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West Byfleet and a special Olympics February 10, 2011

Posted by normanmonkey in Friends, In the news, West Byfleet.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Los Angeles, Barcelona, Seoul, Atlanta, Athens, Sydney, Beijing and now West Byfleet. What all these fine global cities and one Surrey suburban dwelling, which happens to also be the home to Bonnie Langford, have in common is they have in recent decades been selected to stage Olympic events.

Apart from a sexual assault on the Parvis Road last summer (I deny all accusations) and contrary to the near hysterical tone of the Neighbourhood Watch circular which gives the impression we live in a post apocalyptic state of anarchy on account of a set of golf clubs being stolen from someone’s garage, there is very little that happens in West Byfleet. Yet it was announced today that West Byfleet is on the main route of the 2012 Olympic cycling road race. Already, one suspects, residents are recomposing irate letters to the local paper, pointing out the ever increasing dangers of the potholes to motorists, disabled wheelchair users, mothers with prams and international cyclists.

The eyes of the world will, for a good twenty seconds at least, be upon West Byfleet. One thing we can be sure of is our lawns will be mown, wheelie bins hidden so as not to be an eyesore, cars washed, tea brewed, scones creamed and our shirts starched so we put on a good show. When it’s all over we will do our best to ensure that after the whole Olympic circus leaves these shores we won’t want the world talking about Usain Bolt, Sir Chris Hoy or medals tables, but how West Byfleet seemed ‘very nice’ and just a 25 minute fast train from London. And if they are lucky they may also spot Bonnie Langford in the crowd, trying to get into camera shot, perhaps entangled among the bunting, but never letting her smile slip for a second.

The last sporting event to be held in these parts wasn’t so well received when I hosted an all-nighter for colleagues where Niles, a large black man from accounts and Robbie, a screaming loud gay PR from Wales (the self-anointed ‘The Black and the Gay’ – whom incidentally wanted to come to my Halloween party in reverse but never got round to it) decided to play a raucous game of boules at 7am to a house music backdrop. Rest assured, West Byfleet wasn’t ready for that and neither was I for that matter, but I reckon we’re going to be shipshape for the likes of British golden boy Mark Cavendish and all the French and Italian cyclists who are much better but no one knows their names on account of their continental origins.

As we’ve got the cycling, there’s good cause to say ‘Bugger London! We’ll do the lot!’ and simply transfer the rest of it here for good measure. The mighty Byfleet Boat Club at the end of my road can host the rowing and sailing (and thus enabling competitors to stop off for a picturesque pub lunch at The Anchor in Pyrford) and, Weils disease aside, the River Wey can take on the swimming, diving. There’s Byfleet tennis club for the tennis, squash and badminton, the football and cricket clubs can host the track and field events; weightlifting we’ll do away with conventional weights and competitors can try to their best to lift some of the customers in the frozen food aisle of the Tesco in Brooklands. The bowls is a given: my back garden, at a civilised hour, minus ‘The Gay and the Black’ and the David Guetta feat Akon techno remix of ‘Sexy Bitch’ and as for the boxing and martial arts, well that can simply be transported just up the road to Woking town centre which traditionally hosts these events at closing time on weekends. Seb Coe couldn’t put on such an extravaganza in his dreams.

Naturally there will be an Olympic party to host now in West Byfleet and that’s where there is justifiable cause for concern. Lets hope the only thing that makes the news that day is the cycling. Some of the usual suspects likely to attend are better off not behind a barrier but in a cage. What could start out as Pimms and rose in the sun and flying a flag in anticipation of the peloton could, a few hours later, end up with an incident involving  an overexhuberant dance routine, a stumbling gay Welshman naked save for a sailors hat and a pair of grey Sloggi briefs, inappropriate acts with a bottle, a single stray boule, several dozen mangled cycles and bloodied cyclists – in short, a global broadcast story to bring shame upon both the nation and the good name of West Byfleet that no number of manicured lawns with five rings mown into their centre will be able to atone for.

Perhaps, with that vision and the tearful apologies of Ken Livingstone, Tony Blair and Boris Johnson ruing the day they bought the event to our capital and asking the world for forgiveness, now burning on the brain from now till 2012 it’s better after all if we keep indoors and watch it on the television.