Thursday, 26 July 2012

The London 2012 Olympics are here

Although there's another day to go until the London 2012 Olympics is officially declared open, for us and many others living so close to the Olympic Park it has already begun. 

Inside the Olympic Stadium
Inside the Olympic Stadium last night
  • Living in a big city, we are used to the Metropolitan Police helicopter hovering above us from time to time, but since last week there have been helicopters circling the skies each afternoon and evening.
  • The purple-and-orange clad volunteers for the Games can be seen everywhere - at bus stops, on the tube, in local shops, in the park and walking down the street.  There are tens of thousands of them - all volunteers and all enthusiastic about the Games.  It is heartwarming to see.
  • They know their stuff too - they've all been able to answer my questions so far.
  • Not that I'm testing them or anything.
  • For years there has been endless discussion and speculation locally about just how bad the traffic would be during the Games.
  • On Monday - the first day of restrictions - I drove five and a half miles to Tottenham, to buy a sack of hen feed, with no problems whatsoever.
  • Yesterday, emboldened by my success, I attempted to drive a mile and a half to Wanstead.
  • I made it 600 metres and then had to abandon my car in a residents' parking bay because the roads were gridlocked and we weren't going anywhere.
  • Luckily I was only 600 metres from home, so my own Olympic residents' parking permit was still valid.
  • I have learnt my lesson.  I shall not be taking the car out again until 9th September, when the Paralympics finishes.
  • A favourite local pub is opening a festival style Pop Up Pub in Leyton town hall for the duration of the summer.  Seeing as I can't drive, I reason that I might as well make the most of it.
  • Olivia and I are festooning the house with bunting and flags today.
  • Last night Cam and I went to the penultimate dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony.  It was utterly amazing and magical.  But I can't tell you any more than that because Danny Boyle swore us to secrecy.
  • When Danny Boyle came on stage, Cam piped up "Oh look! It's the really strict choreographer who kept us back late on our last rehearsal."
  • It turns out that Danny Boyle has been rehearsing the children for the Closing Ceremony in person.  I thought he would have delegated that job.  Cam and the other teenagers from his school just shrugged when I exclaimed "But he's not a 'strict choreographer', he's an iconic Oscar winning film director!".  There's nothing like a world-weary teenager for keeping it real.
  • They were all still very excited to be in the stadium and to get an idea of what the atmosphere will be like when they perform at the Closing Ceremony in just over two weeks' time.
  • Athletes and coaches from all over the world are here.  Yesterday I saw a pack of Australian coaches waiting at Leytonstone station, smiling and chatting in the sunshine.  Then today, on his run to work, Graham saw a flock of Kenyan runners enjoying a leisurely jog through Victoria Park at an eyewateringly fast pace.
  • The USA judo, volleyball and boxing teams are training at the Score sports complex next to Leyton Orient stadium, just around the corner from us.
  • I don't think you could live here and not be excited about all this.  East London feels like the centre of the world at the moment.

Waiting in Westfield for train platforms to clear at Stratford
Stuck in Westfield at Stratford for an hour last night, waiting for tube platofrms to clear.

Anish Kapoor's Orbit
Anish Kapoor's Orbit sculpture in the Olympic Park


  1. What a great blog post - lovely to hear what's happening. We have tickets for next Wednesday and will be watching the opening ceremony with great excitement. I heard on the radio that Danny Boyle made all those that were there for the rehearsal promise not to spoil the surprise and I think it is AMAZING that no one has broken the promise! He must have really really given you all a strict talking to ;-)

  2. Hi to Victoria Park. We used to live just next to it, a lovely, open space with beautiful old trees.

  3. Thanks for painting such a great picture Nancy. As a Sydneysider it brings back wonderful memories of the 2000 games. It was a magical time. Soak it all in and enjoy!

  4. So nice that someone else is excited - I'm starting to feel like a lone voice. We can see the stadium from the loft, and I watched the search lights last night. How amazing that Cam is going to be a part of it!

  5. big excitement in our house too-hoping to bring sunshine with us on Thursday..just HOW excited is Cam right now??!!

  6. It's interesting to hear your experience of the London 2012 Olympics. Here in Bristol we're barely affected. The torch passed through (twice I believe) but I confess I didn't make any effort to see it. I was, however, very impressed by the opening ceremony and have been following today's men's road race with interest (and disappointment!). By the time your Cam takes part in the closing ceremony I shall no doubt have become an expert in the intricacies of several random sports.


Even though I often do not have the time to reply to everybody, I really appreciate all your comments so much - thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts on what I've written.