I drove down to Harlow to visit my father in the Hospice. Since he'd become quite ill with the cancer that was to kill him, I'd used sporting occasions to provide a reason to go and visit and spend some time with him, without turning it into a \”visiting the sick\” scenario. He knew and understood that, and was grateful for it.
During February and March it was, of course, the Six Nations Rugby, that provided the reason. We'd watch a match or three, criticise England and the BBC, but have a (as much as possible) good time, it meant a lot to me, and I believe it did for him.
After the rugby comes the Formula 1 season with it's generally boring processions around circuits. Our fascination with it had diminished over the last few years as off the track stuff (politics, strategy, pit lane stuff) took over from raw driving to make it less of a spectacle.
But a year ago I drove down to watch the replay of the Chinese Grand Prix with dad, when I got there he was in a deep sleep, but the TV was on – sound muted. I sat quietly, not daring to read my paper in case the rustling of the Sunday Telegraph might wake him; and gathered what I could of the race from the footage. An hour or two after the race finished, dad woke, fairly briefly and i discovered that he'd watched the live broadcast that morning having been unexpectedly awake early. We chatted for a bit, and he went back to sleep. I stayed a few more hours, hoping he'd wake again, but he slept heavily. So eventually I left him to it and returned home.
Today was the Chinese Grand Prix again, and this time it was chock full of excitement, good driving and entertainment. I don't recognise last year's race from this at all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chinese_Grand_Prix
Dad would have liked it though.