natural Winter Sport nation.

Unfortunately we aren’t naturally good at Summer Sports, cricket or football either.

So, where do I go from here?

I could go on to discuss sport, politics and the national mood, which always seems to improve when we do well.  It often improves when we lose too, as we all love an underdog and Elise Christie, though devoid of medals, has set an example of determination that’s a great example to the rest of us.

I could talk about sport and money. It’s a massive subject, and it has plenty to offer a cynic, particularly if, like me, you believe that the money would be better spent on developing better drugs programmes. If people want to run as fast as chemicals allow, let’s help them. I’m looking forward to the two minute mile.

However, for those who want to do it the old-fashioned way – hard work and dedication – I’d have a separate set of games. I’d also ban transgressors for life instead of handing them a short rest between games. Yes Justin Gatlin, I’m looking at you.

Finally, as we’ve sort of covered politics, cash and the cowardice of governing bodies, it might be a good time to mention James “Darkie” Peters. I’ll say no more. If you’re interested in the history of sport, apartheid and spineless administrators you will find it interesting.

In Part 2 I will look at what else you can buy with £32 million.




Christmas gathers momentum

When the Christmas jumpers start you know that the big day can’t be far off.

Today we’ve done more decorations and we’ve been working for Shipshape Arts, a company describing themselves as an “artistic creation company”. They are based in a barn on the farm and do quite a bit for us – including helping us with the Education tent at Flintham Show and making the quoits we will using for the Christmas hoopla. In return we try to help them a bit, though “help” may be be putting it a bit strongly.

Today they gave people hats. You can see them being worn in the main picture. Of course, not everyone got a hat. For some reason I didn’t, despite the fact that my poor bald head needs some warmth. Just saying…

This is one of the statues that they put up for us recently – looked at from this angle it’s a bit more noticeable than it is when you stand on the back of the Ecocentre looking across the field. The stone that looks like it’s on the right comemorates the air crash in 1944 – it’s actually on the left but there’s a curve in the road.


This is one of “The Sweepers” that were originally shown at the Southbank Centre Festival of Neighbourhood. We also have “The Neighbours”, who were also at the Olympic Park before coming up here. Did you know there was a market in second-hand statues? I didn’t. It was quite a performance putting them up, with low-loaders, forklifts, power tools and lots of helpers.

This is “The Neighbours” taken from a deceptive angle, inreality they are several hundred yards from the kitchen.


We’re decorating the Christmas tree now. It’s a bit early for me (though I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, to be fair) but it’s turkey tasting time this weekend and we are aiming for a Christmas Dinner feel to the centre.

Finally – I nearly got a picture of a bird feeding at the table. We’ve had great tits, blue tits, pigeons, chaffinches, robins, house sparrows, greenfinches, starlings and wood pigeons so far. It could be better but we’re hoping it will build up as time goes on. Meanwhile they are all quick to take flight and added to a cheap camera and poor light levels I haven’t much to show for my photographic efforts. Looks like I’m going to have to borrow my wife’s camera or wait until the butterflies come back in summer.


At least you can tell it’s a robin, most of the others have been unidentifiable blurs.