Kick sporting talk into the long grass

My colleague Matt, who enjoys golfing – even though he’s still quite young – announced yesterday in the Ipswich Star’s Felixstowe bureau that Roy Hodgson “might get the England job” and that “he does well when he is with people who aren’t expected to do that well like going to Fulham”.

Apparently, Matt tells me, despite being well suited to England – who aren’t expected to do well – we want Harry instead as we can pin our hopes on him for the European championship later this year.

Of course none of this means anything to me at all and who is Harry anyway... and why does Matt talk in riddles?

So widespread is this fixation with sport that it seems no one can talk about anything else.

As regular readers will know, I popped to Toulouse for the weekend to enjoy some fine cheeses, a splash of wine and a brief escape from the rain.


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Flying isn’t fun any more, is it. There are far too many other people and I don’t like being forced to get somewhere two hours early simply to ensure I have plenty of time to shop.

But at Terminal 5 on Friday everywhere I looked there were signs and posters and information about the Olympics.

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It’s like some sort of inescapable contagion that is taking over our national conversation.

Away from the UK, my weekend included fantastic restaurants, quiche, gorgeous French things and a long lunch with my French friend Sophie, who has recently had a child called Martin – so nice she gave him an English name, I thought, even though he doesn’t yet sleep through the night.

But the moment I stepped back on British soil it was Olympics again.

Even when we were waiting an extraordinarily long time to go through immigration – apparently queuing ensures our borders are controlled though in my admittedly unfashionable opinion the horse has rather bolted on that front – everywhere you looked to relieve the boredom some company was advertising its links to the Olympics.

And driving back to my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) from Heathrow – M25, M11, A120, A12, A14 for those interested among you – I spotted several electronic overhead road signs saying “Plan your journey. Arrive on time for the Olympics” or words to that effect.

I take exception to this highly patronising approach to try to stave off the inevitable chaos that this unbelievably costly event will almost certainly be remembered for.

Not only are these signs, which usually say something ridiculous like “Cambridge 55 miles 56 minutes” useless, but they must have also cost a fortune. Criminal.

Matt went on to discuss the merits of women’s beach volleyball – in the end I told him to be quiet.

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