Having suggested that I'd write about Wednesday's swimming experience, and not done so it is time for me to recount the trip. I got wet, it was cold, I got dried and then came home. Simples!! ( I would add that silly noise the merkat makes, but I'm not sure how one spells it
Being serious I actually enjoyed Wednesday than the previous trip, I think I sort of knew what was coming and was a little better prepared. I made sure that we got used to the cold water, avoiding any cold shocks that I probably suffered last time. We set off at our own pace as opposed to the rest of the swimmers. It felt like two old grannies with zimmer frames running a 100m against Usain Bolt, but I don't care I was enjoying. My friend didn't make the whole circuit of the course and I only did the short course, though I probably did far longer than the 400m it's advertised to be. That is besides the by, this time I swam and didn't feel in trouble, I didn't get a sore back and I didn't have to struggle. Now OK, I've still got a long way to go before I can contemplate doing a mile, and one in a less restricted bit of water, but things are going slowly.
It was fun catching up with an old friend, chatting away about anything really, it was unfortunate that we couldn't get into the BBC to get her picture taken with the Tardis or Daleks, but I'm sure she'll get that done sooner rather than later. We did look at the Blue Peter garden which is a lot smaller than I imagined it would be. However there isn't a lot of it needed due to the amount of times it's used and a big garden would be pointless to keep and film in for so few occasions a year.
Since Wednesday I've suffered with my back slightly, but I'm not sure if that's not something other than the swimming. However, I didn't feel that tired either on Wednesday night, so I may be getting fitter I don't know. I know we are looking at going again some time soon, which should be fun and hopefully I'll swim a bit more than I did this time. The weather though has turned since Wednesday and it's grey and miserable. In some parts of the country we've got severe weather warnings out. High winds, heavy rain etc. I'm sort of glad I'm not going swimming in the morning, but after Wednesday I've sort of caught the bug again to swim more and more open water swimming. As daunting as the course looked once I got going it wasn't too bad.
Now we progress towards the European Championships, or simply the UEFA Euro's as the marketing men like it to be known. It's the continental championship for national sides. England are in it this time, but I'm not overtly confident in the chances. As much as people are trying to play them down, as opposed to the over hype they normally receive, the squad is simply too bland for me. I know that obtaining a winning mentality is important and one way of doing that is grinding out simple 1-0 wins, but to win the competition like that you've got to have a lot of luck, and to simply put it, Greece stole all of it when they did just that 8 years ago.
The 3 countries that are amongst the favourites for me, are Spain (the holders), Holland and Germany. Spain are current holders and also the holders of the World Cup. They are a very good team based upon the wonderful Barca team. However the question has to be be asked if they are up for the task. A lot of the Barca players have seemed to run out of steam towards the end of this past season, having being playing near enough none stop for the past 3 or 4 years. Will this tourny be a bridge to far? I don't know, I wouldn't want to bet against them, but would I bet for them? I just don't know it all depends on if they are indeed tired and have no running left in the legs, if they haven't then they can be got at, and beaten.
Holland were beaten by Spain in the World Cup final 2 years ago, most of the team is still around, they seemingly produced a great team every few years the Dutch. If they can get Robin Van Persie scoring and avoid the infamous infighting they should go far. They are in a difficult group though and a slip up could prove costly. In part because of the history of the Dutch national side since the mid 70's I've a soft spot for them, and would like to see them win, but it is really down to the day with them, and how they arrive for the game. They either explode or implode and you can never tell which it's going to be.
Germany on the other hand, are the regular achiever in championships. They have a young team that exceeded expectation at the World Cup a couple of years ago. This time people will be a bit wiser to them, but will they be able to do anything about it? It's rare for anyone to be able to do anything about it. Being in the same group as the Dutch, they to have the potential to slip earlier than normal, but I can't see it. Once in the knock out stages, they'll be a force. They will have the traditional traits of the German national side, plus the care free attitudes of youth.
Any of those 3 sides can win this tourny, naming one that will is difficult, it wouldn't shock me to see 2 of them in the final against each other and then it's all down to the luck of the day.
I just hope that the tourny passess without incident, the UK press are really playing up the social issues in Ukraine and also Poland where the Euro's are being jointly staged. I'm not sure how the rest of Europe is reporting it, but all I want is a good tourny, with plenty of enjoyable football. Football doesn't have to be good to be enjoyable. Yest, the better the quality the more thrilling it can be, but a tense, 0-0 can be just as good, with crazy defending, inept finishing adding to the fun. I'm sure that should we get that the pundits will go over board, moaning about it, but if it's fun to watch, just say so. Sometime the analysis can be over complecated.