Sunday Column: Trials of Competing in the UK

Why I will never make an Olympic champion but am proud of Team GB nonetheless.

As I write this, it is nearly midday on a Sunday. I am sat here in my dressing gown (albeit the nice purple silk one from BHS). I have not yet brushed my hair but I have brushed my teeth. It saves a lot of money and discomfort if you remember to brush your teeth. I have taken on the appearance of the female Purple Ronnie without the bow or the smile and with a healthy abundance of mad-scientist hair. I am just about to put the kettle on. The tea will make me feel a little more like a human being and a little less like Chewbacca. My room is a mess, the flat could use a clean and the Lord only knows what that is growing on my bread.

For obvious reasons, the curtains stay firmly closed.

You will just have to take my word for it when I say that this is not the usual state of affairs on a Sunday morning. The reasons for this Sunday’s lack of enthusiastic non-working day activity are thus.

I was woken at 7am (remember, this is Sunday, a day of rest or at least a bloody lie in) by the duty manager at my local shop. You have to imagine that she has the most obnoxiously screechy and loud voice you have ever heard, because she has. This morning’s scream was, “I don’t want any semi-skimmed (oh, really). I cancelled the order (congratulations). You know how many we got last week (no, no please do tell me, I am aching to know how many you got last week). ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT!”

One hundred and eight pints of milk. My God.

The shock of imagining the 108 pints of milk just now has made me make another cup of tea. Perhaps that was her plan all along. Let’s scream this fact out as loud as possible really early in the morning so that all of the neighbourhood would wake from their deep slumber and yearn for not one but a second or possibly third cup of tea. Then all will realise they do not have enough milk and rush to the shop to find a glorious holy grail of 108 cartons of semi-skimmed. She will look on in a self-satisfied manner, a job well done.

I, of course, only drink skimmed milk.

You may think that this is a bad start to the day but this is nothing, nothing, compared to the next interruption to my milk induced nightmare half-sleep. At about 8am, I am woken yet again to a sound like nothing in this natural world. It was a scream so terrible that Veruca Salt herself would have been shocked to silence in its wake.  The small girl next door was apparently in awful, hideous distress. If I were a woman of action, I would have jumped out of bed, ran round there, punched the reason for the screaming in the fork and rescued that poor, poor child from the terrible doom that would have become her. Instead, being a woman of thought, I listened to what she was actually screaming. It turns out that the child wasn’t next door but below me in the hairdressers. She didn’t want to have her hair cut. She really, really wanted to go home.

I was with that child all the way. Please dad, please do take her home. Take her home, right now.

Eventually the protests ceased, perhaps she was indeed taken home or Up, Up would have been even better, and I fell back into a semi-slumber dreaming of Sweeny Todd’s Chocolate Factory.

I finally woke again at 11am. So, here I am clinging on to my second cup of tea and thinking vague thoughts of going for a swim or a walk to wake me up completely.

And this is why I am very proud of our GB Olympic team, medals or none. If they can rise on a Sunday to compete in spite of abundances of semi-skimmed, screaming children and all the natural adversity of life in the UK then they deserve to be third in the leader table.

I think I will go for a swim. I haven’t really exercised for a month or so and that makes me look a little more like Jabba the Hut then I intend. After I just check that it isn’t children’s swimming time though, I really couldn’t stand the screams.