So there we are, sitting on the sofa and catching our breath between multiple sessions on Netflix (we’re proper binge-watchers these days) when it hits us: the Winter Olympics are on!
As we watch, the Dixon drawing room fills with a sense of wonder.
“I wonder how they do it?” says Mrs D, as a 15-year-old elf nonchalantly throws a single Salchow, a double Axel and a triple toe loop with bells on before landing gracefully in the arms of her swooping swain.
“I wonder if they get dizzy?” says young Miss D, practical as ever.
“I wonder when we can watch Breaking Bad?” mutters young Mr D, terminally unimpressed.
Another source of wonder is the ability of the BBC commentators at Sochi to tell at a glance the difference between an ollie, a stalefish and a McTwist 540.
All of which are genuine snowboarding tricks, fact fans. You really could not make them up.
And that’s when those very same commentators aren’t stretching the English language to breaking point by pressing innocent nouns into service as verbs.
As in: “The English hopeful had a chance of medalling but it was the Russian veteran who podiumed.” Doctor Johnson must be spinning in his grave.
Even more wonderful (in the sense of making you wonder what it’s all about) is the Sochi slogan.
According to the official Sochi website, this ringing phrase is “a universal solution successfully combining innovation and dynamism.”
According to yours truly, it’s even more daft than Wenlock and Mandeville. And who remembers them?
Moon. Jam. Varnish.
Clamp. Knee. Bedwear.
Take any three words, put them in a row and stick full stops after them. You know it makes sense, especially if you’re being paid for it.
Enough linguistic opprobrium, though. We’re off to the moguls (bumpy skiing to the uninitiated) where the commentary team are getting a teensy bit overwrought.
“The poles are working overtime!” screams one, somewhat ambiguously. “Those kneepads let the judges know exactly what’s going on below the waist!” yelps another, somewhat less ambiguously. “The British pair are going back to back!” yodels a third with as little ambiguity as it’s possible to muster before the 9pm watershed.
To be strictly accurate, the British pair were snowboarders. There wasn’t any room for us Brits on the moguls after the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters from Canada took to the slopes.
Which of course leads us to further wondering, this time about the quality of dinner-table conversation chez Dufour-Lapointe.
“Hi girls,” says Mum. “And what did you do today?” “Mogulling” says Chloé. “Mogulling” says Justine. “Mogulled” says Maxime, who is soon to join the BBC.
The real trouble with the Winter Olympics, though, is that so many of the so-called sports are subjective. If it takes a judge to decide the winner, then is it really a sport?
Still, while our British curlers enjoy their brush with destiny, those of us left at home do at least get to play Spot-The-German-With-The-Rudest-Sounding-Surname.
Andreas. Ski-jump. Google.