We went to the Paralympics yesterday, for the morning session of the Athletics. Bredda, I got up at the same time I normally do for work! But it was worth it, this was our view:
Pretty impressive huh?
I was really surprised by how caught up in the Olympics and Paralympics I’ve been over the past two months. For the eight years leading up to the Games I was, like many Londoners, extremely cynical about it all. So much so that I used to amuse myself by imagining these movie posters were talking about the Games:
And don’t get me wrong, I still think there was much that is problematic about the whole business (the brand exclusion zone and branding police, the huge amounts of public money that went into it, the vexed question of whether the ‘legacy’ will work, and if it does, what does that mean for local people, some of the poorest communities in London?)
But, for the moment, all those things are lost in the brilliance of the show itself – seeing people push themselves to do amazing things, seeing crowds explode with the excitement and enthusiasm. One of the highlights of the Games for me has been the Gamesmakers, the volunteers in the purple and beige outfits, who are just endlessly cheerful. Do they take happy pills for breakfast? There they are, in the blazing sun and late at night, waiting to cheer you out of the Olympic Park with high fives and foam fingers! Love them, thank you all.
So, we caught some Plympics, cheered on Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Kenya – anyone going really. We stood for national anthems, and agreed unanimously that Azerbaijan wins gold for best anthem. It’s so melodramatic! It could be straight out of Tosca or something along those lines.
After the session finished, we headed north out of the park, checking out some of the architecture and installations along the way:
Having not really anticipated the heat, David was unprepared for the sun beating down on his head. Fortunately I had a girlscout moment, and fashioned him a ‘kiss me quick’ hat out of his (clean) hanky
We finally made it to the edge of the Olympic Park, where it joins Hackney Marshes. We walked along the Lea and across the marshes, and had a pub lunch by the river.
The early morning, hot sun, long walk, big lunch and pint of cider were the perfect storm for a very sleepy Siri. I slept on the tube all the way from one end of the Victoria line to the other! We got in the front door and within minutes I was crashed out. I came to around 9pm, having totally missed Doctor Who.