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In London

It's a whole week since this happened and I still can't get over how awesome it was. Last week, bmax67 and her family vacationed in the UK and on Thursday I travelled down to London to meet them!

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Despite having achy knees that evening and the next day from walking all round the museum and then standing up on the train, it did not take the shine off the day. It was so great to meet bmax67 after knowing her online for so long - first at the Devoted to Hugh fan forum, then here, and now also on social media.

November

It's a whole month (ish) since I last posted. I have nothing new to add to the fallout from the US Presidential elections except for the fact that when I woke up on the Wednesday morning it was from a dream that Hillary Clinton had won and was giving a press conference, accompanied by Chelsea, from a hotel's rose garden. In the UK us sensible chaps have been cheering on the various legal and parliamentary attempts to prevent the triggering of Article 50.

I had my first mince pie of the season today at work, and am part-way through Christmas shopping. I'm waiting to hear what my sister and her partner would like - Mum reckons they'll ask for giftcards or vouchers. It's four weeks until our Christmas lunch at work, too, which I'm looking forward to but am sad that one workfriend will be unable to join us.

I am continuing my cross-stitching in fits and starts. Wednesday evening's session was the first for a couple of weeks and at one point I used the wrong shade of dark green, but hopefully I've countered that by using another moderately dark green in another place.

Last week my long-anticipated copy of A Month In The Country arrived - I have it on the original issue DVD, but this is a much better quality picture and has audio commentary and a few interviews, including one with Colin Firth, as extras. It's a double-disc set that contains a DVD and a Blu-Ray disc and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Saturday in Town

I went into town today, as we have always said. In other words, I went into the city centre to do some Christmas shopping. I went on the bus, having originally planned this so I'd be out of the way while my road is closed for resurfacing. However, that's been delayed until Monday so I'll have to leave early for work.

I managed to get the things I wanted - Christmas cards, an advent calendar, a 2017 diary - plus a few other bargains from Wilko including blueberry shower gel and Vimto lipbalm. I also visited the art gallery for their Brick Wonders exhibition - basically lots of Lego recreations of famous world vistas and other things, such as our local cathedral, the International Space Station, and a massive Lego airport.

Am also wondering if I've got a cold coming or if this is just the effects of the weather getting colder but not cold enough to be into a regular routine with the central heating. I've been putting it on for about an hour most evenings, and I've had the fire on a few times also. It's the beginning of half term week here now and I'm determined that winter cannot be sighted until half term is well and truly behind us.

Also last night saw the first episode of QI's N series, the first edition with Sandi Toksvig in the chair instead of Stephen Fry. I do miss Stephen and I think I always will, but Sandi is awesome.

Autumnal

I am getting used to Autumn being a thing, now that it's in full force and the trees are looking so nice. But I still miss summer, and my new must-watch The Last Leg isn't really helping here, although I plan to keep watching - I think it's on until Christmas.

Am writing this part-way through my breakfast - woke up a bit later than usual and in the mood to get things done, so did my ironing, followed by handweights and then sorting the weeds along the side of the house. Remaining task for the day is to top up the queue on my Street View blog.

Work is going OK I think. Am getting involved in webinars - have done my first one as housekeeper but haven't listened back to it yet, my line manager (who was the presenter) made a comment that once I've done a few I won't be rustling papers so much, so while I'm pleased to get the first one done, I'm not looking forward to listening back to it. It was a bit nerve-wracking but I enjoyed it, I need to see when I can do another.

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Triple figures

Home from shopping (having a week's holiday at home) to see we've hit triple figures in the overall medals haul in the Paralympics, and an emphatic second place still on the table. However still some difficulty in getting enough reports together to put on my Tumblr, and this is with putting only the gold medallists on - I struggled with other medallists in 2012 as they would frequently not be reported, and the same is happening this time, unless they won silver or bronze behind a British gold medallist.

Am also totally loving The Last Leg, which is on much earlier this time - 8pm rather than 11pm - and I got a tweet liked by Jonnie Peacock when he was still in Rio, when I mentioned how much I liked his tutu. I'm still not sure why he was wearing a tutu but it was good. I think it's turning the Paralympics into the funkier, cooler sibling of the Olympics for me. I'm hoping it continues to air long-term, and in a decent timeslot as the next three Games are all in the same general area of the world - Beijing is the most westerly and they are eight hours ahead of GMT.

I Am Team GB

In celebration of our recent Olympic success, and in anticipation of Paralympic success, and in the hope of getting more people playing sport and getting active, today is I Am Team GB day, with events being held across the country, featuring various members of Team GB from Rio 2016 and before. I went to the one at the stadium near me, it was a good fest but there wasn't a great deal have-a-go stuff for adults - the only child-free opportunity was with the netball, which I signed up for, but they were running behind so it must have gone on without me. I did see the Team GB people arrive - Liam Heath and Jon Schofield (canoe sprint) wore their medals from Rio, and joined in stuff with the kids, such as the wall-climbing and the tennis. Kristian Thomas (gymnastics) joined in the tumbling with the kid's gymnastics club and got them all doing a Mexican wave but with a somersault instead of a wave. First time he did a tumbling sequence along the mat (somewhere between a crashmat and an inflatable mat) he overshot the end and landed on the crashmat right near me.

The other Olympian was Dame Kelly Holmes (athletics) and I queued up for the photo op, and had my photo took with her and Kristian Thomas:

I Am Team GB

It was also the first time I've been to the stadium, I didn't go during London 2012 (they hosted football preliminaries along with a handful of other places across the country) and I've never seen the football or rugby teams there. But it might be nice to, one day.

Dreams Have Sequels Sometimes

You've seen the statistics I'm sure. 27 golds, 23 silver, 17 bronze medals. Second on the medal table, above China. First host nation ever to increase their overall medal tally in their first away Olympics after hosting. Gold medals across 15 different sports, more than any other team, and medals of any colour across 19. It still feels a bit unreal that it all went so well for Team GB, even though it went less well for some team members. Tokyo 2020 will be a real test I think, so many of the London 2012 generation who competed at Rio will be retired or will regard Tokyo as their swansong. The trick is to ensure there are plenty of new competitors to take their place, and it will be hard work, even though we're better equipped than ever to ensure these competitors come through. But I think there is a determination that we never want to see the likes of the medal tally from Atlanta again. We've had our nadir in Olympic sport, just as we had it in league football, albeit of a more unpleasant nature.

Tokyo is a long way off, but we've got the Paralympics in a couple of weeks' time so all the cheering on Great Britain is really only half-way through. And we'll be hosting the World Athletics Championships in 2017 in the Olympic Stadium. Then beyond that, 2018 has the Winter Olympics, Winter Paralympics, and the Commonwealth Games. Once Rio is past, there'll be plenty to look forward to.

So far

So far it's been pretty good for Team GB at the Rio Olympics - currently 6 golds, 8 silvers, 6 bronze - 20 in all, 4th on the medal table behind USA, China, & Japan. We're at the start of velodrome coverage so hopefully that will increase. It felt a bit tentative on Tuesday, as it was mentioned that we'd had more 4th places than any other nation, but then Wednesday was a productive day. It's not easy to watch much of the time, especially in cycling - Team GB are so strong but you can never underestimate the competition, everyone else (especially Australia) would love to beat us to gold I'm sure. But it has been good to see Team GB winning new medals, we've won our first gold in diving and today our first ever medal in trampolining.

One concern I can see is that there are lots of empty seats, if there are any sell-out sports they're still to come (which is understandable as the athletics only started today). During the men's road race last weekend there was a point where lots of the cyclists disappeared off to the side for a pee stop, the BBC commentator pointed out that this would never happen in the UK as there would always be far too many fans lining the route.

I bought an Amazon Fire stick today so I can watch Olympics coverage late at night, as the TV in my bedroom has until now only had a DVD connected, no other broadcast receiver plugged in. It was very easy to set up. Because I wanted it quickly I went with the 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, hoping for some good free movies to watch after the Olympics, but all I've found is Paddington and a film about Queen Victoria. It's just like back in the early 1980s when we first started renting videotapes, going into the video store hoping for a decent (or at least recent) film and finding a load of titles you've never heard of before. I've no plans to continue with a Prime subscription once the trial is up, so it'll be a one-off purchase, cheaper than a second cable box (albeit with fewer channels).

Rio 2016

I managed to stay up until almost 3am last night, to the end of the athlete's parade. I'd TiVo'd the opening ceremony but having seen highlights of what I missed I don't think I'm going to be watching it. Hazel Irvine did the same Ouagadougou joke as she did during the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Have been watching some of the live coverage today - cycling, with the men's road race, which I stuck with for so long because Rio is absolutely beautiful. Much of the cycling was along a coastal road, with plenty of views of a lush blue sea, wonderful waves crashing on the beach. I'm now watching the rowing, the Serbian men's pair fell in the water but they must be rescued by now because it's the women's double sculls with Katherine Grainger and Victoria Thornley, Grainger in her fifth Olympics.

Fly The Flag

So for Tim Peake's landing yesterday, there was no Stargazing Live special as so many of us had hoped. Instead, there was live coverage (mostly the NASA TV feed) on the BBC News channel, which had the usual experts (Libby Jackson from UKSA, Professor Lucie Green from UCL) along with BBC science correspondents who knew what they were talking about, and general studio presenters who didn't. So glad all went so well, there was a BBC guy who was practically interviewing Tim Peake on the Kazakh steppe. Yuri Malenchenko was sitting bolt upright early on like the seasoned space traveller he is, but Tim Kopra looked a bit wobbly for a while but he seemed to be getting his bearings OK eventually.

Having this on the news rather than a dedicated programme meant the news headlines ticker was on screen almost the whole time, so all the stuff about the man who murdered the MP Jo Cox was there. I can't believe what a nightmare that was. I've met a few people through work, my age and younger, and you know immediately they're a future MP for a left-leaning party, and they'll be a very good one, just like Jo Cox.

My friend and I took a little break from the usual work routine on Thursday morning to watch the Aviva Women's Tour go past along the main road near our business park. I had read about this early in the year, and my friend wanted a photo to illustrate a staff newsletter article she was writing about the Cycle To Work scheme. I took my flag and was cheering and yelling as they went past - it was still quite early in the race so they were all in a big bunch. Sadly we didn't get on the TV highlights, they went straight from the start in Atherstone to the part just after us when they went through the University of Warwick campus. But it was so exciting seeing all the build-up, the police motorbikes, the race marshal motorbikes, and the support cars going past, all waving at us, and us waving back. There wasn't many of us along that stretch of road, but there was lots of TV coverage of other stretches of road where there were lots of schoolkids cheering and waving flags. I was only going to watch the highlights once but I'm going to keep them now, as there are lots of sights I recognise, and I'll always remember being out there, even if it was only for a short time.