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10 Things :: July (10 Signs the Olympics are coming to London)

10 Things
Tower Bridge with Olympic Rings
It’s the tenth of the month, which means two things: the preparation notes are now ready for my monthly scrapbooking challenge at UKScrappers, and it’s time for 10 Things: a blogging project filled with lists of anything, as long as there are ten things i the list. And with that, I bring you Ten signs the Olympics are coming to Londontown.

1. There are giant Olympic rings hanging from Tower Bridge. Huge. Can’t miss ‘em. There is a set at St Pancras international too, if you’re doing any channel crossing by train. Perhaps more impressive, the biggest set of Olympic rings ever has been mown into the grass at Richmond Park so they are visible from the air. I have a flight from Heathrow this Saturday, so I’m hoping for a window seat and a peek for the full effect.

2. Boris Johnson’s voice can now be heard on the loudspeaker of many train and tube stations. The first time I heard this at my local station was ridiculously early last Saturday morning and it nearly made me jump out of my skin, as all the other announcements are done by a robot voice rather than a recording of an actual person. Now I get a little nervous with the reminder that my usually quiet little station is an official Olympic route stop, and will likely be absolutely packed to the brim. (Locals, if you’re coming to Blackheath, be advised there are no ticket barriers on our station, and if you don’t remember to touch in and out on Oyster, you’ll be fined. We have all learnt this the hard way.)

london letterpressed cards
3. We have Olympic-themed bunting in the village and some flags on the heath. In the bright colours of this year’s branding – pink, purple, orange and turquoise. It went up a week or so after the Jubilee and it clearly has the Olympic and Paralympic logos alongside the 2012 design (of which I am so not a fan, but no one really asked me). I was standing at the road crossing when a lady looked up and remarked, ‘Oh, it’s nice they finally put something up for the Jubilee.’ Proof that some of the London population are applying the denial rule to all things Olympic this summer.

4. Everything that normally happens in a London summer is still happening, just on a much bigger scale. This past weekend, I watched some performances as part of the Big Dance, which happens every summer. Except this year it was everywhere! Circus tents at the Royal Naval College! At St Pancras Station! City Hall! (Actually, this is on-going at the moment and it’s not just in London, so have a look here for their full programme.) Speaking to a friend with an interest in independent film-making, she reported there have been so many more opportunities to collaborate or take a class as people get excited about how the city will change for these few months. So I’m thinking the same is happening across so many topics.

trooping the colour
5. The tourist groups are already bigger than usual. I’m not sure any of us can imagine what this is going to be like during the games themselves. Our local park is a pretty big tourist attraction anyway (hey, who doesn’t want to stand in both the eastern and western hemispheres AT THE SAME TIME I ask you?) but in the days before the park closed, the tourist groups ballooned in size. The same is in full effect in the West End and on the South Bank. I’m used to seeing tour groups of twenty or so, with a leader holding a random flag or umbrella to guide them, but in the past week I’ve seen multiple groups that are in the fifty to a hundred size. They move more slowly and take up so much more room. Yesterday I ran into such a group in a stairwell and I was of course going the opposite direction. I can’t say it was the most pleasant situation of all time really.

greenwich park sunset
6. The park is closed. We have known this was coming for a very long time, but it doesn’t make it any less sad. Much of the park has been closed for some time now as the equestrian arena, stabling and security is constructed, but now it is completely closed, and that goes for the Royal Observatory and the Planetarium too, which I know sounds like a random thing to lose from your everyday life, but we are actually members there so it’s more everyday than you might think. (Everyday but clearly not every day, yes?) On the flip side, the National Maritime Museum is not closed and has been recently kitted out with a swish new wing. I highly recommend the current special exhibition on the Royal River: it includes actual musical notebooks from Purcell and Handel, scrapbooks of royals from the early days of civilian photography, and some amazing revelations in the long tradition of trinkets made to commemorate coronations and royal marriages. Plus a full history of the Thames and many amazing paintings of its various incarnations (including the frozen Thames turned into a street carnival).

7. There are now little pink signs on tube maps that indicate which lines you need to get to the different event sites. Actually quite handy for not going to an event too, as this is a time when I’m sure I will be taking the longer route if getting from A to B means I can avoid the traffic of those going to an event.

8. Our Olympic tickets arrived! We have a set of cheap seats for round one of Men’s Basketball, and I also have a ticket to go be an audience stand-in for a day of testing things in the stadium before the games actually open, which sounds like it could be quite the mysterious adventure.

london ambassadors uniform
9. I have been to no fewer than three official interviews to verify my identity and good intentions so I can be trusted to guide tourists as a London Ambassador (that uniform is rather amazing, I tell you) and be part of another rather large event during games time (still can’t tell you about that part). Relieved to say I have passed all three security interviews and now been granted all sorts of large photo ID cards to hang around my neck, a pin that indicates I can speak a tiny bit of Spanish, and one particularly stylish trilby hat.

team GB
10. People are either EXCITED!!!! or grumpy. I wanted to say there is not much in between, but that would be wrong. Londoners do things in between. It is not a city of extreme emotion. We do not talk to strangers here and we do not make eye contact. It takes a while to understand that it’s not a rude thing – it’s a case of I don’t know you and I don’t want to intrude in your space/mind/life. In many cases, anyway. (There are rude people here of course. There are rude people everywhere, just like there are amazingly kind people everywhere. Thank goodness.) So I think it is merely more visible that people are EXCITED!!!!! or grumpy, because any sort of emotion on show is pretty radical here. But the EXCITED!!!!! people? They make me exceptionally giddy.

By the way, I do have some scrapbooking projects up my sleeve for games time. And I’m mostly concerned at how slow the internet will be with all the extra online streaming of live footage. I will keep reminding myself of dial-up in the countryside circa 1994 to get through it all, and that should keep me in good perspective!

Have ten things you want to share with the world? Blog it and then link it up here! Ten things, no matter what they are, just as long as they are ten!

10 July 2012

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39 Comments for 10 Things :: July (10 Signs the Olympics are coming to London)

  1. S Says:

    You’ve certainly been observant. I wouldn’t have considered that the internet would be bogged down by streaming videos. Still I can’t wait for the games to start. Great post.

  2. Tammy Says:

    What an exciting time! I can’t imagine what it will be like when the world arrives in on London. I’m looking forward to the games! I hope that you make it through with far more excited people around you than the grumpy! :)

  3. Rebecca @ Enjoy Life Says:

    Loving your commentary on what is happening in your neighborhood. Can’t wait to hear more as things progress!

  4. Melissa Says:

    Does that Saturday flight mean you’re making an appearance at CHA before all the fun Olympic stuff starts in London?

  5. Cheryl Says:

    I just love the Olympics! Thanks for sharing all these exciting happenings. I can’t wait to read about your experiences!

  6. SIgrun c Says:

    Love this post! I am on the grumpy Londoner side of things. I live near you and this morning I was late to drop my daughter off at school as they had shut the flower garden/ and the path along the wall so I had to walk ALL the way around in the rain!!! I am not keen on them shutting the park either as that is a life saver with 3 kids in the summer…..They say they have made improvements to Greenwich to make up for all the hassle to the residents but I have not seen it????? I am REALLy trying to get excited though as I really really want to be positive…..I go to Blackheath every few days to go to the Conservotoire and I love all the decorations. Its such a nice village and quieter than over in the Greenwich. Have fun at CHA. I loved loved your posts/ videos about all the fun items coming out!!! Cant wait to see them!!!

  7. Nathalie Says:

    I can feel the excitement in your post today! A part of me wishes to be there but an even bigger part thinks the farther away the better! I’ll catch some of it on TV and I’ll think about you then! :)
    I have linked my 10 favorite peeks from Summer CHA.

  8. Jennifer Grace Says:

    Ooh, it all sounds quite exciting. Love the lurid uniform, you’ll be easy to spot in that!

  9. Monica B Says:

    This looks so exciting. I would love to be able to experience the Olympics in person.

  10. Ruby Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Love your point of view on the situation. Pretty exciting!

  11. Alison Day Says:

    It all sounds so exciting Shimelle! I remember the last few weeks in the lead up to Vancouver 2010 Olympics .. the buzz was undeniably awesome. Seeing all the Teal coated volunteers everywhere and Olympic vehicles on the roads transporting who knows who from airports and the ferries (we live near the ferry terminal that takes people from the mainland to Vancouver Island) was all so exciting. I wasn’t able to be an Ambassador or event volunteer (3 young kids and a working husband and all) and that is probably my biggest regret of the games. I was so thrilled to see your picture of you in your pink coat (amazing colour btw!) Have SO much fun!! I am literally on the edge of my seat in anticipation of your layouts and blog posts of the games! You will have a view few people ever get. Enjoy!!

  12. Alison Says:

    London looks as if it’s pretty exciting at the moment!
    Alison xx

  13. Debby Lewis Says:

    Great post. Although I know it would be crazy I would love to be in London right about now!

  14. LisaE Says:

    What a fun list. sounds like you are in for an exciting summer!

  15. Monica Says:

    I thought that it was only us swedes that didn’t look people in the eyes! I so look forward to the games and all the “horse things” (I can’t spell that fancy english word!!) and I hope I will be able to see some of your nabourhood! It must be awesome to able to be a part of it all, good luck!

  16. jodpea Says:

    That trooping the colour poster is gorgeous, does that belong to you? Thought u might like to know I booked tix to go to Harry Potter in September…soley on your recommendation! Nah I’m kidding we were talking bout goin neway, ur post just gave us a nudge – thankyou!

  17. Scrapdolly Says:

    I loved reading this Shimelle and will look for the giant rings when we fly too

  18. Debbie Piercey Says:

    Sounds so fun Shimelle, all your Olympic ventures. That would be awesome! I’ve never been to London, you make me want to go so badly!! Someday…..

  19. Linda Says:

    Wow, this sounds amazing!! That’s so exciting you have tickets to go & get to be a tour guide :) I can imagine the tourists will be insane, I live in a huge touristy area too [the Village in NYC] & it can get pretty bad. I’m surprised there are so many already though & they aren’t waiting for the games to start!!

  20. Little Nat Says:

    Love this!

  21. Cheryl M Says:

    I was going to ask you if you were going to an event, but then I see that you’re not only going to an event, but a tour guide!! Yay you!!! I’d be thrilled just to be able to attend the Olympic games!
    I’ll be watching to maybe get a peak of you on the TV! I never miss watching the Olympics!

  22. Jacky S Says:

    It all sounds really exciting to me.

  23. Caro_frenchy Says:

    hi Shimelle, so interesting to read your post, because i’m also living in London, I actually took a picture of the rings in St pancras yesterday !!
    I am also a London Ambassador !! Where are you going to be posted and when, I’m gonna be in More London (near the town hall) beginning of August. I also like my uniform and trillby (backpack, water bottle, language badges…) !!

  24. Jimjams Says:

    Oh I’m a teeny bit envious of your proximity to the EXCITED people now – mostly I’m glad I’m not in London (been there, done that), but this is the exception! Have fun :o)

  25. Angela Hathikhanavala Says:

    First, though I haven’t been in London since 1998 (semester abroad), I totally remember “your” park and all the surroundings — and yes, I have a photo somewhere of myself in two hemispheres. ;)
    Second, I’m throwing my hat in the ring with others who’ve guessed you’ll be at CHA — if so, I hope to run into you — hello, photo op! Hope so.
    Finally — I would definitely be in the EXCITED camp if I were there right now. Enjoy the madness!

  26. Julie Says:

    Oh I’m so happy for you – being an Embassador! The people that come in contact with you will be very grateful! Have a wonderful time..journal it all right here. so we can feel like we’re there! ;)

  27. Julie Jeavons Says:

    10 signs the Olympics are coming and you never mentioned the torch! But I guess there’s no sign of that for you yet until much closer to the date. It’s nice to know we provincial types get something before you guys in the Big City just occasionally!

  28. Julia Says:

    Love your 10 things this month – Wish I was still down south so I could soak up the London atmosphere. Being an Ambassador sounds exciting – well done for getting through the red tape – and I can’t wait to hear about your experience re “testing” the stadium!

  29. Jennifer Says:

    as someone who has never- and probably will never- lived anywhere near any city that would host the Olympics, I am so excited to see that you’re going to be posting Olympic-related things!! it would be so cool to be an Ambassador!!

  30. Maxi Says:

    Interesting post, Shimelle! The run up seems to have been going on for so long, it will be weird when it’s finally here. Need to pop up to London shortly so thanks for the warning about Boris booming the announcements! ha ha! Have to say, think it’ll be preferable to the usual ones! Hubby used to work right next to Tower Bridge (opposite the Egg) but now I’m going to have to go and get my own picture of the Rings there – do you know if they’re coming straight down after the Games?

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