Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tennis schmennis

A quiet day in York today. We're watching the tennis and I'm trying to pretend that I don't care if Andy Murray wins or not. I do. I want him to win desperately. I hate the feeling of watching British sportsmen fail. Sadly, it's an all too familiar experience. I don't think we've had a sure bet since Torvill and Dean! I can't put my finger on the reason why, but I reckon something happened when sportsmen started getting paid too much money and being treated like superstars. The British mentality, right across the board, has shifted in recent years towards the general belief that we're all owed a living in return for very little effort. This leads to a desperate level of mediocrity, which is utterly dangerous in a nation which traditionally supports the underdog. The difference is mentality. Speak to any American and you'll instantly realise they're not embarrassed to say how successful they are. Even the most talented Brit is expected to say he or she is rubbish for fear of being called arrogant or diva-like, and therefore, when the shit hits the fan, we crumble, because the more we say it, the more we believe it. Still, Murray has done incredibly well to achieve what he's achieved.

I've given up on the tennis and am taking a preprandial constitutional. 14 of us are about to sit down for dinner. Nathan's Mum and Ron are here, alongside my brother and Sascha, Ron's sister, and two of Celia's friends. I also think I'm going to get a chance to meet one of my Dad's school friends, whom I tracked down online a couple of years ago. We've booked a restaurant on Walmgate. 

Yesterday night we drove up to Pickering in the early evening sunshine and then on up to the wonderfully named Rosedale Chimney, one of the highest points on the Yorkshire moors, and one of the most beautiful views in the world. 

We stood at the summit of the hill, looking down across a patchwork of fields, dry stone walls and dark green woods. The sky was every conceivable colour, and when the sun broke through the clouds, little patches of the vista would light up magically. It reminded me of Mrs Tiggywinkle. 

Pepys spent most of this day 350 years ago with his patron, Lord Sandwich, who had been bigging him up to various fancy London society types. Pepys was understandably thrilled, and went to bed in broad daylight, no doubt to maximise the number of office hours he could work the following day. He was a proper workaholic! 

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