Olympic fever has finally hit our village. It all started when Mr Addington put a very small Union flag in the plant pot that he has placed on his verge to defend it from the rampant tractors that roar around our lanes. The flag really was very small, and placed at exact right angles to the plant pot, but it was Mr Addington’s equivalent of a marching brass band playing ‘Chariots of Fire’ complete with majorettes twirling the Olympic colours.
Next up was Julia, the hedge fund manager, who went to visit the Velodrome, watched Victoria Pendleton power to a gold medal and was inspired. And if you are Julia, being inspired means going shopping. So nobody was really surprised when she appeared in the village cruising along on a wafer-thin road bike, complete with lycra and a space-age cycling helmet. The problem was that her new cycling shoes were firmly clipped into her pedals and for the first few days she couldn’t stop. “I can’t stop!” she’d wail as she was borne past the onlookers outside the village Post Office. “I can’t stop!” she’d scream as she pedalled firmly past people she really wanted to stop and chat to. Presumably she must have stopped when she got home, but she wasn’t much fun to be with until she discovered how to twist her shoes out of their prisons on the pedal.
She hasn’t got it right yet. Frank and me were chatting in the lane this morning and Julia appeared on the horizon, peddling vigorously. She cruised to an elegant halt alongside us, failed to disengage her foot and toppled sideways onto one of the steep banks that line our lanes. Only her pride was hurt, but I don’t think the cycling craze will last far beyond the current Olympics. We retrieved her from the long grass and sent her on her way. “All the gear and no idea,” grumbled Frank. “She’ll be over again at the next pothole, see if she doesn’t!”
Frank is a grump at the moment because he missed the only decent weather for making hay we’ve had this year, visiting his wife’s relations. Now he’ll have to buy some in from Maurice the farmer, and Maurice will gloat.
Maurice is having his own private mini-Olympics at the moment. I was walking the dogs past his farmyard a couple of days ago, and watched him heaving a heavy trailer up onto his tractor’s towing bar. After a couple of false starts he got it in place and leaped to his feet, arms upstretched: “YES IT’S A GOLD!! HE’S DONE IT!!” he yelled. Then he saw me and got all bashful.
Long may the Olympics reign, it’s doing us all around here a power of good!