At 1am in a Hungarian military hospital surrounded by some very very ill people, rocking the baby as I tried to work out why the doctor wanted to perform minor surgery on my Mums minor cut to her leg I questioned if being a Mum is worth it. I am in Budapest to cover the swimming and diving World Championships for the BBC and true to form with me, day one has not been without drama!
I haven’t found the tree that grows nappies yet and I am lucky to do a job I love so I came here to Budapest with my four month old, where my Mum met us to play Nanny.
I wanted to spend as much time with Ernie as possible and ended up leaving home to late, missing my train to the airport. Instead my hubby drove me and ended up spending 6 hours in rush hour traffic around Barcelona. Louis first flight was straightforward, make the most of flying before they can walk. Ernie is hectic on a flight but as Louis is still feeding off me it was ok. He did throw up on a nearby passenger but she was miserable so she kind of deserved it. (Ernie once ripped near ring from a woman ear, she didn’t deserve it so I am keeping ‘pukegate’ in perspective).
Landed, checked in, hotel travel cot installed, Doona car seat/pram in action I headed to the final day of diving in my new dress, dusted off heels with a full face of make up ready to speak to the nation. Only, my Mum fell up the stairs cut her knee and got shipped to a local military hospital for stitches. She was mortified and felt awful she couldn’t hold the baby. I was like a duck pretending outwardly it was fine. Now if you have been misfortunate enough to see me on telly you’ll know my style is quite relaxed. I don’t necessarily agree with doing things by the BBC book but even I confess it’s not very professional to breast feed your newborn perching on a chair behind my BBC colleagues as they commentated on a world championship winning performance by Tom Daley. It was without doubt one of the finest sporting displays I have ever seen. He won in spectacular style diving better than he ever has. Baby aside (literally my female colleague held him) before he puked on some of the senior member of the swim team coaching staff. (Sorry Mel Marshall). I got down to business trying to send back links and interviews to the UK. I won’t bore you with the technical and logistical frustrations, we wanted to craft a new programme but had to send back what we had straight away for a highlights programme scheduled to go out the following day. As in many jobs there are ways you would like to do things and ways you have to do things. In the end as long as the nation get the opportunity to see and hear our young superstars do their thing on the diving boards its ok.
Celebrations and pre recorded links complete I headed to the hospital to help my Mum. It was funny for a few hours until they wanted to perform minor surgery. (Meanwhile hubby text to say Ernie has chicken pox!) Thank god for the linguistics skills of a young Hungarian volunteer and thank god for Adele from the British Swimming board for helping my family and staying with us until 1 am. Do I feel like a good Mum or a good broadcaster right now. Not really but ladies ‘having it all’ throws up the odd challenge and some days you have to just dust off your invisible crown put on your highest heels and be grateful for the people around you. The drama can be draining but I am sure we will all look back on this and laugh. Soon. I hope.
From a sporting point of view this weeks offers LOTS of treats. If we can match any of the 'pool' based drama of the diving we will all be happy. Tom Daley dived out of his skin to take the world title. Grace Reid can celebrate a silver medal in the sincere event and leaves Budapest fourth best in the world in her individual event. Matty Lee and Louis Toulson take home silver medals from the ten meter syncro. It wasn't to be for our Olympic Champions Jack Laugher or Chris Mears but those that know Jack believe this will only make him hungrier for the World Championship medal that will complete his set of international golds. On the final day at the final hour British diving delivered a hugely successful week taking home three medals, with the Daley double stealing the show. I feel pretty privileged to get to stand poolside and take this all in.
Much love. H
ps The World Swimming Championships are on BBC2 every day this week from 5pm. There’s brilliant coverage and interviews from my colleague Nick Hope online if you want to catch up with some of the excitement from the diving.