Anybody out there like ice skating? No? Well that's a pity 'cos this post is about ice skating. Like many couples Mrs Dilo and I like to relax in front of the telly watching something we both enjoy, and for us that's ice skating. It appeals to her appreciation of athleticism and to my love of dance and it's all so nice and bright and spangley. The European Championships are on the moment. But, and perhaps because of our deep feeling for it, it tends to bring up some emotions that otherwise remain hidden and repressed:
Ah, what a great contest this is going to be, and thanks to Romanian TV we're first going to see the Romanian contestant, who's currently lieing in 37th place. "Zoltan", though? He sounds like a Hungarian.
It says Romanian. He's probably from Hargita, it's full of Hungarians, and it's the coldest place in Romania, they all do skating there, there's nothing else to do.
Ah, I can lip-read what he's saying to his coach - he's speaking Romanian!
Great! That's all right then. Next up it's a Swede.
Hmm, he looks like a woman - he moves like a woman. He's like one of those, you know, "funny boys".
No, he's an artist, you have to give artists free range to express whatever's in them. But I see what you mean. Oops, just fallen over three times - you don't have to worry about the effeminisation of Western society for the time being.
Ok. Ah, now it's the Italian. We like him don't we.
Indeed we do. Remember when he skated dressed as a cowboy in Helsinki last year? You fancy him.
A little bit.
Well, he's not going to win 'cos now it's a German.
Do we want the German to win?
Forgive and forget.
He looks like a dwarf. He's got a funny face.
That doesn't necesarily mean he's a dwarf. We'll have to wait until he's standing next to some real people to see whether he's a dwarf or not. Ha, he's just fallen over - go home Herr Nibelung, no gold for you today!
It's the Frenchman. Why don't you go outside and....
Oh no, not this guy. The "jumping machine" they can him, as he always takes off and lands perfectly, and then usually wins, despite the fact that he has absolutely no artistry whatsoever, no soul...
Why don't you make some tea, you know how this man upsets you.
...it's like watching a clockwork rabbit - I mean, I've got nothing against the French, some of my best friends have been French, but this guy....
Take the cats into the kitchen and give them something to eat.
Yes, good idea, there's no reason why our little darlings should be subjected to this travesty.
Is he in first place?
Yes. And his music wasn't proper music, he didn't really acknowledge the audience and he didn't smile once.
I knew it.
Now it's the Russian.
Yes? That weird, blond, Roman-Polanski-lookalike stick-insect??
Ha, he can do a job for us! He's technically excellent and relentlessly competitive. I'm going out again, I can't stand the tension.
Did he? He did? Smashed him. Nothing else matters now, I can go to bed.
There's still to come a Czech and a Swiss who's very good - don't you want to see them?
Nope. I like the Czechs and the Swiss have never personally done me any harm, but they can just get out there and enjoy themselves as far as I'm concerned, my evening's enjoyment is now complete. Goodnight.
To end, something from the Golden Age of British Skating; no, not John Curry in his sailor suite or that Robin Cousins who sewed on all his own sequins, but of course our very own Perfect 10s Pearl and Dean (or was Torvill and Keith Harris? I can never remember):