Tuesday, 11 September 2012

London 2012

What a year it’s been for London! The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and then the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

In typical British fashion.

The Queen’s Jubilee weekend was a complete washout. It rained, rained again and rained some more. But people came out in their thousands to wish the Queen a happy birthday, myself included. I’d scoped out a great spot from which to watch the flotilla the day before, but when the time came my plan was thwarted by crowds so big it was impossible to get to my spot! So I didn’t get to see Her Majesty, but I did take several photos of wet people standing in the rain watching a big screen. I’ll post photos of this later, when I have a chance to go through the thousands of photos I’ve taken.

And then we had the Olympics.

I was full of scepticism about the Olympic Route Network. I predicted gridlock, traffic chaos and road rage. I was cynical about the corporate sponsorship. And I thought the whole thing would be a waste of public money. But I was wrong. For 2 weeks, driving through London was an absolute pleasure. And that was only the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t seen London with such a great atmosphere in my life, and I’ve lived here all my life. Everyone was friendly. Strangers were talking to eachother on the street. London 2012 Games Makers were posted on what seemed like every street corner, providing cheery directions and help to anyone who needed it. Signs were colourful, and the city felt alive.
A gorgeous friend of mine got me a ticket to the technical rehearsal for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, so I was one of the first 80000 spectators to visit the venue. The ceremony was epic and all I could do was tell everyone they should cancel whatever plans they have and stay home to watch the ceremony. It was excellent! Sadly, I wasn’t able to watch it in the comfort of my own home. I had to settle for the TV screen in the Costa in Toddington Services, as I was driving up to the Lake District for a wedding that weekend. But what a show it was! And what a show the Olympics were! Team GB outdid themselves, and although I wasn’t able to visit any more Olympic events, I more than made up for it at the Paralympics.
I’ve got 9 t-shirts, a jumper, 3 Wenlocks, a Mandeville, 4 umbrellas, a towel, a bag, a cap and several tickets to events. And I almost (foolishly) bought a genuine Olympic torch on ebay! The torch was probably going a bit too far, but I am proud of having been part of the games. For the Paralympics I managed to go to the Opening Ceremony, Table Tennis, Goalball, Wheelchair Basketball preliminary match, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball gold medal match, a brief visit to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the Paralympics began, Wheelchair marathon and finally the Closing Ceremony. And I haven’t had enough! I’m already looking at hotels in Rio for 2016!

The London 2012 Olympics truly have inspired a generation. Thank You.

I guess all that remains is for me to thank all those who made it possible. The Games Makers (especially friends of mine who were either performing at the ceremonies or in uniform at the events), Team GB, LOCOG, Boris Johnson, ALL of the corporate sponsors and of course the mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville!

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