So a few months ago after failing to get my Olympic tickets and getting all glum and very unpatriotic; I get a call out of the blue from my 70 year old Dad: "Fancy going to the Olympics then?"
"Errr yes please!"
And being as he's my Dad it wasn't just me, it was my boys and my husband as well. A girl's just got to love her Dad.
My Dad is an ex-military man and this wasn't just going to be any old foray into the London 2012 experience it was going to be a major operation done with precision and plenty of prior preparation
Luckily, I didn't have to worry too much about that initially; but when it came to letting Grandpa and my eldest go off together for the Fencing at Excel I swiftly apprised the situation and realised that I had to make sure they were both well prepared, much to the embarrassment of my son on the packed DLR train to Custom House!
Firstly Grandpa had had grave misgivings about the whole taking-his-grandson-to-the-Olympics-thing following a rather disastrous Sunday crabbing at Walberswick where The Boy was rather disgracefully behaved showing off to a mate.
Then after a marathon Monday watching Archery, Weightlifting and a walk in the incredibly beautiful Olympic Park, followed by yet another action packed day watching Volleyball and TeamGB ladies football versus Brazil, I realised that possibly Grandpa may be a tad exhausted when faced with dealing with a nine year old.
So what do I do?
Remember exactly what my father always says - Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Perfomance.
First I realise that I have to get The Boy to London the night before his excursion to cut down on travel time, avoid us arriving late and causing my father a heart attack, and ensure that both protagonists start the day at roughly the same time having had a good breakfast - one is always more grumpy on an empty stomach!
Then I ensure that The Boy knows how to use the emergency mobile to call home if there's trouble. I have visions of them losing each other and fret that I will have to train it in from Suffolk to fetch either one of them from the authorities.
To limit possible losing each other situations I make them both a picnic so that they can physically stay in their seats the whole session. And of course NOT lose each other.
I repeatedly tell The Boy that he must keep an eye on Grandpa the WHOLE time and that if Grandpa suggests they move in a certain direction to go with him even if it seems wrong.
Me: "Just stay with him OK?"
The Boy: "All the time?"
Me: "Yes, all the time."
The Boy: "Even if he goes to the loo?"
Me: "Especially then."
The Boy: "Gross!"
I give the boy a look and he knows I mean business.
I think I covered every eventuality. Every conceivable situation that could arise. I feel confident that they are prepared. I even personally escort them to the tube station and right on to the DLR heading to Beckton which means they do not have to get off apart from at their own stop - Custom House.
It is a perfect military operation.
Then just as we reached Poplar a stop before I needed to leave them I realised with horror that I had wrapped Freda's Fruit Cake in bacofoil.
Immediately I had visions of my father being arrested on suspicion of trying to bring a suspect package into the Olympic venue. Of Freda's Fruit Cake being blown up on the spot by security, my father arrested, my boy bereft and alone at the Excel with no means of contacting me.
I grabbed the picnic bag and frantically rummaged around to locate the package. I can tell you this is extremely difficult on a packed train and I didn't dare bring the cake out in case I caused a panic. So I did it all by feel and it must have looked so odd! I heard over the tannoy the imminent arrival of my stop. Like some demented escapologist I triumphantly withdrew the tin foil from the cake and hastily stuffed it in my pocket just in time.
I don't think my father was any the wiser but my boy just looked at me and mouthed: "You. Are. Such. An. Embarrassment!"
I think they'll both be OK but me, well if anyone looks at the CCTV I'll be the one arrested for suspicious behaviour!