Paralympic heroes, Greenwich mean time and making dreams come true

How amazing were those Paralympic superstars?!!  We had tickets in the aquatic centre last Friday and the experience was totally awesome.  There were no losers in that pool, that’s for sure.  We witnessed heroes competing to win medals; no inhibitions, no egotism, no self-pity, just pure determination, pride and wonderful achievement.  It was humbling to watch. I spend a fair amount of time at a centre for people with neurological conditions and have friends in wheelchairs and with varying degrees of mobility.  I rarely hear grumbles from anyone there and let’s face it, none of us – however healthy we may or may not be today – knows what tomorrow may bring. Those athletes have overcome adversity to become the best of the best, and there’s a lesson there for all of us. “Count the stars, look how they shine for you.”

On a similar theme, Oli was helping to raise money for The Dream Factory this week.  I’ve spoken about inspirational women before, and Avril Mills is definitely close to the top of my list. Living through the worst nightmare any parent could face, Avril has selflessly dedicated her life to making sick and disabled children’s dreams come true.  She’s turned her own heartbreak into happiness for others, and I’d like to publicly say thank you. 

Yesterday’s trip to Greenwich craft market brought to mind a long forgotten (selectively repressed?) memory of a holiday in Marbella.  A friend from the 80s booked a flat with his girlfriend for a summer of sunshine and sex.  (No, his name was David, but it wasn’t Deedub.)  As it turned out, their relationship ended before the tickets arrived.  Not wanting to miss out on a beautiful apartment overlooking the harbour he suggested to the ‘girlfriend’ that they still go, but each take a friend.  She readily agreed, obviously thinking it was a chance to win him back, and probably planning to palm her friend off with Dave’s.  Only instead of the expected male friend, Dave took me… and Gill!!  The girlfriend was not amused and I can still see the look of horror on her face as we stepped off the plane.  The madness that ensued that summer was mitigated by four factors: the amount Gill and I laughed, Queen in concert, and meeting Patricia from Greenwich and her son Asher Luke Lovelock.  He was very cute and Gill will be shocked I remember their names.  Anyway, we stayed in touch for a while and they invited us to dinner in their Georgian town house in the heart of historic Greenwich. 

My point is (you must have been hoping there would be one…) in today’s world, we would have been Facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts and regular email buddies.  I still have a letter in the loft from the Lovelocks, along with an abundance of correspondence that Gill has wisely advised me to burn… weird and wonderful postcards from all around the world, letters on yellow airmail paper from people I don’t see now, and some that I do.  You see, without social media we eventually lost touch.  There are people who criticise Facebook as limiting people’s social skills, but this story proves how it does, in fact, enhance our ability to sustain friendships, really becoming a social necessity if we want to keep up.  It makes our lives more social in ways that we could never have imagined when we danced on the beach drenched in Hawaiian Tropic, with Freddie telling us: “One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal; one golden glance of what should be. One shaft of light that shows the way; no mortal man can win this day.”  How appropriate then, that I’m watching the Paralympics closing ceremony as I type this.  Dreams… goals… prizes… extraordinary people who leave lesser men and women standing (in more ways than one); inspirational, motivational, determined and purely amazing.  Tonight, there’s really nothing more to say.  Enjoy your day – and make it count.  @WeekendWitch

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