Tag Archives: olympics


Candice: Yes that says gold, not Goal for those of you in to football.  Think in more of a Spandau Ballet stylie (speaking of which, have been dragged to see them twice and actually had quite a good time but always full of people older than me trying to relive their youth. lots of air punching and arms round shoulders)

Anyway, I posted last week I was on the look out for a gold box postbox.  Well as you can see I found on in Alcester, just down the road.  It’s the box of Nick Skelton, Olympic horsey type person.  Apparently there has been abit of a ho ha about this box, as it’s near Skelton’s house but the town he was born in, Bedworth, Cov, kicked up such a fuss they have one too.

We pulled up on a damp afternoon in the town, nipped out, did the honours and then turned round to find four other groups queuing to do the same.  Hum, I know we are trend setters, but….

According to my friend, this one looks like a gold Dalek.

I then went home and painted my nails in a gold stylie with added crackle effect. So I was really feeling the GOLD rush post Olympics.

Let’s be serious, I wasnt really, I was doing what everyone does.  Procrastinating.   We all do it, and some of us could win an Olympic gold at it.  I have to say I’m not great at getting down to things if I have too much time on my hands.  One small job can fill a day.  But, if I’m busy, I get 10 things done.

There are some great stories in this article on the BBC website, entitled “Epic tales of time wasting“.  Discovered whilst trying to be busy at work (actually not by me I must add).

Ask any writer what they did today, and if they were faced with a lie detector test most would say, “Procrastinated, mainly”.  So here’s to us all finding time to fill the day, and now I’m off to weigh the cat….

PS:  My husband has actually done this while working from home. and emailed me to tell me.

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Filed under Candice, Writing

Follow the golden brick road

Olympic medalsPhil: I promise this is my last attempt to jump on the Olympic bandwagon. Before I give it a rest, there were a couple of moments in the whole jamboree that gave me pointers for our efforts.

The first was an interview with Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling and the man all Frenchmen hate. He explained why we Brits are better on two (especially round) wheels than anyone else. Put simply, he and his team broke a cyclists life down into tiny little chunks. Then they looked at each chunk to see how it could be made a just a tiny bit better. Although each improvement was very small, together they added up to a big improvement.

As an example – hand washing. You wouldn’t think this makes much difference, these are bike riders after all not surgeons and if you look at cycle couriers, they don’t look the most hygienic people in the world but seem to work the pedals OK. Apparently though, proper hand washing means less illness. Not big illness, but the sort of “under the weather” feeling that for most of us means hiding behind a computer at work but for the Hoys and Pendletons adds hundredths of a second to a lap and keeps them off the podium.

Translating this to The Book, that means going through each section of text and seeing how it can be made just a little bit better. If every page is tighter, faster and funnier, the end result is happier readers. Detail matters.

The second lesson came from Samantha Murray who won silver in the modern pentathlon’s post event interview.

“If you have a goal, anything you want to achieve in life, don’t let anybody get in your way because you can do it. There are so many people and so many things that are trying to set you back. Find a path that you want to take in life and follow it and stick to it. If I can do it, I’m a normal girl. Anybody can do anything that they want to do.”

‘Nuff said.

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Filed under Phil, Writing

The unreal worlds of Usain Bolt and Bilbo Baggins

London 2012 Olympic Stadium

Phil: According to Twitter, in every Olympic event, alongside the competitors, there should be a normal person taking part to show just how amazing the athletes are.

Imagine the scene – Usain Bolt sets off in lane 4 for the 100 metres. In lane 9 (refered to as the “slow lane” by the press) I start running as well. 9.something seconds later, Bolt is jumping up and down on the finish line. 30 seconds later he’s swathed in the Jamaican flag and doing the lightening bolt pose while I’ve sat down on a tartan travelling rug half-way along the track for a rest and perhaps a refreshing cup of tea and cake. Wouldn’t that be a good idea ?

(Note: It has to be me being average. Candice could actually run that far properly and anyway would probably give Bolt a look before the starting gun that says, “Run faster than me buddy and you’ll need a rubber glove to retrieve your medal.)

The thing is, that without this “improvement”, all the runners exist in their own special world. You look into the bubble and don’t see unfit and chubby reality, just lithe, toned and healthy humans. It’s just like reading a book and being asked by the author to forget about the world outside the page. Tolkien painted The Shire so well that anyone immersed in the story is filling their heads with a mental picture. Should a reader be muttering, “There are no such things as goblins or elves.” than he or she isn’t going past chapter one.

If real people do wander into the story, such as in the Chronicles of Narnia, the plot relies on the imaginary world overpowering the real world like a gold medal judo player. Those kids had to quickly become part of the fantasy – mind you, entering the world via the back of a wardrobe is a pretty good start !

For a story to work, the unreal world has to exist. In a book, initially it is in the writers head. For the Olympics, it’s in a stadium. Both have a rarefied atmosphere that can’t exist outside its special container. Back in the real world, athletics is hard work and pain and training and sweat and early starts. Even Jessica Ennis goes to the supermarket. Outside a writers head, the imaginary world is merely scribblings in a notepad and (in our case) chats in pubs, cafes and occasionally offices but inside it, real people live eventful lives.

Both (hopefully) culminate in success and adulation, either with medals or a prominent place in a Waterstones window and best of all, the one I’m involved in doesn’t require wearing  Lycra.


Filed under Phil, Writing