L is for Lockdown

Today’s post is a bit of flash fiction that came from a writing group prompt. I was delighted it was ‘Highly Commended’ in two different writing competitions. One locally here in South Wales, and one at home in Dublin. Hope you enjoy 🙂

The Perfect End to Lockdown

Kay slammed the boot of the car. “That’s it, Janice,” she said. “You wouldn’t get a bus ticket in there now. So, if there’s anything else, you’ll have to put it on your knees.”

“I think that’s it, except for this,” replied Janice, emerging from the house with a dustbuster.

“Well done you. I never would have thought of that,” said Kay, getting into the driver’s seat.

Janice tapped the side of her head. “You see? Watching all those old quiz shows has kept my brain alive.” She opened the back door of the car and a suitcase fell out. Janice picked it up and wrestled it on to the back seat, shoving the dustbuster in and slamming the car door, in one move. “Right,” she said. “That’s definitely it. We have everything.”

Janice got into the car and Kay started the engine. They exhaled a little sigh of pleasure as the engine of Kay’s Ford Escort came to life. “She never lets me down,” she said. “I knew she’d wait patiently.”

“And we’re off,” said Janice, as Kay drove out on to the main road.

Passing familiar landmarks of their hometown, they remarked on them as if they were new. The local pub had had a coat of paint. Much needed, Janice remarked. Old Mr Jenkins’ eyesore of a shed was gone, and a pretty small wooden construction was in its place. The flowers in the park had obviously been tended, and the friends gasped and laughed at the newness of some of the old places.

They drove past Kitty Jenkins’ house and fell silent. Kitty was the only other person they knew who loved crosswords and crocheting as much as they did. They were broken hearted to hear she contracted the virus and died only days later, then was buried with just one or two mourners.

After a while the travellers brightened up again and resumed their lively chat. They came to a junction and stopped at the red light. A police car pulled up in the next lane and Kay could see the occupants looking and pointing to her over-crowded back seat.

“Don’t look at them Kay,” said Janice. “Keep looking straight ahead.”

They sat like statues as the light went amber, then green, and both cars pulled away.

Kay freed the breath she’d been holding. “That was close, that was so close.”

“You know, I’m actually sorry, they didn’t stop us,” said Janice. “I would have loved one of the policemen to say, “And where do you think you’re going madam?” I would have answered, “Anywhere I blazes well want. The Prime Minister said I could.”

Janice cackled with laughter and soon Kay was laughing at the thought of it.

Before long they reached their destination.

“I have been waiting for this day for so long,” said Janice.

“Me too. I can’t quite believe we are here,” replied Kay, looking at the entrance with elation.

There was a queue waiting to be admitted, but they were happy to wait, and when they got to the kiosk, a slightly frazzled looking middle-aged man in a hi-vis jacket snorted a greeting and snapped, “NAME?”.

“Well I’m Kay, and this is my friend Janice.”

“Hello,” Janice sang, leaning across Kay and waving wildly.

“Booking name, I meant.”

“Oh, I am sorry, booked in the name of Kay Cavandish.”

“And what have you got with you?”

“Suitcases in the back seat there. A couple of small bags of electrical items.”

“Anything in the boot?” He snapped again.

“All cardboard,” said Kay still smiling

“OK,” he grunted, “Skip four for the cardboard, electrical items next in six and the cases in the last one, number ten.”

“Thank you so much,” said Kay.

“Yes, thanks for your help,! said Janice throwing herself across Kay again.

As they drove through the main entrance of the Recycling Centre Janice said, “I think the council staff are getting younger and ever more pleasant as time goes on.”

“Oh, I agree, said Kay. “They must be glad to be back here, because I certainly am.”

“Me too,” said Janice dreamily as they approached skip number four.

Starting the 10 Day You Challenge with ’10 Secrets’

So I thought I’d do the ’10 Day You Challenge’ as it seemed like a cutsie thing to do and you know me… I’m all about the cute
*coughs and searches frantically for a picture of a kitten… nope – not one!*

10-days-you-challenge2 copy

But seriously… 10 secrets? I don’t even know if I HAVE 10 secrets. OK I definitely have… more than… but not ones I can put on the world-wide web! Anyway, secrets are meant to be kept aren’t they? I mean if I tell you, then they’re not secret anymore…

My only comfort is that there are no secrets from God – he already knows this stuff 😉

1. Dancing
When I’m alone in the house I often put loud mad music on and dance around. I close the curtains of what ever room I am in – only then can I dance like there’s no one watching;
cos I’ve made sure there’s no one watching!

2. Lip Syncing
Years ago I was in a musical and one of the characters lost her voice on opening night – so I stood in the wings with a radio mic and sang her song – watching her carefully to make it look real. As Michael Caine would say…. not a lotta people know that!

3. Bold Baby sister
My brother was very annoying, so I used to go into his room and hide stuff, move stuff, break stuff  & my ‘pièce de résistance’…I used to turn his radio on but have the volume at zero so the batteries would waste and he wouldn’t know

4. Confession Time
Once I went in the wrong door of a confessional, then someone came in the right door and for a minute I pretended to be the priest, then I ran out the door and out of the church before I could get caught

5. Miss Nomer
My sister-in-law and I share the same name (well we did before I was married). I went for an interview once and half way through the guy let slip that he knew my brother and thought I was his wife… so I kept schtum. (I didn’t get it btw)

6. A third blog
For a good while I had a third blog under a pseudonym. I did it to give me the courage to say all the things that I didn’t have the courage to say here. Also to let me write without the pressure of certain people’s opinions rolling around my head – which were paralysing my writing. When my confidence grew, I slowly retreated from that blog and eventually shut it down.

7. Hiding
I once hid in a walk-in fridge to avoid an over-enthusiastic American missionary who wanted to pray with me

8. Biblical fail
In my 19 years of being a Bible-believing Christian, I have never read the Bible start to finish. I’ve read it all in fits and starts over the years, but I have never successfully completed a Bible reading plan

9. Jail bird
I have a real & terrible albeit irrational  (I hope) fear of false imprisonment – probably brought on by years of watching Prisoner Cell Block H and visiting an ex in prison. I can’t watch stuff about prisons now, never saw Shawshank and probably never will.

10. The biggest secret of all…
One of these isn’t true – it could even be this one!
I’m not telling you which one… it’s a secret :p

Psalm 44:21b …he knows the secrets of the heart

Photo credit: The image above doesn’t seem to come from any central website but can be found on many that have done the challenge. Many use it but there does not seem to be any original source info available

Twitter – the answer to writer’s block (or not…)

So I have half a dozen drafts and can’t finish any of them and I’m not sure where to go next.
Twitter is often able to find the solution to problems (and the cause of a lot more). And it has been successful in helping those in distress. Even though the mighty Ken Armstrong insists that “Twitter ain’t gonna find your cat...”

But I asked Twitter to send me some questions to help me get some writing done and all I can say is… they are… unbelievable

@WodkeHawkins If you were my earrings and have been missing a while, where would you be?
I reckon I would be wrapped in a tissue in the bottom of the inside pocket of the bag you used for your cousin’s wedding last year. Either that or you put them in the trash by mistake and they are now in a landfill. Actually you’re from Kansas…. could the Munchkins have them?

@Daracho what are you trying to write?
Anything.. even this will do! 🙂

@patricguntert what is your favourite word and why?
What a great question! It’s not an easy one to answer though! I have two and both of them are made up.
1. Incredibilised – it’s more than shocked and stunned. Far far beyond surprised but not quite to the point of horrified.
2 Smagloo – I made this one up myself. I use it when I can’t remember the word for something. Which happens a lot!

@cathalkeogh Is it true cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?
No! That is a myth .The reason they don’t eat them is cos they hate the taste of stage make up
2nd question: If all the world’s a stage, where does the audience sit?
On the parcel shelf in you car. Look carefully…. you’ll see them…

@flowersinapot If you were a vehicle, what sort of vehicle would you be?
I would wish to be a big fast car, convertible, red, expensive.
Am actually a very comfortable, old, bashed up estate. With plenty of room in the boot 🙂

@herodfel did you like the movie The Three Amigos
ABSOLUTELY …. My little buttercup has the sweetest smiiiiile
Awh what am I doing! You need to hear the original….  Here you go…

Thanks for all the questions guys… I feel totally oh… what’s the word,…… SMAGLOO! 🙂

The Next Big Thing – celebrating my 100!


Welcome to my 100th wordpress blog post!
And I’m just 100 or so views from 10,000 so this is a momentous… erm… moment for me!
I was wondering what significant wisdom I could bring to you when I reached the century; and perfect timing – here is my The Next Big Thing post.

The Next Big Thing is an online blogging chain. It helps writers promote and introduce other writers and highlight whatever they are working on. There’s a list of questions to answer and then the writer of the moment picks others to pass the torch on to; or ‘tag them’ to use the technical term…

I’ve mainly seen authors do it and the blog posts have made great reading. I was not a little delighted to be  ‘tagged’ by Trish Nugent! Trish is one of my many Twitter connections that I haven’t actually met. If you use Twitter then you’ll know that there are some folk you chat to more than others. And some you get on with more than others! Trish is one of my Twitter friends that I would love to meet and drink coffee (or wine) with. We’re hoping it won’t take too long for that to happen 🙂

Trish is a part-time actress and writer, and a full-time wife and mum. She lives in Dublin and you can read her blog here.

So let’s get this show on the road!

My Next Big Thing Well to be honest the next big thing I need to write is my Masters Dissertation. I’m doing a Masters in Applied Theology with the Irish Bible Institute. Before I start a great literary work, or even a terrible one, I need to finish my M.A.
Other than that I have two blogs on the go. I guest post for a couple of places regularly and I also write a regular piece for VOX Magazine. My first article appeared in the Jan 2013 of WHOA Women magazine in the US and I’m hoping to have a regular spot there too. Details of all that stuff can be found here

What is the title of your book dissertation? Well the title is not worked out yet as dissertation titles can be a bit wordy, but it’s something along the lines of “The connection between the attitude to suffering and ‘spiritual development/maturity’ using the Apostle Peter as an example”

HOWEVER, If I were to write a book it might be called something like, “The Chocolate Conspiracy”

Where did the idea come from for the dissertation/book? The idea came from my own experience really. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I can’t have children. That is the issue that I wrestle with most in my Christian life. I have 27 nieces and nephews and no kids of my own.
I suppose it’s a search really to see if an increase in one’s spiritual maturity gives you a more ‘Jesus-like’ attitude to the sufferings of life. Mine, compared to others are very mild. But they are mine and I haven’t handled the sadness well over the years. I’m hoping that the research and writing of this paper will help me make my journey towards acceptance.

The idea for “The Chocolate Conspiracy” came from a biscuit tin. I was eating a biscuit, from said biscuit tin and I thought… I bet chocolate is actually good for us and that story is being repressed by a South American mafia with connections to Eastern European gangs… Voila! 🙂

What genre does your dissertation/book fall under?
Dissertation – Christian Spirituality
Book – Crime/thriller/nonsense

Give me the preciouuuuussssss!
Give me the preciouuuuussssss!

Which actors would you choose in a movie rendition of your book?
ok the dissertation is NOT going to be made into a film… but the book?

Well obviously I’ll be played by the guy who played Jabba the Hut.
My psychiatrist will be played by Colin Firth (love interest)
And all the baddies will be played by your woman who played the little dark curly-haired barmaid in Cheers. (There’s a ‘cloning’ subplot that I’m in danger of giving away here so I’ll stop.)

What is the one sentence synopsis for your dissertation/book?
Dissertation – “How did the Apostle Peter go from being the man who tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem and denied him – to the man who wrote 1Peter, such as 4v14 ‘rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.’?”

Book – The truth they didn’t want you to know… chocolate is good… lettuce isn’t!

How long did it take you to write a first draft?
I haven’t written a draft of either, but it’s all up here. *taps side of head
The dissertation (20,000 words) will hopefully be researched and written in 2013

What other books would you compare yours to within your genre?
War and Peace, Ulysses and The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Who or what inspired you to write this dissertation/book?
Dissertation – as I mentioned above, my own experience
Book – as I mentioned above, the biscuit tin. It spoke to me, called out to me in the night, followed me on Twitter… I couldn’t escape!

What else about your dissertation/book might piqué you readers’ interest?
Dissertation – If you’re not into theology, probably not much! But I do hope to answer the question!
Book – Hidden within the text will be a DaVinci type code that when found will actually be a bar code giving you 20% off your next purchase of chocolate HobNobs.
(Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability, all rights reserved, please get an adult to help you when using a scissors etc etc )

When and how will it be published?
Dissertation – well there’ll only be three copies. One for marking, one for the college library and one for my ego shelf. After that it’ll be a pdf!
Book – on papyrus, or that sugary paper you can eat!

OK!!! Enough of my nonsense – let me introduce you to my Three Musketeers
Helen Hamill
– IMHO this lady does not realise what a great writer she is! She has two blogs and her honesty and openness amazes me every time I read her stuff.
Helen was born and lives in Enniskillen. She is a trained teacher, musician and singer. She  holds the position of Director of Music with St Michael’s Church Choir. Her choir performed last year for Her Majesty the Queen, and have recently performed solo on BBC Songs of Praise.
She’s mam to 4 brilliant children and has been married to Jimmy for 24 years.
She tweets (a bit too often she says) @helenhamill
4 words to describe her… direct, honest, hardworking and driven.
She has two blogs, one about a medical condition she is battling her way through http://atleastihaveabrain.wordpress.com/ and one she co-writes with her 12-year-old son who is as he puts it “autistic and proud”! http://autisticandproud.wordpress.com/

Reclaim the Voice – now I don’t always agree with this guy. But I do love what he writes. He has made me laugh, shout at my computer screen in frustration, sit silently trying not to cry and think about things I’ve never thought of.
Here’s what he says about his blog… “This Blog, is a place, where words, thoughts, and feelings will exist, who the writer is, is not necessary, let the words speak for themselves, take them as you find them. Sometimes they will be passionate, political, poetic, however, above all,
hopefully provoking.” Take a look for yourself… 🙂 https://reclaimthevoice.wordpress.com/

Carolann Copland – we met not long after I realised that I should be taking writing seriously. Although I haven’t read any of her writing, spending time at her Writing Centre and learning from her has been just fantastic.
Carolann is the founder of Carousel Creates; offering writing experiences to writers of all ages and lifestyles. She has a B.Ed in English and Drama and has been a teacher for thirteen years. Carolann has learned her writing craft under authors such as Siobhan Parkinson, Patricia O’ Reilly, Conor Kostick, Orna Ross, Niall Williams and Claire Hennessy.
She is a mother of three children aged nine to twenty-one.  Through mentoring writers of all ages; from all walks of life; Carolann is happiest when she is sharing her passion for writing.
Website: http://www.carousel-creates.com Blog: http://www.carouselcreates.wordpress.com
Twitter: @carouselcreates


Come Back Soon!


For some reason it’s a week of memories for me.

I told this story in one of my articles for VOX Magazine*. Maybe it has come back to mind because it happened around this time last year, or maybe it’s because my friend has just lost his mum.

Probably a bit of both…

Come Back Soon!
I had to say goodbye to my husband for a month recently. We haven’t spent much time apart so the prospect of 4 whole weeks wasn’t fun!

In the days leading up to the goodbye I managed to hold it together but when we got to the barrier in the airport that only I could pass, I was not able to hold back the tears. We said our goodbyes and as soon as he was out of sight I let go and sobbed like a child.

By the time it was my turn to send my bag through the scanner and walk through the security doorway thingy, I was a total mess. When I walked through, a female security guard stopped me and asked if I was ok. Through the various liquids associated with sobbing, I managed to say that I was ok. “Are you sure?” she said, “Will I get you a chair so you can sit down for a minute?”
“No” I said, “I’m ok really. It’s just that….. I’ve just left my husband and…..” that was as far as I got. I burst into another bout of ‘extreme crying’ (a much underrated sport in my opinion)!

She stared and me and said, “You’ve just left your husband???? Oh my goodness! Let me get you a glass of water or something!”

By now there was a queue behind me, a crowd around me and a conveyor belt of hand luggage going nowhere. I tried hard to explain that I hadn’t actually LEFT my husband, I had just left him behind and REALLY was ok. The other security guards had heard enough and resumed looking sternly at people.

Suitably mortified, I gathered my belongings and scuttled away praying that none of the people who had witnessed the incident were on my flight.

By the time you read this we’ll have been reunited but as I write I’m still missing him. I know that soon he’ll be back but at the moment I’m longing for the day when we’ll be reunited.

I love hugs 🙂

But I’m not the only one longing for a reunion am I? Saying goodbye to people is a sad inevitability of all our lives. Whether it’s goodbye at an airport or goodbye at a graveside – parting is hard. But a day is coming when there will be no more goodbyes, no more partings, no more tears. That is a promise from God – our happy inevitability. And as I wait to be reunited with my beloved, I’m also waiting to be united forever with my Beloved.

I can’t wait! For both reunions 🙂

This article was in VOX Magazine October 2011 as part of my regular column ‘Confessions of a Feint Saint’
This year, for the first time they are producing a Christmas edition. Click here to go to their website.

If I was a poet, surely I’d be aware of it…

When I was on the Writer’s Retreat last Saturday I took one of the suggested titles and made it in to a silly poem. I’m fairly convinced that National Poetry Day strives for higher than this effort but ahh shure… I might as well…

There’s a Mouse in the House (I can’t remember who suggested this title – let me know if it was you!)

There’s a mouse in the house, I can hear it
He’s scratching his way ‘round the floor
I can’t say I’ve seen him
Maybe I dreamed him
Oh janey I hope there’s no more!

this is the only mouse I ever want to encounter thank YOU!

There’s a mouse in the house, heaven help me
I’m afraid of me life of those things
They’re slimy and hairy
And just a bit scary
And think of the germs that he brings

There’s a mouse in the house and I hate him
He chewed his way through me phone cable
Escaping the trap
He left loads of crap
Me nerves are in bits, I’m not able

There’s a mouse in the house, I can’t bear it
Move house, it’ll be for the best
I’ll sell the place cheap
The lot they can keep
I just want to be rid of that pest

There’s a mouse in the house, I’ve gone barmy
I thought I saw two little eyes
They darted right past me
Tiny but ghastly
The power he has at his size!

There’s a mouse in the house – but I’ve cracked it!
I’ve borrowed a cat for a week
It’s the end for that mouse
From now on in this house
There won’t be so much as a squeak

You never know what’s going on behind closed doors…!

These days I’m a pretty poor evangelist! I wasn’t always like this. I used to be brave, bold, fearless. I also used to be obnoxious, arrogant, bordering on downright rude! Shame I didn’t land somewhere in the middle really.

One of my funnier brushes with the coal face of evangelism happened in conjunction with my Dad. He can always be relied upon to move any story into the hilarious/embarrassing category. However it wasn’t him I was trying to win over. I came home from work one day and he informed me that 2 religious men (not priests now…!) had been at the door. They were dressed in suits and ties and had haversacks and clipboards with them. When they asked my Dad if he was interested in religion his reply was something along the lines of… “Oh now my daughter Annmarie is in to all that, she’s not here at the moment but call back next week and she’ll talk to you about it. Sure she’d talk to you for hours about it. Call back when she’s here” and he promptly shut the door.

He was delighted he had dispensed of them with so little time and effort, my mam was DISGUSTED that he had invited them back but I was thrilled at the prospect of leading these two poor misguided souls into the light.

It was a few weeks later and I’d almost given up hope that they would come back. Then I saw them out the kitchen window. Two men in suits, clipboards in hand. This was it!!! I ran to the door, swung it open and before they drew breath I said – something along the lines of,

“Now before you start I want you to know that I am a born again, Bible believing Christian. I believe Jesus is the son of God. He is the Saviour of the world, died for our sins, raised from the dead to give us life and if you’re here to offer me a half baked version of this Gospel then don’t bother. And before you start arguing points of doctrine let me tell you that nothing…NOTHING… changes what God has done in my heart and in my life and maybe it is YOU that needs to sort out what you believe about God.”

I stood there, Charlton Heston-like, I could almost feel the staff in my hand and the wind in my hair and I’m sure I heard the distant strains of… “Let my people go!!!!”
After a moment’s silence I looked at the two men for the first time. they were both pale, with their mouths open. One still had his finger in the air where he had not quite managed to ring the bell. The other had a business card in his hand and slowly handed it me saying.. “eh we’re from Alcorn Insurance and… well… we were really just wondering if you’d… well if you might be interested… eh… well a chat about.. well… life insurance? But I suppose you…  you probably don’t think you… need it.”

The following few minutes are a bit of a blur really. But they hurried back down the path and I shut the door  and stared at my shoes for a bit. Sad day when the best your new found faith can do is drive evangelists (and insurance salesmen) away from your door.

My life assurance documents  🙂

I’d love to think that those guys are now leading mission teams to the Peruvian villages and Indian deserts. But I’m afraid I can’t confirm that, it is possible I suppose.

But one thing I’m fairly certain of, they aren’t selling insurance anymore!!!

My Songwriting Career starts here (or not…)

After the success of my hit single “Is that what it’s all about?” The Twoky Kokey I’ve been commissioned to write a song for a Twitter budso @johnmurphy51 to the tune of ‘My Lovely Horse. (If you’re not familiar with this ‘Fr. Ted’ hit just click here to see the youtube clip)
Have you got the tune in your head now? Ok then… here we go!

(oh lovely lovely lovely John)

Oh lovely John
One of Twitter’s gems
Why are you tweetin’ when you should be meetin’ lovely girls?
I want to take you to a singles bar, or maybe to a teadance
Set you up with a nice cailín, & sort you out with some romance

(oh lovely lovely lovely John)

Oh lovely John
Your opinions are strong
Running the country would be easy for you, cos you’re sure you are right….
Even though you’re not ‘Right’…!

*Saxophone Solo

Well nearly always right!

Actually… we’ll have to lose that Sax solo

As promised, a song for ALL my Twitter followers :)

As promised, in celebration of reaching more than 1000 followers on Twitter I have written a song for you all 🙂

I’ve mentioned a few tweeps and would love to have been able to crowbar a few more of you in, but really there aren’t many Twitter names that rhyme with other Twitter names – or that rhyme with… just… words!

I’ve taken a little bit of license with the ‘scanning’ of the words. General rule…  if there is a number at the end of a Twitter name I’ve ignored it for the purposes of (and I use this term loosely…) poetry. The only one that doesn’t apply to is @booksmusic72 – the ‘2’ is crucial for the purposes of (and I use this term even more loosely this time…) poetry.
The stuff in brackets in the chorus is to be shouted out!

And so.. to the tune of “The Hokey Kokey” I give you

A song for my Twitter followers...

Is That What it’s All About?

So what’s on Twitter folks?
Some famous blokes,
strong opinions & some Bible quotes
There’s ‘Cats that look like Hitler’ & some dogs in skirts
Is that what it’s all about ?

More followers on Twitter
More followers on Twitter
More followers on Twitter
#hashtag #retweet

There’s those that love the Left
And love the Right
Or think that politics is all a load of… rubbish 🙂
& half the #irishbizparty’s in Twitter jail!
Is that what’s it all about?

More followers on Twitter
More followers on Twitter (GIVE ME…)
More followers on Twitter
#hashtag #retweet

You’ll find an expert here
from every sphere
Writin’ farmin’, lovin’ eatin’ – Conquerin’ your fears
And anyone who’s anyone is writ’n a book!
Is that what it’s all about?

More followers on Twitter (GIVE ME…)
More followers on Twitter (I’VE GOT..)
More followers on Twitter
#hashtag #retweet

I love @adublinluas
& @ghook’s news
@nettiewriter & @conziesays too
@JohnMurphy51’s my guru, @richjm612’s my man
And they get a big #shoutout

More followers on Twitter (WAIT! WHAT?)
More followers on Twitter (HELP ME)
More followers on Twitter
#hashtag #retweet

And then there’s cool #kevq
@philipnolan1 & @dedewatson too
@jimsheridan replies to me, I’ll have you know
And they’re what it’s all about!

More followers on Twitter (CAN’T GO ON)
More followers on Twitter (NERVES ARE GONE)
More followers on Twitter
#hashtag #retweet

So now I’ve reached 1 K
I want to say
Thanks to my followers, I read you everyday
Well just the ones I follow back cos youse are MAD
And THAT’s what it’s all about!

More followers on Twitter (OH NO I’VE GOT…)
More followers on Twitter (HAVE LOST THE PLOT)
More followers on Twitter
#hashtag #retweet


Sorry for the Silver?

I’m sitting here watching two rowers cry. They’ve worked as hard as they can. They are hardly able to speak, but the few words they are managing to get out are apologies. I couldn’t work out everything they said but it was something along the lines of, ‘we really tried… we just couldn’t… we’re so sorry… we wanted to do it for everyone… I’m sorry… I can’t….’

I’m looking at these two men and suddenly the ‘spirit of the Olympics’ is lost on me. These guys didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t cheat, come last, fall out of the boat, forget to bow before their monarch. They came 2nd! Not in the heats. In the final. They won Olympic Silver and could barely speak with the exhaustion and upset.

Now I am NOT criticising these guys. Well… maybe I am a tiny bit. But I want someone to explain to me why getting silver isn’t FANTASTIC. What is the point of 3 medals if only 1 is worth winning? And why do these guys feel they have let their supporters down?

I watched all the Olympians stride in to that arena with pride at the opening ceremony. It was enough for them just to be there, just to have made it that far! Well it looked like it was. But time after time I’m seeing athletes crying and saying how sorry they are to the fans for not getting a medal, or for getting a medal but not getting a gold one!

Are we not proud enough of them? Are we expecting too much of them? Or not enough?

The motto of the Olympics this year is “Inspire a Generation!” and the definition of Olympism – which is at the head of the Olympic Charter, is “A philosophy of life, which places sport at the service of humankind.” It’s starting to feel as if some of that is being forgotten.

Bert Le Clos. (C) of the photo remains with the BBC

Did you see Bert Le Clos gush over his son’s gold medal!  It was amazing. And it’s ok for the elation to be a tad less for silver and even and little bit less than that for bronze. For those who’ve worked hard for the last 4/6/8/10 years and have missed out on a medal, it must be really tough.

But they shouldn’t apologise and they shouldn’t feel they have to.

I’m not saying we should all sing The Fields of Athenry for an hour, even if our own Katie Taylor doesn’t get anywhere. But she and the rest of the Olympians should know that they’ve already made us proud!