It’s twenty minutes after the wonderful hour of midnight and I’m being kept awake. Not, as you might think, because of the stifling heat. But because Sir Paul McCartney is bashing out a rendition of Hey Jude at The London 2012 Olympic Games stadium over in Stratford.
Last time I heard Fab Macca do Hey Jude live was when I stole into Green Park over a fence for some royal celebration or other in the Noughties. So, it is somewhat surreal to have been lying in bed as the opening bars reached my ears. Given we can’t always clearly hear the live acts who play at the festivals in Victoria Park from our house, it must be darned loud for us to be able to hear every word of Hey Jude from the stadium.
The sky is abuzz with helicopters and being lit up by laser beams. A few minutes ago there were some rather fearsome sounding fireworks. For the last couple of hours the night air has been filled with the sound of music, though so far there’s been no sign of Julie Andrews.
So it looks like the Olympics is really here. Who knew. Well, us actually. Victoria Park, the park we overlook, has been undergoing a massive regeneration in preparation for 2012. I have to say it is looking pretty swell.
And I took the Tinkerous Toddler to see the Olympic torch on Saturday, as it was carried through Hackney. There we were, stood outside the Tesco on Morning Lane, eagerly anticipating its arrival. Three seconds later and it was gone. Still, it’s one to tell the grandkids.
We’ve been doing cycling reconnaissance missions around the east side of the park the last few days, checking out exactly what is going on. We had heard a whisper of a viewing wheel, a la the London Eye, so it was rewarding to have it come into sight today as we peddled along.
The Olympic traffic lanes are up and running, we’ve been weaving in and out of them in a slightly confused manner over the past couple of weeks, but now the man on the news says they are actually operational, so that folly will have to stop. As will all journeys by car it would seem.
Or will they? That’s the thing. I still have absolutely no idea of what to expect. To say that the information residents have been given about the Olympics is scant is an understatement. We had, along with half of Hackney, put our house on with an agent to rent it out at some exorbitant rate. But , along with half of Hackney, that came to nothing.
Apparently London is far quieter than it was meant to be, with hoteliers wringing their hands, as they slash their room rates to try and lure all the people that were told to steer clear of London if they weren’t attending the Olympics. Because the rooms sure as hell haven’t been booked out by Olympic peeps.
Our neighbours have managed to let house out. I am still waiting on tenter hooks to see who has moved in. But in general, there has been an air of ‘is anything much going to happen?’ around our little manor.
Until tonight. I think tonight has finally got me believing that the Olympics is going to be the big deal that we imagined it would be way back in 2005.
I may not entirely agree, scrub that, I may not agree in the slightest, with some of the dubious corporate sponsorships or the way that our particular area of East London has been festooned with ‘Welcome to the Olympics’ banners that bear huge images of a sponsor’s latest mobile phone offering. But, the Olympic sites are all shiny new and ready to go. ON TIME!! The Olympic Park itself is a triumph, I watched a mind-boggling documentary about all the work that has gone into it, and it truly is a wonder.
So, I’m erring on the side of getting into the Olympic spirit at the moment. Here’s to us, the Brits, hosts of the 2012 Olympic Games. It’s time for team Great Britain to go for gold! Not just the athletes but all of us. It’s a once in a lifetime thang, so let’s make the most of it.
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