Monday, 30 July 2012

Of The London Olympics

I attended the London Olympics yesterday. It was the ladies' volleyball at Earls Court. I saw two matches in the morning : Algeria v. Japan and China v. Serbia.
It was a long way to travel for just two matches so I decided to try to get tickets for the afternoon games as well. I queued up at the ticket kiosk only to be told that tickets were only available online. So I tapped out carefully on my Iphone all the details required to set up an account only to find that there no tickets for sale. Strangely, the web site said there were no tickets available for the morning session too despite the fact that the hall was only half full. What's really happening with these ticket sales is a complete mystery to me.
The matches were good. I've never really taken an interest in volleyball before so it was interesting to see something new and largely unknown to me.
Each team seemed to consist of very thin ladies on stilts so long and thin were their legs all except one who is rather small. She seems to spend most of her time on the floor retrieving smashes with just about any part of her anatomy that would keep the ball off the ground.
What I found mildly irritating was the habit of every player to high five or at least touch another 2 players after each point whether the point had been won or lost.
Watching the beach volley ball today on T.V it seems the habit is even worse. After each point they high five, they hug, then tap each other! I wonder if they do that sort of thing in mixed volleyball too? I can't imagine us British partaking in all that physical contact - a frightfully unBritish thing to do I would have thought....

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Of Borscht - the First and the Last of It

I made some borscht last night for tea. Borscht is commonly thought to be a Russian soup but it is in fact Ukrainian though the Russians like a lot of it too. It consists of spring onions, vegetable stock, creme fresh, seasoning and an awful lot of beetroot.Oh and you can float a halved boiled egg in it too if you fancy it which I did courtesy of "the girls" of course.
The first time I ever tried borscht was in a hotel in what was then called Leningrad in the early 80s. I had asked the waiter for pepper but for some reason he served me a vodka. Shortly, afterwards I thought he asked me if I enjoyed the soup so I reply "Da, Da" but clearly he had asked me if I wanted another vodka because one then another duly arrived. I don't seem to remember much about what happened after that. It's strange what effect a bowl of soup can have on you isn't it?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Of Rain Lots of Rain

I peeped through the blinds this morning thinking surely it can't be raining still but I was wrong. It was. I checked my weather app which assured me that it would be raining for most of today and indeed the week ahead too. As if to rub it in, my app informed me that London, Dartmouth, Seaton, Helsinki and Moscow are all expecting sunshine today.
Apparently, the Irish RTE weather man has just resigned on grounds of stress. He says it was just too hard being blamed all the time for the bad weather. He claimed that some of the remarks he got from viewers were just damn right abusive.
So how do we take comfort in all of this and find something positive to take away with us? Perhaps the answer is in the old Irish saying "we have better quality rain than anywhere else in the world"!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Of Latvia Lovely Latvia

I was in Latvia over the weekend. I had forgotten what a truly beautiful place this is. The Old Town in Riga is magical with beautiful buildings that somehow survived both the Nazis and the Communists that followed.
Now sadly they must survive only the worst of British tourists on stag weekends.
On Saturday I hired a bike and cycled to the north coast. In Jurmula you can pick up on one of the longest sandy beaches I've ever seen. It seems to go on for miles and miles. It has everything : volleyball matches bouncy castles, cafes, beech bars, restaurants and people out celebrating it seems, just about everything.
 Having had a fabulous lunch on the beach watching the sun split the clouds I went in search of the waiter who had looked after me so well. I couldn't find her and saved the 5 Lat note which was the only change I had. Two minutes later it was gone in a tin held by a lovely bride-to-be who accosted me with her hens dancing their way down the beach and creating huge fun everywhere they went.
What a day!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Of First Thoughts on a First Triathlon

I'm contemplating doing a triathlon at the moment. That's a swim and a bike ride followed by a run. It's the swim bit that bothers me most for I've never been a quick swimmer and I'm easily bored too!
The first (and indeed last) time I ran a marathon was when I was 17. I managed it in under four hours which was quite respectable I thought. I was caught taking the lift to the first floor at college the following morning however, so I must have been in a pretty bad state.
On Monday of this week I swam 40 lengths of the local pool. Later that evening I cycled 15 miles. The run leg I have still to do! What bothers me is that on the day of the race transition takes just a few seconds and not days which I'm allowing myself to at the moment. I wonder if the organisers would allow me at least a sit down and have a cup of tea before the next bit! I could always ask!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Of Team Legal-Island

It was the great Legal-Island Fun Day yesterday attended by hundreds of people who made the most of the three bouncy castles and countless stalls selling everything from home made fudge and cup cakes to lovely photos of the surrounding landscape.
Best of all it didn't rain. Yes that's right. That wasn't a typo. It didn't rain. It rained everywhere else in the UK it seems but not over Antrim.
Legal-Island raised over £1,000 for charity (Tiny Life) so well done Team Legal-Island your CEO Mr BP is immensely proud of you!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Of Books Glorious Books

I seem to be stuck reading five books at the moment. They're all good and very different but I can't let any of them go. They are :

* Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
* Life's a Pitch - Stephen Bayley
* Benjamin Franklin - Autobiography
* The Short Stories of Anton Chekov
* The Jelly Effect - Andy Bounds

What's worse is that there are other books coming "online". Friends have already given me a few that I would like to read and amazon keeps sending me emails with really good suggestions based on what I've ordered already this year.
I think I must book a book holiday and steal away to somewhere quiet and lonely with a bag full of novels, self improvement titles laced with a few classics and return all knowledgeable and wise.