20th July

So we got up early to go and see the Olympic torch as it passed through Gillingham. Given the time of day there were a lot more people than I was expecting there to be. It was quite badly organised with not very many stewards on our stretch meaning that the crowds spilled into the street to try and see. I had a row with this annoying bloke – there’s always one who turns up after everyone else and thinks he has the god given right to be at the front. He was getting in everyone’s way especially the kids so I went and stood in front of his camera and asked if it was annoying when someone comes and stands in front of you!

The torch bit was a let down! We had to endured sponsors vehicles screaming past full of bored looking teenagers (hardly surprising as they’ve probably been doing it for 60 days or more) shouting at us through cheap PA systems. Then when the torch did arrive it paused up the road while they did a change over but the support truck blocked our view. Then when the truck passed us the girl with the torch was right behind it and running so she was past us before I even had a chance to lift the camera to my eye! hence the only picture I managed to get was from behind. You could almost feel the disappointment around us as we had what for most people will be the only contact with the Olympics and it lasted about 3 milliseconds!

Afterwards we had promised to take Ben to McDonalds for breakfast but the queue in the Gillingham branch was out the door so we decided to go to another one down the road. When we got there the queue there was just as bad but as we’d promised we decided to wait even though it meant Ben was late for school – it was his last day so we figured they wouldn’t mind.

What I don’t get is given that McDonalds is the official restaurant (sic) of the London Olympics why they hadn’t done something when the torch passed through an area. Surely to capitalise on the sponsorship they should have had promo people in the restaurants near the torch route handing out stuff to the kids at the very least. In fact given that they hadn’t even thought of putting on additional staff to cope with the rush it was as if they may have well flushed their sponsorship money down the toilet because I’m sure most of the people waiting 50 minutes for breakfast weren’t very impressed. UNLESS they plan to make so much money from selling crap food to the captive audience on Olympic Park (no doubt at over inflated prices) that they didn’t need to do anything else to recoup their money!

When I got my camera down from on top of the piano this morning I found a letter from Student Finance that I hadn’t seen. They were saying that the figure I had given them wasn’t correct as they had checked it with HMRC and had been given a different figure. the letter didn’t mention any figures so I rang them. Basically they’re saying that I had given them incorrect information but in a very Kafka sort of way they won’t tell me what I’m accused of. I dug out my P60 and the Inland revenue statement and I think what they’ve done is included the expenses that are shown on the statement despite the fact that they are immediately removed from my income on the line below – this is the same incompetence that had lead to yesterdays call to HRMC about the unpaid tax. What is up with Government agencies? Why are they so inefficient?

I spent the day backwards and forwards between schools. It was the leaver’s assembly at the school where I’m chair of Governors so I went to it – especially as it was the Head Teacher’s last day too.   It was cute watching all the little one’s get their certificates. Then I had to dash off back up the hill to pick Ben up from his last day as an infant before whizzing back down the hill again to pick Sarah up from work.

In the evening we had to take Ben to Beaver’s as they were having a special presentation of badges. As usual with all our dashing around we got there just as the ceremony started but in time to see him presented with 8 badges for the work he’d done during the year – that’s a lot of sewing for someone over the summer holidays!

We were so exhausted that we were in bed by 10:30 and didn’t hear Bex come in at 11:30.


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