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Redster: Nearly nine

Cutester: Five and a half

Olympic Parade

We didn’t make it to the victory parade. There was a last minute missive passed by word of mouth from the head teacher in the morning to say we were allowed to take the kids out of school to see it, but we mums looked at each other, Mondays planned out in our heads, and decided we had closure on the Ympics* already. Then the victory parade came to us, in the form of red, white and blue smoke billowing up from the horizon as we made our way to swimming after school, followed by the Red Arrows suddenly appearing overhead, still in formation, and zooming past to the north. That was nice. Like the opening ceremony; we didn’t see it live, as we were camping, but that morning at 8.12 people began to appear at the entrance of their tents, banging spoons on saucepans or tringing bicycle bells. It was goose bumping; a wordless church-bell-like ringing in of something bigger than us all.

We had tickets to see some women’s hockey at the Olympics, and for the Paralympics we went with the Very Best Red Headed Friend and her parents to see dressage at Greenwich Park. The hockey was good – the whole experience of being in the Olympic Park – the teams we chose to support winning – the Cutester’s wandering attention being rescued by Mexican waves. Nanny was a real live Gamesmaker, a proper Ympic volunteer with a uniform and everything, but she didn’t have tickets to our match. She nobly decided to join us on our 5am start, in order to come with us then shop at Westfield next door. Being Nanny, as soon as she got to the shopping centre she got into conversation with a complete stranger who turned out to have a surplus hockey ticket. We had no idea til she sailed past us in one of those mobility buses…
Nanny speeds past

The Paralympics have been a triumph and I’ve loved everything about them; I now find myself looking around me in the supermarket for people with missing limbs so I can admire their athletic physique. Being in Greenwich Park was stunning, where you have the Thames as the backdrop to the dressage arena, but I’m sorry to say it was wasted on the Redster. She’d been promised dancing horses, and when dressage (for this category, at least) turned out to be horses either walking or trotting in meaningless directions, and not an amputee in sight, she perhaps understandably felt somewhat ripped off. (‘What’s wrong with him, then?’ went the commentary from the children behind us as each rider appeared, while their parents offered fumbling explanations.) Especially when the VBRHF has a Mandeville, and the Cutester has a GOLD Wenlock, and she has neither, and the Ympic shop closed before we even got out of our seats afterwards. She finished up having a toddler style meltdown, resulting in a massive headache, and it took four trains to get home – by then 9.30pm – and it was the first day of the new school year the next morning.

And the Boy Redster, one of her best friends at school, got to see athletics finals in the stadium with medal ceremonies and everything. Still, I feel that jealousy would not be in keeping with the Ympic spirit.

*I don’t know if this is a word or not.My phone suggested it when I mis-typed Olympics and it seems like a good collective noun.