On looking in the mirror, parse that Lynne Truss, I spotted a roll of flab like a swimming lane demarcator. However, the minute I left the house to exercise, I was caught in a shower. I met my friend and we sprinted up to Costamuchamoulah for a very skinny latte with surface-sprinkled coffee granules, which might have been 24 carat gold dust, judging by the price, and we practised the high jump by leaping onto high bar stools. Lots of toddlers were running around wearing medals which they probably had won for screaming. I knew what I would like to have given them.
I was relieved when they were carried into 4x4s which had windscreens bearing the legend: Keep your Distance! World class mini-athletes on board. Personally I always have to stifle the urge to drive into the back of such vehicles, as if I am on the dodgems. Anyway, they can rest easy. I would definitely obey the injunction.
I told my friend, Brassica, about a study that I had heard being discussed which showed that if you over-praised kids for scribbling and framed their every effort and gave them the mini-equivalent of a Turner Prize, in the form of a Kinder egg every time they covered the wallpaper with wax crayon , you would destroy their ability to discern what was truly laudable and what was, frankly, average. I complained about all the yummy mummies who had confided to me that their children were in the running for the Nobel Prize for Literature, simply because at prep school they had written little sagas about flopsy bunnies. Once serious issues had to be studied at secondary school, the poor little mites were having nightmares because a fictional puppy keeled over. If I had agreed to censor all upsetting episodes from the classics on the syllabus, in order to protect their precious sensitivities, I would have had to present them with blank pages, simulating their parents’ tabulae rasa, or tabulas rasa- oh, whatever!
Andy’s mum would not have presented him with his Playstation, just because his racquet had made contact with the ball, when he was fourteen and three quarters. On the other hand, she probably had not encouraged him to waste much time on books either. Or girlfriends.
We discussed whether Kate Middleton’s mum had had a windscreen sticker which announced: At least one princess on board. Why should anyone take more care when bumper-tailing and slamming on of brakes, consequently ejecting an embryonic celebrity from a gilded carrycot, than when tailgating a beaten up old banger with a sticker that reads: Disreputable old bag of a moaning mother-in-law on board?
Surely we are all equal in the sight of the gods?
With some annoying old biddies on board, though, you might invite an impact worthy of a meteoric crater the size of the Olympic stadium, so maybe better to play it safe if you carry such passengers.
Good old Ben Ainslie had voluntarily gone round a marker buoy again, when challenged, even though he knew he had been right, which shows that his parents hadn’t put any special stickers on their windscreens, or treated him as Prince Ben.
Victoria Pendleton accepted that she had made an overtaking mistake in the heat of the moment and she had not made a fuss, nor challenged the decision by whining that she had been momentarily distracted by a fit bloke in the velodrome. She said that there were good and bad days and she simply progressed to the next challenge.
Bully for her, I thought. That is the true Olympic spirit.