“Slow down, slow down! You’re gone too early,” says Denis to the Uzbek.

He’s watching the Olympics cycling race – the one on the floorboards where they have to pretend they don’t want to win until the end and then they cycle like the hammers of hell.

Denis has got fierce into the Olympics.

He’d be watching it at all hours and when he’s supposed to be parked up in the lorry, he’s watching it on the phone. Every sport he sees, he’s an expert on it.

“She didn’t spot the landing, Ann,” he said the other night, eating a bun.

Apparently when you’ve to come off the pommel horse, they’re very finicky about the landing, these gymnastics judges.

“Arrah ya bollocks ya – ye made shite of it,” Denis shouted at the Russian fella on the rings.

This now coming from a man who hurt his leg when he slipped on a melted 99 last Monday morning.

He came back one morning after a long trip in the lorry and he knew all about skateboarding. He was supposed to be resting up in a layby for the tachograph and normally he sleeps like a log, but I’d say he had the tablet going in the cab. Coming in the bedroom muttering about half-pipes.

And don’t talk to me about the dressage.

“That’s a Piaffe, Ann. T’would be a fairly common move in the dressage now.”

I wouldn’t mind but Denis can barely dress himself. I was going to ask him what the horse was doing now but then Denis was giving out to the horse.

“The near back leg wobbling away during the transition. You might as well be in a drag hunt, lad.”

“Do you have money on the dressage or what Denis?”

“No Ann. Just on the final medals table. I’ve a bet on the Russians.”

He’s going off out this evening down to Johnny’s pub for his first indoor pint with the other double jabbers. I’m staying away. I don’t want the Delta yet. It’d be just my luck. I thought myself the woman doing the vaccine had a bit of funny eye on her and I’m not convinced I’m fully insured at all.

It’s gone half eleven when I get a phone call.

“Ann, it’s Johnny below in the pub. Ann, are you sober? Can you drive?”

I pushed the newly poured wine away from me. “Yes Johnny. Why?”

“I might need you to drop up here and take Denis away.”

“Denis?! Did he have a fall?” We’re all getting to the First Fall age now.

“More of a falling out. C’mon away up and we’ll sort it out.”

I arrive up and Denis is looking sheepish outside the door.

“What happened to you?”

“Yerra, some bollox of a Yank. A tourist! Here. A big mouth on him.”

“What was he saying, Denis? Was it about Trump or something?”

He looks like he doesn’t want to tell me.


“Dressage, Ann. He was saying it shouldn’t be in the Olympics.”

“And you were standing up for the horses?”

“The indoor pints went to my head, Ann. I drank them too fast. The draught went down too easy after a year and a half on the cans. I was shouting at him to go home like a good Yank. I don’t know what came over me. But the dressage, Ann. It’s a proper sport like. Once you get to know it.”

“You got thrown out of your local pub for fighting over dancing horses, Denis.”

“That’s about the size of it.”

What are the odds of that? I should have bet on it meself.

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