While we’re on holiday in Devon during this first week of the Rio Olympics, here’s another Olympic memory from “1000 Memories”, available as a Kindle book here (UK) or here (US).
I walked down to the end of North Great George’s Street with Aunt Margaret. She was going to have a drink in the bar on the corner, the Steps, a glass of Guinness with a spoonful of sugar in it. There was a boy selling the evening papers outside, younger than me, eight I reckoned. He was shouting the way some of the newspaper sellers did in London, “Read all about it”, that kind of thing, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I saw the front page of the paper and it said that some of the athletes had been killed at the Olympic Games, athletes from Israel, shot and killed in their apartment.
I had been looking forward to the Olympics all summer but I hadn’t seen much of it. We couldn’t get the BBC in Clontarf apart from one Friday night, when the weather meant that we got the BBC for a few hours, and I saw Borzov winning a race. Roslyn looked up to the ceiling and said “Thank you Mister Weatherman”. I’d seen some races on the TV in Cavan, saw Wottle with the throttle winning the 800 metres, but now we were back in Dublin there was no way of watching the Games.
I felt sad, suddenly. It surprised me. The holidays were nearly over. I hadn’t seen as much of the Olympics as I would back in London. And now people were being murdered, in the Olympic Village.
Inside the bar the news was on TV. They showed the outside of the apartment complex. That’s what they called it: the apartment complex. I watched the TV while Aunt Margaret talked to the man behind the bar.