Sunday, April 29, 2012

Under Siege #2

Of all the things I am dreading about the Olympics, this is what I am dreading most.

About 5 months ago, I dreamt that my Dad and I were walking along the Greenway past the Olympic stadium and I heard this awful screaming noise, I looked up and I saw a plane crash into the ground and then come sliding towards us and it was coming very fast. I woke up screaming 'RUN RUN' because this is what I was screaming to my Dad in the dream but he wasn't running because he couldn't (and actually, in real life, cant). I know it was a dream, and of all the dreams I have had, good and bad, none of them have come true. But then last month, I read an article about proposals to put surface to air missiles at Shooters Hill and Blackheath to secure against any terroist attacks during the Olympics. This creeped me out, I can tell you.

It then got me seriously thinking about what would happen in the unlikely event they would need to be deployed. The Olympic park is surrounded by houses, apartments, shopping centre's and busy main roads, and it frightened me to think that they would seriously consider it at all.

Now they are talking about putting missiles on blocks of flats. How the hell can they justify that? I know we cannot be complacement and need to take security seriously, but really, how can this be a viable solution?

Tell me where I can protest because I am not happy and in fact rather scared. Yes it's unlikely, but so were the attacks on the world trade centre............................

I have no choice but to be in Stratford during the Olympics and I now seriously wish I did.

London Marathon

A few years ago I took Kai, who was then 4, to meet my cousin at the London Marathon. His wife was running and we decided to meet at Embankment tube to watch her go past. Kai really loved the fact that he could jump up and down, make as much noise as he liked and be generally boisterous as the wheel chairs and runners went past. I loved it too. Being at the 25th mile, I found it really wonderful when someone went past really flagging and the roar of the crowd perked them up to the finish. The atmosphere at the London Marathon is something truely magnificent. It was with this in mind, that this year I decided to go again and take Sian, who is now 4, along too.

I packed some food and off we set to the O2 to pick up the Thames Clipper Service to Embankment. Any excuse to get on a boat, plus you can get a nice coffee and they have toilets on board.

We found a nice little spot by the Tattershall castle and waited for the first of the competitors to arrive. About 20 minutes later the first of the wheelchair users came through, I encouraged Sian to make some noise, but she told me she was shy. By about wheelchair user number 10 she was clapping but obviously bored. Come 11.15 she was hopping from foot to foot as she wanted to go to the toilet. The Tattershall Castle didn't open till midday and there is a distinct lack of toilet facilities, coupled with the fact we were unable to cross the road. I must admit that she was good, albeit I got a dirty look from her every 10 minutes, but Sian is a madam, I am used to it.

Eventually, we got on the Tattershall castle and used their toilets, and out of guilt, I bought a drink. £8.55 for 3 H2O's, so we stayed there and used their toilet to our hearts content. After an hour or so, we decided to go back to watch the marathon but it was obvious that Sian wasn't going to enjoy it at all, so off we went back onto the clipper and went to Greenwich instead. We were supposed to have rain, but the weather stayed fair and we got to sit in the Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark. In all I think we had a good time, it's hard to tell with Sian. Kai is very protective of her so was happy to go along with what she wanted. I will leave you with some pics.
One of the wheelchair racers
One of the athletes
Kayakathon which takes place on the same day
London Eye from the Thames Clipper
One of the other athletes

Trent and Mersey Canal

I have been meaning to write this blog for ages and due to one thing and another have just not got around to it. In March,  I spent a week cruising the Trent and Mersey Canal. We couldn't have been luckier with the weather. Every day was blue skies and sunshine, so much so that I  returned with a lovely healthy glow. We hired a boat from Aqua Narrowboats who advertise luxury boats and it was a lovely lovely boat. We cruised to Great Heywood and while there, my best friend Sharon came for the day with Paul and Alfie.

On our first afternoon, we went through Fradley Junction where there are 5 locks close together, as it was a Sunday and wonderful weather to boot, every lock we entered was surrounded by people watching us go up through them, there was my poor friend Chris struggling with locks gates (and occassionally she was offered, and accepted, help) and my poor friend Sue getting more and more embarrassed at being stared at. At one stage, she turned to me and said under her breath ' What are all these people looking at?' to which I replied, 'They are watching to see if we are going to sink the boat'. Thankfully I didn't but they had lots of questions and at one stage a lady asked if she could come on board and have a look, which we allowed. She was very impressed with the facilities and we gave her Aqua's number so hopefully she persuaded her husband to give it a go.

I was remembering our first ever narrow boat holiday, which you can read about in the archives, and laughing at the fact that if we saw a narrowboat approaching way up the canal, we would all go into spasms of panic and usually end up across the canal. This time I was complimented on my steering in tight corners, mostly by ladies. (Why is it that most of the ladies do the locks while the men steer?) The men tended to give 'advice' like: You should be in reverse now. Me : I am.....but I take it all in good part and realise they are only trying to help. One lady in her boat on a private mooring just past Hunts lock stood with hands on her hips, shaking her head while we had the audacity to moor up opposite, but after a hot day cruising I was tired and wanted to eat in the pub back up the canal. Shame she wasn't in her boat the next morning, when returning from the rubbish point, Sue and I saw that the boat had come off it's mooring in the front and was spread across the canal. Chris, who was still on the boat, was totally oblivious to the fact and only noticed after I ran back to the boat calling her name and got her to throw me the rope. Mrs hands on hips, head shaker would have positively had a fit seeing that we missed clumping her boat with our bow by about 2 inches.

Here are some pics of our Trent and Mersey adventure

misty morning
Fradley Junction

Carved Bench showing some history
A Dragonfly bench
Sue and Chris relaxing after a busy day