School sports afternoon with melted Haribo
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In her official capacity as grandma of the winner of the obstacle race, Lynne gets to go to the school fete
I’ve done my first primary school play as grandma and, following on with almost indecent haste, I have done sports day and the school fete which were craftily arranged for the same afternoon so both events were guaranteed good attendance.
When our kids were at primary school, my friend Jane always took her Sony Walkman to sports day to offset the ennui that kicked in 10 minutes into an afternoon of unrelenting tedium. Let’s face it, if lobbing a beanbag on to a target drawn on the ground was in the slightest bit interesting, it would be a recognised sport by now. It would have been a trial Olympic sport and BBC television, which now dwells in the hinterland of sports broadcasting due, I imagine to being outbid for cricket, premier league football and so forth, would be broadcasting it on the red button.
I confess I have never watched anything on the red button, I’m not even sure where my red button is.
Back to school sports c.1990. After each non-competitive element the children would move on and parents would traipse around the school field behind their offspring, hardly daring to imagine what delights were in store...
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Happily, things have changed since then, five-year-old George was in proper races with proper placings. Thus he wore a sticker for being first in the obstacle race and 4th in the running, in his age group. Points were accrued to the four school houses.
I arrived from the north in time to see the egg and spoon race which, when I was a girl, was prone to corrupt practices such as securing the egg on the spoon by crafty use of the thumb.
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While George sat with his class, wearing his stickers with pride, three-year-old Wil and his little friend, were dismantling a straw bale (later to be part of the fete’s coconut shy), one straw at a time. The next time I looked, they were rifling through a handbag. I put a stop to that and gave Wil a stern talking to... the words “water” and “duck’s back” spring to mind.
Once school was out, the revels began. There was a tombola, penalty shoot out, soak the year-sixes, teas, ice lollies and, as rewards for good efforts, industrial quantities of Haribo, in individual bags, had been brought in to distribute among top-performing participants.
The weather was a factor and I, with the benefit of hindsight, I would not recommend leaving packets of Haribo in 30° of direct sunshine.
Also heat-affected was the challenge to cut up a chunky bar of chocolate with a knife and fork. Softened by the extreme temperatures, it was simply a matter of eating a lot of chocolate with very little skill involved.
Both George and Wil took three shots at goal where one of the older children was the goalie. And here I must pay tribute to the young goalkeeper who allowed the ball to trickle over the goal line despite it’s progress being so slow, he could have had a cup of tea and a biscuit and still returned in good time to save it. What a star.
Inevitably, there were dads who took the whole thing more seriously and sent zinging shots into the top left corner of the net – no doubt hoping to be spotted by Gareth Southgate’s talent scouts.
My role was that of finance director, supplying enough currency to facilitate quantitative easing.
I finally got to see the musical Hamilton - it is one of the West End’s hottest tickets. Housed at the Victoria Palace theatre tells the story of Alexander Hamilton who was one of America’s founding fathers and founder of the country’s financial system. It is a sung-through show featuring very clever rap lyrics and some memorable songs as well as sending this member of the audience home with painful knees. Whoever commented that there was restricted legroom in the Royal Circle had it right. Crumbs. I was sore tempted to stretch my legs out, one each side of the person sitting in front of me.
I have received another scam email, this time purporting to be associated with the United Nations... although not the UN’s spelling and grammar department.
“Dear Beneficiary, This is to officially inform you that we have verified you contract/Inheritance/Wining file and found out why you have not received your payment is because you are still dealing with some None Officials/Ex-staff of the bank which made your entire attempt to secure the release of your fund to you, proves abortive.”
These were the opening lines of the email. The sender obviously hoped that any unforgiveable lapses in written English would be overlooked when I saw the amount of money I could claim (if I just gave them a few details of my identity). This amount, apparently, is one million pounds... Meester Bond and the only reason this amount is not already in my bank is because: “it has been unnecessarily delayed by corrupt officials of the Bank who are Trying to divert your funds into their private accounts... We are sorry for PAIN you must have gone through.”
Well, as they say, “no pain no gain” or in this case “no gain”.