In my top drawer at work, in an old Harrogate Toffees tin, there's a handful of Yorkshire grit that was sent to me many years ago by my dad. He collected it himself from The Strid near Bolton Abbey and posted it to me while I was going through a tough time trying to do journalism in That London. He got the idea from Lesley Garrett, another woman of the Yorkshire diaspora, whose mum sent her an envelope full of it during a career low point. There was a note that read: "I thought you might need some of this." Instead of an envelope, my dad cut out a label reading "Genuine Yorkshire Grit" and stuck it on the tin, which made me wonder why no enterprising Yorkshireman has yet to package the grit of God's Own County and make a killing flogging it to lost sons and daughters of the North. It must have worked for me, because I'm still surviving in That London, and writing about it.
Now would be the moment to found the Genuine Yorkshire Grit Company, with the Olympics medals table showing that an independent Yorkshire would be riding high in the top 15 thanks to, among others, Jessica Ennis (Sheffield), Nicola Adams (Leeds), the Horsforth-born brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and, of course, Otley's Lizzie Armitstead, who pedalled Britain to its first medal with a gritty sprint to the finish line and a fine Yorkshire name. Mick Hill, Ennis's javelin coach, puts the success down to "something in the water", "Yorkshire pride" and "Yorkshire bitter", but if you could bottle it, southerners would be queuing up to buy some of that glory: where there's grit, there's bronze, silver and gold.
On the other hand, maybe it would be wise to keep the grit mines closed for the time being. If the secret of Yorkshire Grit gets out, the French will only start calling on the International Olympic Committee to ban it. And that's nothing to what will happen if Lancashire finds out.
Où est le pub?
London is still in the grip of Olympic spirit, I'm happy to report, with good deeds happening even on public transport. Last Sunday, a bus driver used his intercom to keep passengers updated on Andy Murray's progress in his gold medal match. Midweek, I saw a harassed commuter dredging up her schoolgirl French to help a visitor with directions. A friend of mine met a 19 year-old Texan tourist who hadn't realised that he was legally old enough to drink in London. One Soho pub crawl later, he knew all about it. The good deed was that my friend limited it to four pubs – we do want to send our visitors home in one piece to tell the world about this strange new happy London that's appearing before our eyes.
And hair's to you, chaps
If London 2012 ends up being remembered as the Olympic Games that taught us that real men do cry, will it also have a lasting impact on attitudes to male body hair? So far, we've seen butch cyclists with silky smooth legs, swimmers admitting that they shave each other's backs, and gymnasts who range from baby smooth to the guy who looks as if two members of ZZ Top are hiding under his armpits. It's all about "marginal gains", fellas. Just think how much faster you'd get to that pint if you waxed all the hairs on your drinking arm.
Tourists, take the Boris bypass
Spoiling it for everyone, though, we still have Boris Johnson, who took a breather from claiming all the credit for the Olympics to give us his twopennorth about sport in schools. Children should do two hours of it every day, he said. He did at Eton, and look how he's turned out. I hope and believe that PE teachers are much better now than they were for my generation, for whom two hours of sport would have put them off exercise for twice as long as one hour did. And if any foreign visitors are reading this, please believe me that Boris Johnson does not represent the people of Britain, most of whom are really OK.
Bolt bumps off Rover
Amid all the gold medal celebrations in the past week, it was easy to forget that humans were also celebrating a pinnacle of intellectual as well as physical attainment, with the "touchdown confirmed" of the Mars Rover after many frustrating years of failed attempts. Naturally, one of the Rover's first acts on Mars was to tweet a picture of itself. If it had feet, it would have stamped them when its images were bumped off the front pages because they didn't have Usain Bolt in them.
One for the record books
In other good news you may have missed: it's summer! At least at Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival near Banbury, where I'm told that the smell of sunscreen is nearly blotting out that of the toilets. Also last week, a "cash mob" hit the bookshop Pages of Hackney, not far from the Olympic Park, and dozens of people, summoned by social media, each spent a tenner on a book. "We sold six books yesterday and five the day before that," said the owner. "We'll sell at least 100 today. It's going to turn around a dead August." And a woman in Perthshire has been supported by art historians in her claim that a painting on her bedroom wall is a forgotten Leonardo Da Vinci worth £150m. Yeah, right – next you'll be telling us that Andy Murray won a final on Centre Court …
You can't count on Osborne
Did George Osborne think that he'd chime appealingly with Britain's Olympian spirit when he promised last week to focus "110 per cent" on the economy? Or can the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury really not count up to 100?Reuse content