Tag Archives: Winter Olympic Games

More Olympics – with added Weasels

I’ve spent a lot of today fighting the feeling that I’ve missed out. Here we are in Vancouver for the Winter Olympic Games, and I didn’t see any of it live. That’s fair enough, tickets were as easy to find as Rocking Horse poo, but I also didn’t take the time to go Downtown and feel the atmosphere as everyone got into the Olympic spirit.

I was reminded of all this today because it was the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games. We have a stake in this because Eldest Weasel is a member of her school choir and was going to be singing at the ceremony. She went to the rehearsal yesterday and came back bubbling with excitement but unable to tell us anything about the plans because she had been sworn to secrecy.

Mrs Dim and I had discussed the event and how to cope with it. You may remember that we sat down as a family and watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony…Well, Mrs Dim and I sat down, the Weasels hopped up and down, had fights, asked if they could play on the Wii, asked what was on the other channel etc etc. It didn’t seem fair to expect the two tinier weasels to sit through the whole ceremony on the promise of getting a glimpse of Big Sister way off in the distance. It would mean a long night, and we’d be getting home very late, so I volunteered to stay home with them, record the live coverage (and watch it, obviously) and Mrs Dim would get a ticket and attend in person. It turns out we were lucky to get our ticket early, because demand has been high. Vancouver has missed the Games in the last few days, and the promise of more national pride and Olympic partying has meant tickets for every event are being snapped up.

I got several calls from Mrs Dim inside BC place, well ahead of time. She doesn’t deal well with having time on her hands, but she found her way through to where the choirs were waiting and had a hug with Eldest Weasel, giving me a chance to wish her luck over the phone.

I rustled up a world-class evening meal (ok, pizza and sliced vegetables….and Cheetos) and the Tiny Weasels and I sat around the coffee table, munching and watching the Ceremony get under way. I was surprised, just like with the last ceremony, which bits they found impressive. Middle Weasel was gasping with delight at the projected flowers that bloomed around the arena as a girl danced to a violin, but was unmoved by the break dancer who couldn’t use his legs. The speeches were a low point for the weasels too, though I was impressed by the Governor General of Canada in her smart purple leather outfit joining in the performance and opening the games with a genuine grin. She really seems to love her job.

So the highlight of the evening was always going to be the song “We rise again” sung by Nikki Yanovsky and, crucially, the massed school choirs. When Eldest Weasel first told us about this, she said she was going to be one of four hundred kids singing. When we saw the paperwork, it turned out to be four THOUSAND. The odds of spotting her were not good, especially as the cameramen were far more inerested in Nikki. But amazingly, on the first shot of the choir, there she was. It took a couple of seconds to spot her, and the shot was only four seconds long, but even Tiniest Weasel managed to focus and recognise her before the shot changed. This is something of a minor miracle, for the child who couldn’t see the Angel of the North as we drove by it.

So I couldn’t tell you the name of the lad who lit the cauldron, or anything else that happened after we saw Eldest Weasel. It was a good show, definitely enough to show that the Paralympics are not the poorer sibling these days, but a major sporting event in their own right. Perhaps the day when they take place simultaneously with the Olympics is getting closer.

Two tired weasels have brushed their teeth and gone to bed, and I’m considering diving back into reviewing some plays before I have to bring Eldest Weasel back from her school rendezvous point. Did I really miss out? No. I’m here, in Vancouver, when it’s all happening. Hearing the cheer go up when Canada won the gold in Hockey a few days ago, it didn’t matter that I was on the shop floor and not in Robson Square. If we were still in the UK, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to the Winter Games, so the previous weeks, and the weeks to come, are a pleasant surprise.

Tomorrow I’m working through the whole day, so I expect my smile muscles will cramp, but at least I’ll learn where some more items are around the store. If you need anything for your home improvement, drop in and say hello.

Eldest Weasel gets her turn with the Torch

Eldest Weasel holds the torch, and then got to sing at the Opening Ceremony

Ok, I got a job….Now what?

Me, with a real Olympic torch

A real Olympic torch, a real author....

So, that went well. Interview number three, that is. I actually got to feel like a genuine, caring parent, because I made sure Moose got walked before the school run and drove the Weasels to school so I could read to Tiniest Weasel in “Parent Reading Time”. Having rushed through “The Cat in the Hat” (I love the classics) I leapt back in the car and made it to the prospective employment zone in time to meet the Store Manager.

Now, as a point of policy (and not to bore people beyond belief) I’m not going to write about the people or the place where I work unless A: They give me explicit permission to do so or B: It becomes clear that no one there knows or cares about this blog. Since B seems to be the prevailing attitude of the entire world, you may get to hear about it all anyway. But not today.

One of the things I love about being in Canada is the National Pride. Folks love being Canadian. You see it in the advertisements, the fact that the McDonalds arches have a Maple Leaf in the middle, and you can’t miss it right now anywhere in BC. Vancouver is hosting the Winter Olympic games and you can’t move for people in Canada tops, hats, scarves or Olympic mittens. The cars are all festooned with snapping Canada flags, and flags drape the houses, fill the windows, are in every aisle of your favourite Home Improvement Retailer…

It so happens that a couple of our favourite television programmes are on a channel called CTV, and they just happen to be the channel that is screening the principal Olympic coverage. Naturally, their adverts have been saturated with Olympic imagery in the last few weeks, but it’s not just “Watch CTV for the Olympics”, it’s almost all “Support Team Canada” and “Go Canada Go!”. They did a brilliant series of introductions to Canadian Olympians, which made me think – how many members of the British Olympic team could you name? The only one I could really remember was the snotty fourteen year old kid in the posh diving competition*, who blew it at the last minute. What was his name? Exactly. But now we hear about different Canadian Olympians every day. they’re in the papers, on posters in the bus stops, everywhere. I watched the theme song to the Winter Games “I believe”, sung by Nikki Yanovsky and found it very moving. I think I’ve mentioned before, Canadian Pride is a very interesting and non-threatening thing. It’s not about being better than everyone else, not about putting anyone down because they’re NOT Canadian, it’s celebrating the fact that WE ARE Canadian, eh? There are some dreadful commercials by the food suppliers President’s Choice, saying how they supplied some of the food the Canadian Olympians have eaten, and it ends with this “So if they win gold, we’ll take a little of the credit…But not much. After all, we ARE Canadian.”

So tonight, I won’t be celebrating getting a job. Yes,  I’m pleased, it’s a relief and the start of a new phase of life (again!). I’ve noticed how much more I’ve got done in the last few days when I thought I was losing all the time I’ve had at my disposal since we arrived, and I hope I can maintain that momentum when the pace really does pick up. But tonight we’re gathering together as a family and watching the opening ceremony, with popcorn, hot dogs and probably ice cream too. It feels like there’s a great big party here in our adopted hometown and whether there’s any snow up those mountains or not, the world is looking at Vancouver and it would be churlish not to smile and wave. Well, it would be un-Canadian.

*I realise that this may not be the correct name for the event.