On August 8th, a gloriously sunny day, my daughter and I went up to Stratford on the train to visit the Oympic park and later in the evening watch the preliminary womens 10 metre platform diving competition. I'm so glad I went, I even wonder if I'd not had cancer if I'd have made the effort to get the tickets! You know what it used to be like in the pre-cancer days...... oh I'll do that tomorrow. But, as we all well know, at sometime, tomorrow will be too late for some of us to do these things. I don't for a minute regret the cost which included kitting us out in Team GB T-shirts, wrist bands, etc, nor the miles we walked gasping at the enormity of the Olympic Park, nor the numb bum sitting up in the Gods on hard plastic seats cheering on all the competitors. I have never witnessed such a well run event, from the British rail employees at our local station decked out in their pink Olympic vests telling us the right stations to use, the volunteer Olympic greeters who kept the crowds moving all around Stratford and the Park, they answered every question we had (mostly where the nearest loo's were!) they were cheerful, friendly and still full of Olympic spirit 13 days into the games. The loos to my amazement, weren't crowded and spotlessly clean, right up to leaving at 10pm (and being a 'bag lady' I'm an expert on loo facilities!) The buildings are iconic, a heritage for our youth, the river wends its way peacefully through the park, which has banks of the most beautiful wild flowers alongside. There are seats to just rest and soak up the atmosphere, to listen to the cachophony of languages around you, to watch the children with their faces painted with the flags of their homeland, to watch the groups of performers entertaining the public. I have never been anywhere before where there have been so many people, a mass of humanity, all enjoying themselves, all happy, all friendly, in any queue we exchanged stories of why we were there, took each others photo's and high fived when the queue moved on. I wore my gold bum badge proudly on my Team GB T-shirt, the pin collectors all wanted it...... it was not for sale or exchange, hopefully a few more people are aware of bowel cancer.
The diving was spectacular, you do not realise how
high up a 10 metre board is until you are there in the pool, watching these
young girls tumble and pirouette into the clear waters below. Quiet was asked
for before each dive and quiet was what they got, you could have heard the
proverbial pin drop for each of the 140 dives we saw that evening, then came the
roar of the crowd a few thousand of us, when the dive was complete, the roar
reached a crescendo when the 2 girls from team GB dived, 18 out of the 26 girls
competing were put through to the semi-final the next day, unfortunately our
girls came 19th and 20th, but they did us proud and I admire their nerves of
We left the park just before 10pm along with a huge river of
humanity from all the different arenas, there was no pushing or pulling, just
everyone walking towards their exits in an orderly fashion, so it moved smoothly
with the volunteers again guiding and directing so cheerfully.
I am SO
glad I experienced Britain at it's best, a summer where the news of our
successes have thwarted anyone with ideas of rioting or causing worse scenarios.
I hope the powers that be use the euphoria of the games to stimulate our youth
to do worthwhile activities, to use our new facilities. I hope they promote our
medal winners and those who took part to encourage the children of our nation to
look up to them and what they achieve instead of those who just promote glamour
I can say 'I was there', I experienced positivity on a huge
scale, some of it has rubbed off and is now firmly wedged in my soul to help me
beat this disease that is testing me to the utmost.