Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympic Champions

Yesterday was our day at the Olympics, and the children were the champions.

I had been so excited eighteen months or so ago, when we made our first application for Olympic tickets, only to be disappointed in both the first and second rounds of the ballot.  Having been initially determined to ensure that all three children had experience of London 2012 (trying to buy tickets for Eddie even before he was born), I rather lost interest having been through what seemed to entirely unfair a system.  Anything that there did seem to be tickets left for after that wasn't being offered at the Young Person's price, and the difference between £5, £3 and £1 for Gertie, Gilby and Eddie and the full price for, say, the 69kg weightlifting class, exciting though it undoubtedly was, at £50 a pop simply couldn't be justified.

I'd all but given hope of getting anything, but when tickets went on general sale I managed to secure some seats at Wembley for a Group B football match.

Imagine our...delight...when we discovered some months ago that the Group B match would be Gabon v Korea (whilst Team GB were busy playing in Cardiff).

No matter: an Olympic event it was, and off we went.

Well, Boris and Seb, I have to say that London looked shiny and fantastic, and more than that, it worked.  What I mean is that all public transport ran smoothly, the Olympic decorations and signs everywhere looked great and were highly effective, and all the volunteers we spoke to (and with our three children and a heavily laden buggy trying to negotiate across London we had to speak to quite a few) were engaging, friendly and extremely helpful.

You weren't supposed to bring a bag or a buggy to the football.  Right.  Explain to me how were supposed to negotiate that, exactly.  But in the end it was all fine, and much fun was had by all at the 0-0 game. Gertie particularly enjoyed the frequent Mexican waves. I was totally impressed on my first visit to the new Wembley and my first international football game. Korea qualified from the group and will play Team GB next.

Two things marred our day: The first was how long it took to get out of Wembley and back into London.  (About two hours.  We were at the back of the 77,924 people who had attended the game as we had to go and collect the forbidden buggy from the pram park.)

The second was the fact that our tickets did not get us in or indeed anywhere near Olympic Park itself. What a shame, though we did try.

We fell home, exhausted at about 11.15pm, with two out of three children still going strong.  Only the baby had fallen asleep at about 9pm.  They were all absolutely impeccably behaved, all day long, in spite of much travelling, walking, tube and escalator negotiation.  Gold medals for my little Olympic champions.

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