After my Southwark Walk on Good Friday, my Hyde Park walk on Saturday, and a wonderfully lazy Easter Sunday, I finished off the long weekend on Easter Monday (17th April) with a stroll around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, which is very local to me. I actually went there with a friend last year, but we only covered a very tiny area as we didn’t spend a lot of time there. So I wanted to have a more extensive walk around, and that’s what I did on this occasion. And even then I know there are bits I missed, it’s so huge.
If you’ve seen my School Days video, you’ll know I used to be a member of a local sports club for disabled people when I was a kid. So, as well as doing sports at school, I would also take part in lots of swimming galas around England, from Darlington in the north, to Plymouth in the south, and lots of other places in between.
There were people with lots of different disabilities at those events, so to try and make things as equal as possible, they would either try and group people with similar conditions together in each event, or the competitors in each race would start at different times (from slowest first, to fastest last), based on their personal best times. The theory being that the finish of each race would be quite close, although often that never really held true.
In any case, I won a lot of medals and a few trophies over those years. And it got to a point where I was offered the chance to train for the national disabled swimming team. But I decided not to take it any further. I wasn’t sufficiently interested or motivated to take it to a more professional level, instead having my sights on things like my exams, university and my career beyond that.
I didn’t even know about the Paralympics back then. If I had been aware of it, and if it had been as widely covered as it is now, and if the right support, coaching and funding had been available, maybe I’d have thought differently, who knows? But at the time, I was more interested in other things. And I don’t regret my decision at all, I’ve been very successful on the route I did take through life. But when you watch the kind of performances that we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks, it’s impossible not to wonder how things could have been, potentially, with the right drive and determination.
This past week I spent a couple of days in London with a friend. Just a brief visit, but we had a lovely time. It was my first time in the city for a few years – I used to go up there two or three times a year when I was a kid, because we had relatives there, but over the past 5-10 years the visits have been much more sporadic. Hopefully I’ll actually be living there soon (crosses fingers), so this was also a preliminary visit to re-familiarise myself with the area and see what it was like getting around the place.
December 2020 Introduction:
Welcome to the next instalment of posts from my Bolt journal. These were my final set of posts on that old social media site before I left, as it had changed a lot by then and I’d lost interest. The fact I was starting a new chapter in my life probably meant it felt like the right time to move on as well. However, I was able to copy all of the posts on to my computer, and continued to keep a personal journal offline from the following month onwards, so I’ve still got a lot of posts I can share with you yet, though I’ll naturally edit out anything too personal of course.
Unusually for summer, I had rather a lot to write about this month. I got my full list of university results while I was continuing my search for work, Dad fell ill and had to go to hospital (he was fine eventually so don’t panic), we had some work done on the house, the Athens Olympics took place, I celebrated my birthday, and I continued to enjoy more new music and DVD purchases. So this is probably my longest journal post so far, and I hope you enjoy it!