THIS POST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOD*
Not one little bit.
But it is about London. And the Olympics.
You see, I haven’t been cooking as much as normal recently, I was overtaken with a fever. I became obsessed with the Olympics and Paralympics.
Now, I am not a sports fan. At least I wasn’t until recently. Sport for me was always something that I found isolating. I was always picked last for the team, I would run away from a football kicked in my direction, and generally I was much happier daydreaming or reading a book. But I tried.
When the Olympics and Paralympics were announced for London, my first thoughts weren’t joyous. I worried about all of those extra folks in London standing on the wrong side of the escalator or walking too slowly. We Londoners can’t deal with that you see.
Then as they approached and everyone talked about leaving, I decided to stop travelling and to stay. I thought that maybe the games would be a great time in London, and I should stay to find out. If it was awful I could just hide out at home.
I never expected to become a sports fan though.
The opening ceremony, watched crowded in front of a friends TV at his birthday party made me cry. I loved it. It was barking in the most appropriate way, it was sensitive and it was lovely.
I had been trying, and failing, to get tickets. They seemed so expensive, and I didn’t think that I would get to go. Then one day a follower said that their friend couldn’t go, and the tickets were reasonably priced. So I hopped on the train to Brighton to meet them. The next day I was at the Volleyball.
It was so exciting. Cheery gamesmakers all the way from the tube station signalling the way with giant foam hands. Bongo cam, cheerleaders (in London!) and SPORT.
I was surprised that I liked it. In fact, I loved it very much.
The penny dropped as I watched. All these years I had thought that sport was really complicated and inaccessible. I found that I could follow it quite easily after all. And get excited about it.
I became obsessed.
The next day I went to the ladies handball and cheered while surrounded by Norwegians roaring their team on and waving cowbells. I saw the poor Brazilian team shed a tear when they lost.
I went to watch the triathlon on the big screen in the British Airways Park Live at Olympic Park, sitting in the only available patch of what seemed like shredded bark. I didn’t care. I needed to see one of the Brownlee brothers (hopefully) win that race. They did. I was delighted.
Katie Taylor won the gold for Ireland! We were all so excited and tried to go to Irish Olympic House to cheer her on. We couldn’t get in but queued to go in later. I managed to snaffle some returns for the Modern Pentathlon while I waited.
Back a few days later for the Athletics. I saw the American female relay team win that race. I saw that Jamaican relay team smash the world record. Just amazing. To see Usain Bolt run, and subsequently argue with the official because he wanted to keep the baton. I saw Mandeville stalk him across the track. I could see it all from my seat in the gods. It was an amazing experience.
I saw Mo Farah win the 5000m. I know. The crowd was roaring, as Mo ran around there was a deafening wave of intense MO MO MO MO MO that followed him. I worried for him. I wanted him to do it. And he did! We joined the crowds after outside the BBC studio cheering him. People were singing any kind of a song that they could shoehorn Mo into. Mo, Mo, Mo your boat! Heads, shoulders, knees and Mo!
The next day I went to the Modern Pentathlon. In style, we travelled by boat down the Thames to Greenwich on the most gorgeous day.
And then the closing ceremony which I watched on the big screen in Victoria Park. My only disappointing experience of the games. Terrible food and lots of queues (and I am comparing them McDonalds at the park). A real shame and a missed opportunity.
And that was it, it was over. But the Paralympics was about to start. I even knew a Paralympian!
* Irish folks of a *cough* certain vintage may recall the Zig and Zag nothing to do with toast video. I laughed many happy hours watching them roas over and over, everytime a slice of toast appeared on the screen THIS VIDEO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TOAST.