Thank You Tokyo

They did it. After all the delays, controversies and restrictions that threatened to scupper their hopes and plans, Tokyo successfully managed to host the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, a year later than scheduled. It’s not been without understandable criticism in these extraordinary times, with suggestions that it should have been delayed further, among various other issues, and there were a few athletes and other personnel who tested positive for Covid both before and during the competitions. And the absence of spectators, along with the widespread use of face masks, hand sanitiser and other safety protocols, gave the events a very different feel to usual.

Nevertheless, they still went ahead, and turned out to be a great success, treating us to a lot of incredible sporting action as a result. And it’s all the more impressive given that the competitors haven’t been able to train in the usual way over the past year, often being stuck at home instead of using the normal venues and facilities that would otherwise be available to them. Congratulations to all the athletes and teams who took part, and well done to the event organisers, staff and volunteers for making the events happen.

So I’ve really enjoyed watching the Games – especially the Paralympics of course, but the Olympics were great too. It’s all given us some welcome escapism from the pandemic, despite the constant reminders of its presence and impact. And so I thought I would share some of my favourite highlights. I’m not sponsored by any organisations or people mentioned here, I just want to acknowledge and celebrate just a few of the many amazing achievements of the athletes who I enjoyed watching.

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June & July 2021 Favourites

Hello again! Apologies for not doing a Favourites post last month, but I’ve continued to have issues with sciatica and other little aches and pains. I am a bit better than I was, but I still need a bit of help to get over it and reduce my risks going forward. It’s been frustratingly hard to try and see someone about it, but I’ve managed to book an appointment with an osteopath, and I hope things will start to improve more soon. And for the time being I just need to be careful!

Consequently I haven’t been out much, even after all legal restrictions were lifted here in England on 19 July. And when I do go out, even though I’m fully vaccinated, I’m still sanitising my hands, wearing face masks and socially distancing when appropriate – not out of fear, but out of simple respect for others. We can’t shut ourselves away forever and we do have to learn to live with the virus, but we can’t be complacent or selfish either. There is a balance to be reached. So I hope you’re all staying safe and being sensible, and you’re not being pinged too often with notifications by the NHS Test & Trace app (which I’ve never had as my phone’s too old for it – but I am getting a new phone soon, so that could change!).

In this latest post and video, therefore, I’ll mainly be sharing the entertainment that has kept me happily distracted as usual. But there is also one trip out that I’ll mention, and other bits and pieces too. And I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by anybody I mention here as usual. So I hope you enjoy!

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Olympic Park Walk

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.

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Thank You Rio

Medals & TrophiesIf 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.

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Underground, Overground, Rambling Free

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.

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Journal – June-July 2007

August 2021 Introduction:

Following the excitement of my Spanish holiday, it’s back to regular life again for this next cluster of old journal entries. I’ve combined 2 months together here, as I didn’t write a huge amount for either of them. But in amongst it all I do go out for a little social with my colleagues, buy some more DVDs, enjoy the latest Doctor Who series finale, and talk about various news stories that caught my eye. So I hope you enjoy!

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Journal – July 2005

February 2021 Introduction:

Welcome to another set of my old journal entries. It’s fair to say this was a month of mixed fortunes for the UK, particularly in London, and especially in the first week when so much happened in quick succession. I wasn’t living in London at the time, I was far away in Devon, but the events were so significant and dominated the news so heavily that I naturally wrote a lot about them.

On the one hand London hosted one of the massive worldwide Live 8 concerts, that gave us a lot of entertainment while sending an important message. Plus the city won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, which was fantastic news. But all of that was quickly overshadowed by the bomb attacks on London’s transport network. And if reading about those is likely to upset you, then please feel free to skip some or all of this post as you feel necessary.

There are little updates about me in amongst all of that as well though, relating to my career and entertainment, and there are other bits of news I mention too. So even though some of this isn’t cheerful, I hope you find it an interesting look back nonetheless.

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Journal – August 2004

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!

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