I am not good at packing. Actually that’s not entirely true because in fact I rarely forget anything and I have only had to reorganise my overweight luggage, to the consternation of others in the checking-in queue, about three times. On the first occasion, in a heaving departures hall at Johannesburg airport, I had to jettison some books to meet the baggage weight and be let on the plane.
Tony Nicklinson, who last week lost his fight for the right for doctors legally to end his life, has died. As well as finally giving him some peace, it must be something of a relief to his family who have had to watch him suffer for too long. I cannot even imagine what life was like for him, although I suspect he would have hesitated to describe it as a ‘life’.
All Olympic and Paralympic athletes are inspiring. The blood sweat and tears, early mornings and lack of booze and chocolate they must endure for years is something most of us don’t have anywhere near the willpower to achieve. But there’s inspiring and then there’s astonishing. Not only is South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius the first double leg amputee to compete in the Olympics, to do it he had to take on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
So the Olympics is over. That glorious festival of sporting excellence, made even more impressive because we ran it and won quite a lot of it, has finished. Not only is everyone feeling flat as a pancake, there’s nothing on television and we’ve all run out of things to talk about, apart from how brilliant it all was and how empty life is without it.
Last night I went to watch Japan beat France in the women’s football Olympic semi final at Wembley. Like quite a few people, including, I imagine, some of the other spectators, I have never watched a women’s football match in my life, which is a travesty because it was at least as exciting and far less aggressive than the overpaid and overindulged men’s version.
They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes (unless of course you are one of the super rich and can effectively avoid the taxes). Most of us aren’t particularly prepared for either, although fortunately (or unfortunately) it is almost impossible to forget to pay your taxes.