Over the last couple of days, I have had some initial impressions modified, and it just goes to show that you can't always judge a book by its cover!
First off, whilst I enjoyed some of the roles actor, Martin Clunes, has played, I would never have said that I was a particular fan. Not, that is, until I tuned in for the first of two TV documentaries on Dogs last night. Anyone who clearly loves dogs as Martin does is top of my list, and when I later googled him, it was apparent that he does so very much in the way of charitable work, and not all that far away from the area where I live. To see him being nuzzled by wolves who looked as if they could just as easily ripped his face off, was fantastic, and his obvious delight at the musical dingo was clear to see. Like me, when he was watching three little Jack Russells despatching a number of rats right in front of him, he felt a sense of relief for the baby rat that managed to elude the dogs' bite, and escape, even though the rats themselves were eating more than half the animal feed in the barns, where they were thus a real pest.
Then today it was the return of the GB Olympic Team at Heathrow. I've never particularly liked BBC newsreader, Kate Silverton, whose continual, and abundant thanks for every correspondent who sends in a report, however inconsequential, really got to me - thanks indeed, when they're probably all picking up £100K of our money every year! But in the difficult and extremely noisy environment of a recently-landed plane, she came over as really sincere, avoided asking the obvious question: 'What's it like to win a Gold Medal?'.........er!... and kept things going professionally yet totally informally. She, too, gets my vote now!
And whilst on the subject of the returning Olympians (a term which seems to be used now, but I thought referred to actual Greek Gods!), I now have a real admiration for young Tom Daley, who shares my birthplace of Plymouth, though I was there a few(!) years before him! When I first heard him interviewed, I felt that I detected a certain precocity which, having worked with lots of talented musical youngsters, didn't always endear them to me, or to other people. But when I heard Tom interviewed on a couple more occasions, and especially today on his return, I realised that what I thought was a hint of arrogance, was simply the fact that Tom is not only an outstanding diver for his age, but he's really so articulate for just a 14-year old. I checked to see if he was already attending a specialist Public School, where this sort of articulation and self-confidence so often makes its pupils stand out from those who just go to the comp up the road. No, Tom in fact actually does go to the comp up the road - Eggbuckland Community College! Of course he must mix with loads of youngsters who perhaps have the public school 'advantage', but he's a real credit to his school and his family, that he can talk with such an old head on young shoulders, but in such an unaffected way.
What a difference, then, to our Lewis Hamilton who, whenever he's interviewed, seems to have that 'know-it-all' attitude, and blames everything else when he doesn't win. He ought to have a few lessons from young Tom who had his disappointments in Beijing, but who genuinely seems to have gained from the experience, not just in terms of his diving, but also as a person, and who, I hope, will scrub up gold in 2012 in London! And, if you can convince me that there is the slightest correlation in skill level between a high-tariff dive, and driving a racing car around a track, please send me your answers on the back of a postage stamp! I know if I had just 6 months' instruction, I could probably drive a racing car, perhaps not very quickly, but even if I had 60 years, you'd never get me up on one of those 10m boards to start with, or, as, I'm afraid a non-swimmer, even in the pool afterwards!
Well done, Tom - you made me feel (well, almost!) proud to be British, and to be a fellow-Plymothian! Good luck for 2012!