As you know, I’m not a sports fan. In a way this summer has been torture for me. If it hadn’t been for the repeats of Foyle’s War I don’t know how I would have made it through.
Still, I found myself at the Commonwealth Games last weekend and loved it because - as you also know - a big sporting event is only incidentally about the sport. There is way more to it than that. So here is what I learned in Scotland:
Boxing isn’t what I thought it would be. I expected blood and guts. My umbrella wasn’t so much for the rain as to shield me from flying body parts.
I began to suspect I had it wrong when I worked out how much they weighed - a quick translation from kilograms to stones via my phone put their fighting weight at considerably less than my spectating weight. Rocky was not in the room.
My moment of absolute realisation came during Leeds boxer Qais Ashfaq's fight. Things were not going well for him, it appeared. There was no commentary so naturally I wasn’t sure, but he seemed to be the one walking backwards. Then came a Leeds voice from several rows behind me. “Find your compusure, Ques” he shouted, not unkindly. As fighting talk goes, I found it very civilised.
Glasgow is a handsome city with long wide streets, along which the wind and the rain can’t half sweep. But the city had its party manners on. Everyone was keen for us to have a good time, especially the young Glaswegians who, at every opportunity, wanted to know where we were from, what we had seen and, crucially, had we enjoyed it.
It worried me when I heard the theme of the closing ceremony was going to be a typical night out in Glasgow - I thought there might be a Glasgow kiss that was nothing to do with John Barrowman. But it was FINE.
A big event can be defined as much by who isn’t there as who is there, and I’m not talking Mo Farah, though it would have been nice if he had, you know, made the effort.
So. Where were they? We heard their songs, we heard their name, we saw the world’s biggest sporting star dancing to t their music. Does anyone know where the Proclaimers are? Have their been any sightings? The Brownlee brothers made it to the closing ceremony, why didn’t the Reid brothers.
It’s David Bowie at the Olympics - or rather not at the Olympics - all over again. Heroes - they always let you down.
When a city is teeming with people who want to give you information, when you can’t walk two paces without falling over a table with a big information sign on it, it is best to get your information from them. It is not a good idea to walk right past them because “you know where you are going”, reach a dead end, ask a random passer-by even if he is wearing a fluorescent jacket, get on the wrong bus, and end up with a miserable two-mile walk in the rain to the Hydro stadium during which you become so desperate you attempt to join a queue of people in tracksuits in order to take a short cut across the athletes' compound. Before being turned back by some police officers. Just saying. *looks at husband*.
Everybody loves Kylie. Everybody loves her a lot more than they love the Proclaimers. What a gal. What a sport. And didn’t she look great? Like the woman on the telly said, I’m glad I didn’t wear my own pink basque - could have been an awful clash - but Kylie rocked it so well with those boots, and that headdress. I love a headdress. I’m wondering if I could get away with something similar at my grandson’s baby naming ceremony next month.
And finally. Lulu. What I learned is Scotland was that Lulu does not suit a hat.