Friday 22 May 2009

Memoirs of a Marathon - How could I have done it without you?

To the Cheshire girls in all their fake tanned glory
With streaked blond hair and make up awry
With “Daddy’s booked us supper at the Ivy!”
And champagne on ice you really should try me
To the men who ignored it and the boys who couldn’t help it
And the clitter and the clatter
Of the train full of chatter
As it rattled its way further and farther
Silence loomed and so died the laughter
To the back streets round Greenwich full of hope and ambition
Of the boasting and preening
Of the Vaseline and sun screening
For the shade of sweet Spanish Chestnut on the uphill walk
The hum of humanity and chastened talk

To the Conductors, the Guards, the Marshals and Scouts
For the banter and the cheers putting fear to rout
Of the queues for the loo and all that endless waiting
Last minute stretches and anticipating
For the news on the tannoy of the official start
Then the waiting again ‘til its time to depart
Slapped in Pen 9 right at the back
“Move over Darling, cut us some slack!”
Squashed by a donkey, squeezed by a pear
Isn’t that Superman just over there?
Scuffling, shuffling, retying laces
Hoping to find some more familiar faces
Then the realisation that the crowd is thinning
There’s the start line and our marathon is beginning.

To the boys and the men and the girls in the bushes
Giggles and laughter cannot spare your blushes
Caught short at the start I couldn’t help grinning
An army of backsides saluting the beginning
Past the chapels and churches
And kids on their perches
A sprinkling Holy Water to make you run quicker
Blessings from the Fathers, the Rector and Vicar
Past trumpeters and cheerleaders
And transvestite speeders
Clapping and calling
Hallooing and caterwauling
On up past the Barracks and down the far side
Feeling quite good now and into my stride

To the Rhino, The Nurse and good old Tobermory
Paddington, Rupert in all their fine glory
Panting and puffing and pushing on through
Each plodding resolutely one of the few
High fives and low fives
Things to make us re-vive
Madness, Survivor and Don’t Stop Me Now
I start to sweat and to mop my brow
Past pubs and clubs and backyard parties
Handed out sweeties and half melted smarties
Over pingers and bleepers
Are we speeders or creepers?
Now under dark bridges with fantastical drummers
The sky, now so blue, like the height of full summer

To the ones who ran in the memory of others
Of the brothers and sisters, of fathers and mothers
“Running for Emily” “Running for Dad”
“I’ll never forget you – I’ll make you glad”
The amputee soldiers ran nevertheless
The roar of the crowd was unceasing ceaseless
Willing them, urging them, forcing them on,
Their rights to be a hero, a conclusion forgone
Running for the animals, running for the kids,
Running for the blind and those on the skids
Water Aid, Arc, Epilepsy Action too
Age Concern, Scope and Dreams come true
To celebrities and showmen, to Pete and to Jordan
For keeping your cool: “Respect for you. Yo Man!”

To the ones who sprayed water on a baking hot day
Our bodies sang relief what more can I say?
The sun was relentless beat down on our heads
Our legs felt like iron and our feet like lead
Pain now set in and joints they were creaking
Our throats so dry we didn’t feel like speaking
Over Tower Bridge now we come face to face
With those who are running a much faster race
Our thoughts they turn blacker we’re only half way
So what does it matter if we walk part o’ the way?
Walking or slogging
And limp start jogging
Now we face demons of all our own making
To run or to stop: it’s our choice for the taking.

To the girl in the pink dress who called out my name
How much you did help me to rekindle the flame
Exhausted in body I could hardly reply
I gave you a thumbs up as I struggled on by
I started to dig deep down deeper than ever
To find in myself a reason whatever
Though tired and lonely and aching and more
I picked myself up from down on the floor
Now my legs started pumping
And my heart it was thumping
From a walk to a jog
To a constant hard slog
Each yard it got better and better and better
The girl in the pink dress: I’ll never forget her.

To the drink station volunteers and gallant first aiders
The homeowners, the publicans and East End traders
To the woman who offered the cheese and ham sarnies
You pitied us all and thought us all barmy
You chattered and nattered and cheered us along
“Keep going there luv the end’s now not long!”
To the singers and bands, the DJs and jocks
For Up Town Girls, Sex Bomb and heavy metal rock
How you kept us all going
Even when we were slowing
Chanting and clapping
Singing and rapping
Calling our names shouting for more
The roar of the crowd is hard to ignore

To the last half mile of this very long run
It’s been quite exhausting and well…really great fun!
Now there here just ahead of us rises Big Ben
Towering over the multitudes and the policemen
Cordoned and guarded we’re funnelled on through
Tamils on the left of us calling for their due
Tourists on the right of us cheering us on
“Move your self girl - get a move on!”
A runner on one knee
Calls will you marry me
The woman in the yellow dress
We all hope she said yes!
Now up past the Palace in glorious sunshine
And there just ahead of us is the finish line.

To my sponsors and their generosity
Because they know me or out of curiosity
It was done in just five hours and thirty-six
No cheating I promise and no tricks
Each step, each yard, each mile
I will remember all and smile
Now to the best bit of the day
To Caroline what can I say?
A bath was drawn, champagne was served
It was far more than I deserved
And so to family
And so to friends
I’ll thank you now as I thanked you then
I’ll thank you all again and again and again.

Monday 18 May 2009

The Wonderful World of Disney…

It has come to my notice that my boys are brand aware. I know, it is not something I should boast about nor is the fact that at a recent Birthday Party when the entertainer was doing guess the TV show tunes my eldest knew the lot within a heartbeat of each starting.
As The Boy got faster and faster at guessing, the party got quieter and quieter and all the other parents started to look around for the bad Mom in their midst. I admit I tried to disown him and pretend he wasn’t mine but when your eldest is doing so well and winning for once in his short life the battle between your chagrin at the fact that now the secret of your parenting technique is well and truly out and your pride and natural competitiveness in the fact that your son is winning, is short.
With everyone now glaring at me and condemning me for my obvious lack of parental control I held up my hand and admitted that yes my modus operandi on the Mummy front was to plonk him in front of the telly at every given opportunity. I will never forget the picture of my beaming son as he clutched his green balloon poodle – his prize for being the best. As for the looks I got from the other parents – I just put that down to envy. Not everyone’s child can be as gifted on the musical front as mine. Lionel Blair eat your heart out he’ll name that tune in one!
Now Bog Boy, my youngest, has also shown a marked proclivity to be able to do a similar trick, in that he is able to name the myriad of film and TV production companies based on the fleeting images at the beginning of the programmes and films he watches and with a disconcerting adroitness either sits down and gets comfy or dismisses the entire programme based on his experience of the production company in question.
So it was with great trepidation that I slid in a new DVD on a wet Sunday morning that had been sent for our family’s delectation as members of Think Parents.
I should not have worried for as soon as the credits came up and the familiar overuture started both boys cried out in unison: “Disney!”
For the next hour and a bit they were entranced by Adam Sandler as the story telling hero of Bedtime Stories while both parents blearily tried to keep up with the tale sipping strong coffee to ward off the effects of the night before and trying not to snort with laughter at the more adult digs and even the more puerile ones involving snot monsters.
And it got me thinking should I be concerned about my boys and the fact that they seem to watch way too much TV etc? Surely its not normal for them to be able to rattle off TV show tunes and production companies with such apparent ease I mean they are only six and three!
Then I thought about my own upbringing. I remembered all too clearly the excitement of watching The Wonderful World of Disney and of how I would be transfixed by the fairytale castle in the opening credits and shouting at my parents to come quick as it was starting. In those days it wasn’t cartoons or films on the show but natural history about the animals: the Grizzly bears and their cubs. I would be lost for the hour the show ran and even today some 35 years later whenever I hear the music a sort of warm comfy feeling washes over me.
And yes on Sunday morning we all of us tried to guess the movie from the clips at the beginning of the DVD. I’d like to say I won but I think I was pipped to the post by the Boys. And do I worry about it? Do I feel I have to apologise? To be honest not really. I like to think that when my boys watch TV/DVDs etc they are discerning and go for quality not quantity – it’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

Go on you know you want to...


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