Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Kept close to home by a bad chest, I am mesmerised by the Olympics. There`s something about the constant enormous output of energy, usually futile if British, and the hypnotic adulation of the commentators - "a magnificent achievement by Bloggs to finish seventh in the repechage!"

Let`s face it, we Brits don`t do sport. At least when we do, we contrive not to notice it. If you ask any man about his interests he will answer "Sport", and if questioned he will shout "Football!" (Men are given to shouting about sport.)

Now if an African had answered "football", he would mean that he played for a local team and aspired to greater things. If a British male says football is his hobby, his idea of participation involves a sofa with his mates and three crates of lager, in front of the telly.

And we don`t admit to the existence of other forms of sport. Anyone who takes part in a sport not involving a ball is a sad anorak, or, if the sport involves expensive equipment, a posh git, or if it involves horses, a posh girlie git. And the problem is that we are not bad at activities involving equipment and horses.

We are, for instance, quite good at sailing - how amazing for islanders! It gets a grudging coverage on television, resented perhaps because it isn`tseen to be competitive, violent, nasty, fast or involving drink bad language and foul behaviour...........

Well, they haven`t been there.

There`s a rule in racing that if a crew member goes overboard you HAVE to stop and pick him up, or forfeit the race. It has to be a rule. If it wasn`t, race waters would be littered with bobbing heads and echoing with plaintive drowning cries - nothing must get in the way of winning. I was always amazed that there wasn`t a rule about not carrying torpedoes.

As a hard man Vinnie Jones would sink without trace (probably literally) in competitive sailing.

The ways of nobbling your opponent by denying him wind, and therefore forward motion, are many. I rermember crewing for a man with three other women as he employed two of these means and sent the nearest rival scuttering off on a premature and losing tack. He leaned over and shouted graciously to the defeated competitor:

"That`s fixed you, you bastard! Not bad for a crew of bloody women, eh!"

Well, I don`t have to tell you what came next, girls. The crew dropped everything and sat down. The boat came into irons and just wallowed there. Like Bligh he stood there at the tiller, a small man astounded by mutiny, perhaps with visions of floating breadfruit and exile in a small boat........well we could have set him adrift in the rubber dinghy and thrown his lunch in the water after him. It was a slow quiet sail home.

Men who go down to the sea in ships are hard, but the women are made of titanium..

Sometime I`ll tell you about the time I was shipwrecked.

Meanwhile I`m going back to the telly. The Beach Volleyball heats are on......

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