Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Sports Day and Kansas bloggers



I’m in a right old pickle at the moment. Stuck between two computers for starters. My new one keeps losing its Internet connection which was driving me potty enough (plus it’s got the dreaded Vista on it – aaaghh). But now, to add insult to injury, the crappy keyboard they generously gave with it won’t work – the space bar sticks intolerably. So I am back on the laptop in the breakfast room and have to say it’s a joy to be on XP again. Though, shamefully, the dreaded Spider Solitaire is still on here…..I shall resist!



Once again I’m sleep-deprived too. The night before last we had a girls’ night at Linda’s. Great fun but my heart sank at the thought of a late Sunday night. I used to think nothing of staying up to the wee small hours and then getting up and going to work. In fact, when I worked on the Evening Standard, it was par for the course to go to a party, get home at 4am, write your copy and phone it over to the copytakers before falling into bed for a few hours before getting up and going back into work. How in the name of heaven did I have the stamina? It sounds like a glamorous job but was pretty grim really – I still wince at the memory of trotting after Bob Geldof (he walks VERY fast) asking for a brief quote with him snarling ‘F**k off’ in dulcet tones.

Anyhow, back in the present, I got two hours sleep and felt like hell yesterday. We pitched up at Sports Day with me feeling slightly out of it. I thought it would never end. Forty odd races and variations on things being thrown and bodies jumping high and long. The weather lunged from sizzling sunburn heat to shivering wind and cold – hence the sight of some of the yummy mummies wearing slivers of dresses and slingbacks with not so fetching vast padded fleeces over the top. I loathe Sports Day. It brings back far too many memories of ritual humiliation via 100 metres. I have weak knees (comes of being a Capricorn) and for some inexplicable reason my knees would give out at precisely 50 metres at which point I would fall flat on my face and have to haul myself to my feet and limp the remaining distance while all the rest of the girls had long returned to their seats. So I found a tear in my eye watching the little tubby girl stumbling along at the back of the fleet, sleek, pony-tailed pack.



James, thank God, has not inherited any of my genes that I can detect. He loves sport. I still don’t really believe it and so sat with a slack jaw as I watched my little boy, way ahead of the field for two laps of the 800 metres. He had peaked too early though and fell back towards the end but managed to come fourth (which I thought was damn fine given he was the only one of his year competing against older boys). He came third in the 200 metres too and I thought I would burst a blood vessel as he charged towards the finish, with me bellowing at him like a fish-wife (apologies to fish-wives). So much for me sitting quietly as instructed. In the house relay, the baton was dropped and they came last – James was disgusted.


As far as these things go, it was well-organised. While many of the races were finals of heats run earlier in school, a few others were (reading between the lines) subtly designed to allow the non-sporty a chance to have a go without humiliation. For instance a never-ending relay race with 25 team members and some ‘free’ races. It wasn’t ‘prizes for all’ (halleluyah) but somehow managed to combine sporting competitiveness with a ‘have a bash’ mentality that was pleasing.

There is also something rather pleasing about Blogger. I love all the comments from old friends – guaranteed to bring a wide smile. And I also love that, every so often, I find a comment by someone outside the purplecoo community….I trot off and find another fabulous or thought-provoking or laugh out loud blog and then have to ration myself or I’d be off, following links, wandering freefall all over the land of Blog. Today I found iota – a UK woman in that strangest of strange lands, the mid-West of America. There, it transpires, Sports Day is Field Day. Her children are learning to speak with American accents and I learned that ‘camp’ (that great US institution) is not a few weeks away in the forest, but can be a one-day course. Fabulous to get that insight into another world – and all at the click of a mouse. Now, of course, I am wondering about her life – how did she get there? And how come she knows the Poltimore Arms on Exmoor, one of the most ‘off the map’ pubs it’s possible to encounter?


PS - the odd picture is part of a mural in the Eden Project - though at a push it could be some ancient relay race!

17 comments:

Suffolkmum said...

Wow, how come you managed to find a school that has a competitive sprots day? I take it it's not a state school? (don't mean anything by that comment, by the way, just interested!) My James is 8 too but all we have are the group mixed-age activities - chucking a beanbag, skipping etc. He's not super-sporty but can run quite fast and most of the older ones would love to have a go at some proper races.
I know, I know - the joy of finding other interesting blogs, the horror of relaising how long you've been on the computer - I am going to have to restrict myself to once or twice a week at this rate.

Blossomcottage said...

They banned the Mothers Race at my childrens prep school 'cause I won it 5 years on the trot( Oh boy those were the days I can hardly get into a trot these days) anyway it seems that most school find it P.C incorrect to even have a winner of the skipping race now.
P.S I have added the Big House to my blog just or you!! Blossom

elizabethm said...

I hated sports day too as totally useless at everything so was astonished to produce a sporty son, good at everything and even more astonished at a reasonably sporty netball playing daughter who otherwise resembled me quite a lot. nice to be reminded that they are themselves. love the other blog thing too but havent found out how to look for blogs on particular things. do you know how?

ChrisH said...

I'm absolutely lapping up everyone's blogs today - not being very creative at all but I'm sooooo sick of waiting. Goodness me I don't know how you coped with life at the Evening Standard. I've enjoyed browing your reading list. I do agree with your comments about 'Wicked' but great for someone like me who will happily forgive Jilly Cooper almost anything for the jokes and sex along the way. Barabar Erskine - loved Lady of Hay & House of Echos nearly stopped me getting out of bed to go to the loo at a holiday cottage. Right I shall read Walker then I must DO something.

countrymousie said...

Well fellow Capricorn - now I know why I have dodgy knees - well dicky everything really!!
I was just talking about competitive sports days with someone over the weekend - life is competitive and no one remembers second unfortunately - you only have to ask Frankie after winning the Derby.
Vista is proving a nightmare apparently - not a help I know but there are still teething problems I am told. My IT man told us to wait a year until we change to it, because of the problems.
Good to read your blog

ChrisH said...

Thank you so much, Jane, for the Rune reading. Don't know why but I was pulled back to my blog before I went off to 'get on'(!). Your reading made perfect sense - I actually wrote the word 'evil' today when making notes for my blog as that how someone else was trying to make me feel. It's raked up a lot of dead ashes and it's taking me all my resources not to succumb to such disapproval. Good to know that better times lie ahead. CX

PreseliMags said...

Ohhhh sports day! The stress of it all. The first one was the day before I was booked into the breast clinic with a lump and was in such a state of terror (unfounded, luckily) that I forgot to pay the entry fee to get into the school (Oh The Shame! part I). Last year Hannah came third in her race, then stopped in the middle of the track and had a really good scratch at her head. Yes in front of ALL the parents. If she had held up a sign saying I'VE GOT NITS! she couldn't have made it more clear (Oh The Shame! part II). This year I'm thinking of going in diguise with my leg in plaster (to avoid the Mum's race and Oh The Shame part III).

Inthemud said...

Lucy's at a state school and they do competative sports, children burst into tears when they lose, but it's good for them! I'm all for compoetition. Shame for James that he lost due to other dropping baton, how frustrating.
My dad loves to remind me of how I won the relay for my team at county sports, they were trailing behind until i picked up baton and he said i just flew past everyone and we came first! Only time mind you!

Hope you get a better nights sleep tonight

Iota said...

Exmoorjane, you've no idea how exciting it was to me to find the first comment on my blog, and to find myself mentioned in yours. Thank you.

Yes, indeed there is a tale in how I come to be in Kansas. It's the oldest one in the book: Husband's job. There now, I've spoiled the mystery - but perhaps you'll still enjoy wondering about the details. As for the Poltimore Arms, when I first met Husband, he was living in North Devon and I was living in London. He used to entice me away from the big smoke for week-ends with treats such as the Poltimore Arms. In those days, I thought the Midwest was Membury services. Look where the allure of the Poltimore Arms got me.

bodran... said...

I was one of those good at sports long jump, high jump, running the lot but my parents didnt bother coming to watch and i was always scanning the crowd to spot them ! I can't miss a sports day now even the local primary even though my kids don't go.We also have a big village sports day on june 28th, lots of ale mad races and tug's of war the best day in llanfair... i'm absolutly crap at sports now !

@themill said...

The youngest is at a school where sport is all and he absolutely loves it. Personally I find the competitive parents a turn off, but life is competitive.

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

At eldest's last Uk School well healed parents were said to train all year for the mothers and fathers races and would change out of their designer casuals into designer trainers and tracksuits and near kill each other to get in first . Absolutley terrifying to watch! I have sen children sternly reprimded by angry parents for not winning! No PC there!

Thank God here we do not have sports day, the French are such sensible people!

Cait O'Connor said...

Well Jane, finally caught up and must thank you for your many comments, you have been a big support.
I too hate Sports Days, I am usually working when the granddaughters have theirs, thank God. Sports are fine for those who are sporty and keen but I prefer matches and not 'silly' races where everyone HAS to take part. You don't have Maths Days or English Days or Music competitions (well you do have the Eistedfodd in Wales I suppose). And all those pushy parents, don't get me started...
My daughter is a Capricorn and has dodgy knees and I have a Capricorn friend the same, weird isn't it? We Arians are weak in the head but you've probably guessed that by now:)
I also surf around occasionally blog-hunting and it is so time consuming isn't it? But fun...
Bye for now,
Caitx
Caitx

Pondside said...

Yuck - it's Field Day here too and I hated it when I was a child! I think I was moderately good at the long jump but that wasn't as glamourous as the sprint or hurdles. I used to long to be sick on that day but my parents would make me go to school. My daughter loved field day - more ghosts exorcised!!!

Pipany said...

Yep, fellow Capricorn here too and also got odd knees - very knobbly and knocked! Hate anything competitive though will push myself beyond belief. Have just been over to your web page for the first time Jane. Feel a bit of a nit as didn't realise just how in the know on the alternative thing you are. Apparently I fit the vata profile quite well! (that was the thin, dry-skinned, overly-active one I think?) xx

KittyB said...

I came a right cropper at last year's mother's race - flew horizontally and landed on my chest. I'm surprised they didn't pop! Ooofff! Not the sporty type at all (more the having a little lie down type), I decided to try a bit of Zola Budd sprinting. Never again.

I am having the same woman look back at me from the mirror as you, and I'm sure it's the beauty writer thing. Am going to be irradiated with red light next week, I have no earthly idea why, but they pay me so I go. If I look younger I'll let you know!

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