Tuesday, 31 July 2012


My daughter is undergoing her own Olympic challenge in the hope of earning a medal.

It doesn’t involve running, swimming, or leaping about in the sand while Benny Hill music parps away in the background.

I didn’t just dream that, did I? Music being played at the London 2012 Beach Volleyball event has included Boots Randolph’s Yakety Sax, hasn’t it? I’m expecting the gold medals to be presented by a small, bald man, who will be ritually slapped on the head by the winners, before all of them chase each other round Horse Guards Parade.

No, my girl’s Summer Olympics challenge is a more literary one. She joined the local library’s Holiday Reading Scheme on the first day of the six week break, and has had her nose stuck in a book ever since. 

The challenge is to read six books. This will earn her some stickers to stick on a little folder, and a certificate. But it doesn’t stop there: if she reads six more she’ll get more stickers and a wristband; and if she reads six more, she’ll get the ultimate prize - a medal.

And she can’t resist - she wants the lot. So that’s 18 books she’s got to get through. No mean feat, because even though she reads well, she reads very carefully and slowly. And she is also particularly fussy about picking stories that aren’t “too easy” for her. So my suggestions of shorter books with bigger type have been shot down with withering glances. 

I feel like a coach, on the sidelines. Expectations are high. All of our training is paying off. We’re three down at the start of the second week, so this is medal pace. I’m not going to make her pee in a bottle (although, thinking about it, we’ve got a hospital appointment on Thursday, so actually I am going to). I might have to conveniently lose the results of that drugs test. I have a feeling her daily injection of growth hormone may be against Olympic Reading regulations.

The hopes of a household are resting on you, sweetheart. We’ll be cheering you on.

Video is Boots Randolph - Yakety Sax

Video is The Stranglers - Peaches (Yes, this was also played at the Beach Volleyball, presumably for the line: "Walking on the beaches looking at the peaches". Women's sport, eh? Eh? *rubs thighs* *stops rubbing and gets depressed about 'ironic' sexism*)

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  1. Did she manage all 18 in the end? :)

  2. Yes! It was becoming a bit of a slog by the end, but she was very determined. And she did eventually realise that choosing shorter books was going to help. Unfortunately, this was only after book 13 or so...

    1. Still, all reading is good practice. :) Bet she was chuffed to bits when she got the rewards!