Sunday, 8 July 2012

Flaming 'eck!

I realised this week that I was exactly the same age as V - almost to the day - when Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon.

I can still remember being in the living room watching it on a small black and white telly. I don't know whether I was watching it live or whether it was on the news but I remember everybody making a big deal of it.

I didn't know why. I just knew people were on the moon. I didn't realise that was an unusual thing to do, I expected to go there myself one day! But I knew there was something special about it for some reason. And now I'm glad I was allowed to watch as it turned out that it was a big thing - because no one has done it since.

The fact I can remember that is why I am very aware that it is highly likely that V will remember 2012. Her twin cousins being born, the Jubilee and of course the Olympics.

I am making sure I explain exactly what each event is, picking up souvenirs and taking her to what I can, so I felt that it was important that we go and see the Olympic Torch as it made its way through our city.

Mixed feelings

Now this was a big concession on my part. I have mixed feelings about it as in my job it has become the bain of my life. Over the past year, I have had hundreds of emails about it, ranging from where you should put the capital letters when writing about it to who is responsible for recording its every move at any one time.

It has even been hard telling V what the Olympic Torch is, because normally when I talk about it every other word is a profanity.

Part of me wanted to ignore it was happening but the stubborn part, which is most of me, thought I'd be damned if I was going to miss it after all the effort I'd put in to telling the world about it!

Plus, I had no wish for her to accuse me in the future of not taking her to see it so I needed photographic evidence.

Quite peeved

I had always chided my own mum for not taking up the offer of tickets to the 1966 World Cup final when she was about two months pregnant with me - so I hadn't even been BORN!

I remember feeling quite peeved when I found out because I wanted to be able to have said that I was there, sort of, even if only the size of a coffee bean, when England won it. Mind you, this was nothing to how my dad felt when he found out, some 20 years later! He didn’t speak to her for about three days!

I only let her off when I got pregnant and realised how ill she must have been feeling. At two months pregnant I couldn’t have gone to Wembley, or anywhere where you are trapped with lots of people and no easy access to a toilet!

But I had no such excuse not to see the Olympic flame, added to that, it was practically going past the end of our road, so it wasn't actually too much effort and frankly a bit churlish not to turn out!

So, in spite of myself, I was actually quite excited about it by the time I burst into the living room, announcing, rather over enthusiastically, "V, shall we go and see the Olympic Torch?"

"No thanks," she said.

"I want to go to Thomasland."

"Tough," I thought, but out loud I said, "Now, come on V, it will be FUN!"

She didn't look convinced but as she is two and I am - older - she didn't have a choice! So, the three of us went to my parents and walked from there with my mum to find a good spot on the route.

'Kissing point'

Thankfully I had actually READ many of the hundreds of emails I had received so I knew that if I saw a group of people standing in a taped enclosure, they were likely to be the friends and family of a torchbearer so that spot would be a "kissing point" of the torch and so a good place to wait.

I was right, so luckily after a 40 minute wait, when V was just starting to get antsy, she did actually have something to see! She had got bored of waving the little flag she was given, and bored of waving ALL the flags that we were given as well. She was even bored of ripping them up!

She was literally just about to kick off when the advance entourage started to come past and as this was lots of people in colourful clothes, singing, dancing and shouting, she was transfixed. Those are her three most favourite things to do!

She stared intently as the flame arrived and as it happened right in front of us, she studied the "kiss", the transference of the flame, hard. "Can you see the fire?" I said. She must have wondered what the HELL was going on. Why are people running in the street with fire - and then passing it to someone else? What was the point of that? You may well ask the same question.

She said nothing. Until she was back in her buggy. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she said, "Mummy. That was fantastic!"

So, job done. Not only had we all witnessed an historic moment, but V loved it. And she ate all her tea to boot. Olympic Torch - if you give my daughter an appetite, you can come past whenever you want!

I have to do it all again tomorrow albeit in a work capacity and without a toddler in tow. But come 2pm, when the flame crosses the border into Oxfordshire and out of my remit - I will be deleting a very large number of emails!

No comments:

Post a comment