Ok the Olympics. I have to mention it. In ten years’ time when Snooks reads this he will understand the huge deal this has been. The Games are being held in our city. We saw the torch being carried past the end of our road. We were close enough to touch the runner. We have travelled across the city amid the panoply of Olympics visitors, identifiable not by their foreign tongues (as hundreds of these are already part of our city’s soundtrack) but by their expensive clothes and sensible footwear. We have visited the park (though not bothered to try to get tickets for any events, despite the Loads of Empty Seats row) and we happened to watch live on TV the men’s gymnastics which afforded the country a silver then a bronze medal for the first time in about 100 years. I cheered and Snooks mimicked as the young men leapt and topple-tailed around the place showing that spotty stocky shy teenagers can perform wonders
Speaking of wonders, the entertainment I conjured up for our weekly supermarket shop yesterday was that Snooks was to stand, wait for the starting beep and then sprint while I shopped and counted until he reached the end. His P.B. is 6 seconds. And yes, the joke is Aisles of Wonder.
Snooks was mesmerised by the scenes from children’s literature which I had originally censored as Too Scary and he insisted on watching the towering Voldemort and the roller skating Child-Catcher over and over again. Such was the impact that we are ending each afternoon now with a short reading from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – his first venture into real big boy books.
And speaking of books (you see I did it!), thanks to a tip from a friend we have found further indoor, free, character building entertainment at the local library with Story Lab - a scheme whereby children borrow six books over the course of the summer break and earn stickers on their return after answering a couple of questions about the plot. Snooks is not a stickers kind of boy but does like a chat so being asked by the librarian what he thought of the books is reward enough.
Unfortunately the day we returned Edwardo, the Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World (all about a boy whose bad behaviour gets worse and worse the more he is scolded and improves only when the grown-ups start to praise the best in him) the librarian was so overwhelmed she did not have the time to hear Snooks’ views on it. I, for what it’s worth, thought it merited an extra copy on the Parenting shelves.
So what with all that – with the international hoards travelling on our tubes, with the fabulous walk through the nation’s historical and cultural highs, with the dreams which watching these young athletes will inspire and with the battle between Good and Evil now lodged in his imagination, Snooks' whole world has widened considerably over the last two weeks. And that is pure gold.