Monday 28 July 2008

The waste caused by hating waste

13st 13lb (I told you I’d been industrious yesterday); 3.0 units of alcohol; 1,287 days left; hopelessly lost in the Enchanted Forest.

I have been thinking about what, if anything, might get me interested in the Olympic Games. I did toy with the idea that it might add a little je ne sais quoi if the authorities made everyone compete naked, as they did in ancient Greece, but most sportsmen’s (and, more importantly from my point of view, sportswomen’s) bodies these days appear so over-developed that I find them only of the most academic interest; when, for example, some of them choose to expose themselves in ill-judged advertising campaigns. Added to which, it would create some major political and cultural difficulties. We should not be doing anything that might add to the veritable Himalaya of problems already faced by the Iranian ladies’ beach volleyball team.

So then I thought that the answer might be to open the events to Border terriers. The opening ceremony would be a riot. Literally. And one of the best bits of live entertainment I have ever witnessed was the terrier racing at the College Valley Hunt’s annual show at Hethpool some years ago, when the dogs lost interest in the dead rabbit that had just been bounced down the course by a man furiously turning an old bicycle wheel, and staged an invasion of the tea tent instead. If they create a special event for canine dreaming I feel pretty sure that my boy would be a cert for gold, judging by the spirited performance he gave at 5.30 this morning. I’m a bit exhausted as a result, but I’m smiling as broadly as one can with gritted teeth.

It has not been the best of days, to be honest. Made worse by the knowledge that it is entirely my own fault for misjudging the popularity of Engelbert Humperdinck. The German composer, that is, not the 1960s crooner formerly known as Gerry Dorsey. Months ago I bought four tickets for Hänsel und Gretel at Glyndebourne on Sunday under the delusion that it would be a popular event, and I did indeed succeed in finding a couple who not only wanted to see it with me but promised to bring the most stupendous picnic with them. Which is always a bonus.

Then, suspiciously soon after The Guardian gave the production an incredibly savage review, they announced that they could not come after all. So I have been spending the last week making desultory efforts to find replacements for them, without success. Today, accordingly, I gave up and rang the box office to enquire about returning the surplus tickets, only to be informed that there was no point. They still had quite a few of their own tickets to sell and this task would, unsurprisingly, be their priority in the week ahead. So I have now wasted virtually a whole day e-mailing everyone I know who has ever expressed a vague interest in opera, asking whether they would like to come, and drawing their attention away from The Guardian by including links to the very positive reviews in The Daily Telegraph and The Times. They have either replied immediately to say that they will be out of the country on holiday on Sunday, or attending “Pride” (no longer “Gay Pride”, apparently, dear me, no) in Brighton. Or they have not replied at all as they are already on holiday and / or taking part in a Mosley-style S&M orgy.

Marvellous. Of course, simply chucking the spare tickets in the bin would save a fair chunk of my time and involve no greater financial loss than giving them away – it might indeed save me a bit of money, as I am reasonably likely to end up buying drinks and / or dinner for whoever comes with me. But somehow doing this would offend against my deeply ingrained instincts opposing Waste.

Then at 6, as I was grimly writing my diary, the phone rang and a friend enquired whether I would like to meet her sometime. I asked whether she was responding to the invitation to Hänsel und Gretel I sent her several hours ago, but she had not even checked her e-mails. No, it was pure serendipity, or telepathy, but she would love to come and feels sure that she will have no difficulty in finding a friend to complete the party. So perhaps the day has not been completely wasted after all.

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