Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Podiums... and potatoes

Ok, I'm not really one for hype.  I was enjoying the Olympics from a distance, catching odd races on the television and hearing updates on the radio, but I knew I wasn't going to see it any closer than that so I didn't worry about it...  However, when my friend Graham very generously offered me his spare ticket to the badminton  I was not going to say no!

We joined the throng (and I think throng really is the only word here) making it's way into Wembley Arena.  There was a football match on at the stadium next door too, so the roads in were packed, but to the credit of the organisers, the routes were well planned out and marked, the volunteers knew exactly what they were doing, and everything ran smoothly.


We watched the women's singles semi-finals and finals, and then the doubles finals between China and Japan, which was really a spectacular match.  Although China were obviously the superior duo they kept making silly mistakes and in the second set Japan were right on their tails.  Having decided to support the underdogs we were all subjected to horrible torture, yelling our support whenever Japan clawed back a point, and then screaming in outrage every time China pulled ahead again.  China won, of course, but it was a fantastic match to watch.

After the games Graham and I had a meal with another friend of mine currently in London, Mark Watson, who is splitting his time between a placement year in banking and practising his favourite thing, juggling.  We met up again the next day too, where he spent a lot of time introducing us to the psychology of street performance.  After dinner, Graham took me along the river near London Bridge, and to a fairground!

I'm sorry, I had to.  I'm a fan :)

London is great to visit.  It's exciting and busy and full of new things, but I wouldn't want to live there.  There's no space, no quiet, not enough green, but even London can't defeat the river.  It was nice to be by the Thames with a friend, a quiet stretch of dark water within the incessant bustle of the city.  

Before I caught the train back there was just time for lunch, and for watching Graham wear a silly hat :)

Thanks Graham!
Back home there were slightly more domestic-sized things to be doing.  Another friend, Caroline, recently acquired an allotment in the town.  The previous tenant hadn't looked after it so it got handed over to her with only a month or so of summer sun left.  Not to be outdone she's turning the soil, weeding it, and planting shrubs and slow-growing vegetables that will manage the winter and be ready to harvest in spring.  I spent my Sunday afternoon helping her trowel over her plots and plant pak choi and winter cabbages.

As we dug we found out that the last gardener here had planted potatoes, and hadn't taken them all with him when he left.  We collected nearly a score of them, all shapes and sizes, and as a thank you for helping her Caroline let me keep them!  Sorted and washed (with the green ones discarded) that's a few dinners sorted.  

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