My mole who has been beavering away (one at a time with the metaphors, please. Ed) at the Olympic Park became mute about ten days ago after he had witnessed a practice for the Opening Ceremony. When badgered (Not again! Ed) to provide details the response was “It’s classified information, mother” which was galling to say the least.
After the official practice run he was sufficiently awestruck to make the comment “It makes me proud to be British” which for a teenager concerned with coolness of image is praise indeed. But that was it – not a word more! I was tempted to get him up against a wall with arm behind back to extract information from him but as he is a foot taller than me I thought the action futile.
Then, during the Opening Ceremony he finds himself in a Press Box….the luck some people have!
Anyway, a few phone pictures to capture the event for which we are all proud to be British.
Blue Badge tourist guide
Posted in 2012 Olympics, Events, Home, Family & Fun
Tagged Blue Badge tourist guide, British, doves, fireworks, industrial revolution, NHS, Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012, Olympic Park, prectice event
The Olympic & Paralympic Games dates are coming up fast which will provide us with a very exciting summer and the legacy they leave will remain for generations. Take a tour of the Olympic venues and see for yourself how an area east of London has been transformed.
A neglected industrial waste-ground suffering from an earlier industrial age when stewardship of the land was not a priority, has been regenerated into an environmentally clean urban space.
A toxic marsh area has been transformed into 250 acres of leisure, living and working space.
This is re-generation in a form and scale not previously seen and will challenge your pre-conceptions of the London East End for years to come.
Below are the Royal Docks nearby to the Olympic Park which may have worked as a catalyst for the Olympic Vision. You can tour the area contrasting ancient history with modern interpretations to see how a truly great city continually re-invents itself.
This week has been marvellous for its spring weather & South East Tour Guides have been fortunate enough to be spending the time at the Olympic Park, and it is truly inspiring. We have been sped around the Park in a little pink bus getting to know all the different buildings; tramped the perimeter & recce-ed the local area with a fine toothcomb; and we love it all.Here are just a few photos to show you how things are shaping up for the Olympic Games.
The Olympic Rings are currently residing in the King George V Docks, waiting in the wings to be floated back up the River Thames to adorn London Bridge.
The Aquatics Centre shows off
the daffodils in the bottom left of
the frame -there really is intention for this Olympic Park to be a long-term legacy to London, why else plant bulbs which will be well & truly over by August? They will be bright & cheerful again next year– a reassuring sign of the promised forward planning.
And so that you can say you saw it here first (we do go that extra mile just for you Dear Reader) here’s the grass inside the Olympic Athletics Stadium; home grown in Scunthorpe.
And finally just because we can and we’re proud ………
Ciao Dear Readers!
I have just returned after a lovely stay in Italy, based in Milan (no – before you ask inexplicably I was neither in nor at Milan Fashion Week). I was visiting the now very grown up children, with their own children, who I looked after as an au-pair several decades ago, while brushing up my Italian skills with a whole week of speaking no English whatsoever. I even got through Gone with The Wind in Italian. A long film at the best of times , but with Italian style frequent advert breaks….
I practised my vocabulary by telling anyone who would listen all about my job as a South East England Blue Badge Guide and the many fascinating places they would be able to visit should they drop into Kent sometime.
I obviously made a strong impression since, as I write, I am dimly aware of a flurry of flight bookings and am braced for an impending influx of my Italian friends requiring a very personal guided tour of South East England.
First off – the nine year old son of my one time ‘ littlest Italian bambino’ (now 6 foot 2..) is obsessed with mazes and he may now be arriving ‘in famiglia’ in August to check out those near where I live at Hever Castle, and an easy outing away at Hampton Court Palace and Leeds Castle.
Meanwhile the fascination with all things to do with our Royal Family among people without their own continues. While in Italy I was cross- examined on every detail of The Royal Wedding, the changes to the Royal Succession, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the – in their opinion – ‘new improved’ Prince Harry (who during my visit was ‘beating’ Usain Bolt in the 100 metres in Jamaica so was hot news).
The teenage daughters of ‘my little Italian charge now mother of two’ are therefore planning their visit for a personalised guided tour of Windsor Castle, and in particular the Queen’s Dolls House. No doubt they will also expect the odd trip to Harrods and Buckingham Palace thrown in as well – anywhere they may dream of catching a glimpse of a member of the Royal Family and in particular the aforementioned eligible Prince.
Kensington Palace which re-opens in just a couple of weeks on 26 March after extensive re-furbishment will obviously be a must for them and it will give me an excuse to visit it too, although I may not be able to organise tea with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
These visits from Italy may clash with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and/or The Olympic Games at a time when we Blue Badge Guides are likely to be busier than ever – but there will always be time for my Italian family.
This coming week Dawn and I are briefly abandoning our guiding duties to do a course specifically on guiding at the 2012 Olympic Venues. We will therefore be able to take my Italians for a Blue Badge Guide experience of the Olympic Park too. Although possibly not while Usain Bolt is running the 100 metres for real, no doubt with Prince Harry watching – sadly I’m not going to be able to get them tickets for that!
Alla prossima volta
Posted in 2012 Olympics, Home, Family & Fun, International Links, Local Visits, Royal Family
Tagged 2012 Olympic 100 metres, 2012 Olympics, Blue Badge Guides, Diamond jubilee, Duchess of Cambridge, Hampton Court Palace, Hever Castle Maze, Italy, Kensington Palace, Leeds castle, Mazes, Milan Fashion Week, Olympic Park, Olympic Venue Tours, Prince Harry Jamaica, South East Blue Badge Guides, The Royal Family, The Royal Wedding, themed olympic tours, Usain Bolt, Windsor Castle
It has been such an exciting week with the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics really underway.
A fascinating documentary on TV the other night showed just what an extraordinary feat getting the Olympic Park to its ‘ready to be trialled’ state has been. I had not appreciated quite how much emphasis has been put on trying to minimise the carbon footprint of the whole building process with the use of railways and revived canals for transport, on-site reuse of 90% of demolished building materials and re-design of key elements of the major stadia to minimise use of steel.
I found the programme’s description of the engineering behind Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre’s ‘wave’ roof, (shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize) which spans more than two football pitches supported only by a slim wall at one end and two columns at the other, quite amazing. Although there has been some criticism of the two temporary seating stacks on either side, these are necessary for spectator capacity during the games and will be removed after the Games when the Wave Roof will be revealed in all its glory as part of the all important legacy of the 2012 Games.
The striking design of the Olympic medals was released this week as well. To quote the official press release: “The medals’ circular form is a metaphor for the world. The front of the medal always depicts the same imagery at the summer Games – the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, stepping out of the depiction of the Parthenon to arrive in the Host City.
The design for the reverse features five symbolic elements:
- The curved background implies a bowl similar to the design of an amphitheatre.
- The core emblem is an architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern City, and is deliberately jewel-like.
- The grid suggests both a pulling together and a sense of outreach – an image of radiating energy that represents the athletes’ efforts.
- The River Thames in the background is a symbol for London and also suggests a fluttering baroque ribbon, adding a sense of celebration.
- The square is the final balancing motif of the design, opposing the overall circularity of the design, emphasising its focus on the centre and reinforcing the sense of ‘place’ as in a map inset.”
At South East Tour Guides we will be spending the time between now and the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on 27 July 2012 putting everything in place to ensure that clients who base themselves in the South East, within easy reach of the Olympic venues, to have the most memorable stay possible. Watch this space over the coming months for more about our plans.
Posted in 2012 Olympics, Events
Tagged 2012 London Olympics, 2012 Olympic Games, 27 July 2012, Green Olympics, Olympic Aquatics park, Olympic Medals, Olympic Park, Olympic Stadium, Opening Ceremony, South East Tour Guides, Stirling Prize, Stratford, Sustainable Olympics, Wave roof, Zaha Hadid