Sunday, 29 July 2012

Isle Thing

THE LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS ARE FINALLY HERE!


I watched every second, every sheep, every suffragette of the Opening Ceremony. My brother had already been to a technical rehearsal for the ceremony in the week and from his patriotic reaction I knew we were in for quite the show! I loved the use of VTs superbly created by BBC Drama and was enthralled by the atmospheric music and greatly moving scenes from Britain's history. What a treat it was. My family and I were cracking up big time as Mr Bond arrived at the Palace to escort Her Majesty to the stadium. This was funny enough but then the helicopter appeared and there were the Corgis whimpering at the sight of their mistress being whisked away! Other highlights included Rowan Atkinson's return to Mr. Bean (I must say I was slightly disappointed that Teddy did not appear but then I remembered among other accidents, he/she was decapitated at one point), Kenneth Branagh and the I.K. Brunel sideburns (better than Bradley Wiggins'), multiple Mary Poppins' drifting in with lit umbrellas and henceforth destroying Voldey and of course, the awe-inspiring, breathtaking Olympic Cauldron. To incorporate all the country flags on the grassy mound and gather those copper petals together to form that beautiful cauldron was sublime. Bravo, Thomas Heatherwick, you genius! (I'm allowed to sound/be pompous when talking about the Olympic Games)

So after two days of competitive sport, what have I been watching? I've watched both the Men's and Women's ROAD RACES, very exciting towards the end when you've got a British rider absolutely going for it however this was unfortunately only the case during the Women's. After a lot of hype, the GB Men's team just stuck together while other countries and their tactics zoomed by. The commentators weren't much help; continuing hopes that we would be able to come through, until it became so obviously too late that they had to back out of previous statements. Lizzie Armitstead secured GB's first medal coming second behind Marianna Vos of The Netherlands who sprinted to victory in the Womens Road Race.


Also been keeping an eye on my beloved TENNIS! Murray and Djokovic both through to the second round, Murray in 2 and Djokovic in 3 sets. I'm not sure I like best of 3! I generally only watch the Grandslams and so it's hard to adjust and accept sets lost here and there when the margins are so narrow. Still, Murray had a tough opening opponent and he blew him out of Centre Court 63 63, all the way back to the Olympic Park where Wawrinka had carried the Swiss flag the night before due to Federer politely rejecting the offer to carry it a third time. As @PseudoFed says, so #humble!


New favourite to watch might actually be BEACH VOLLEYBALL! Apart from the gratuitous Women's "outfits", it's quite compelling and I just love the location at Horse Guards Parade. When I've dropped round to see the Queen in the last couple of weeks, I have been slightly annoyed that the Mall has been closed but now I see it was all worth it :)


As always we've been watching the CANOE SLALOM. Really good fun and it's very easy to assume you know everything about it. You can comment away at the different runs and times the Olympians make after just seeing a couple go through the course. Our man David Florence (2008 Silver Medallist in Beijing) is into the Semi-final so good news there. Fun fact for you, he grew up on the same road as fellow Olympian Sir Chris Hoy in Edinburgh!


Finally we've been keeping another eye on TABLE TENNIS and today we spotted Alistair! I was messaging him via facebook asking him questions about his position as Audio Playback Engineer at the Excel Centre and asked him to stand up so we could check his whereabouts, and there he was! He'll get to play National Anthems towards the end of the tournament. No joking, it'll probably be China's!


I'm in the process of trying to work out HANDBALL. It looks so relaxed and free that I am sceptical whether it actually has any rules!
Agnel's teammates realise they have struck GOLD! Competitor on the left looks on in disbelief.

Last but not least SWIMMING! Phelps not looking as dominant as in Beijing, his compatriot Ryan Lochte won Gold on Saturday for the 400m Individual Medley and today the USA Team only managed Silver in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay. They led the whole way and then in the last 50m, France's Yannick Agnel swam the length of his life completely bypassing Lochte to secure France's second Gold Medal of the Games so far. As traditional British folk we are usually critical of France and not their biggest supporters but the underdog spirit overtook leading me and mum to both cheer for France and then look forward to hearing La Marseillaise on the podium! Team GB's second medal was to come from Beijing's "Golden Girl" Rebecca Adlington, whose 800m final in Beijing 2008 I woke up for in the middle of the night to watch. She got a cracking Bronze in her less-than-favourite 400m Freestyle event. Not too shabby.

Athletics, Track Cycling and Men's Diving haven't got going yet, so watch this space for reports on my favourite men of the Olympics!: Usain Bolt, Sir Chris Hoy and Thomas Daley!


P.s Kids, as much as I would like Tom Daley to be your father, it ain't gonna happen. I'm no #cradlesnatcher.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Such a Groovy Guy

Wimbledon has taken over my life. If you are a friend of mine on facebook this fact will be very obvious to you. No fewer than the last 13 items I have posted have been Wimbledon related. Where to start?

On Tuesday 26th June I hopped on a Southern Line train to West Brompton then a District line tube to Southfields station. Met up with friends from Birmingham on the way and we joined "The Queue" in Wimbledon Park (not to be confused with the Wombles' common). 25 hours later and we're sat on Centre Court at The All England Tennis club. Happy days. And while the queueing is tiresome, we had fun and it was nice being in a larger group than last year.


Most of our time was spent haggling over the price of dodgy pizza, mastering our house rules in Uno, sleeping and rejoicing/groaning about our relative positions in the card game "Bums and Presidents". The pizza thing was funny, managed to get £73 worth of pizza down to £24 by driving a hard bargain with a guy who was coming along the queue handing out leaflets. We handed over the money and he said he would make the order for us. 10 minutes later..."did we just give our money to someone before we even got the pizza?" For a split second we thought we'd be conned but the pizza came and faith was restored. Lesson learnt!





Centre Court is just amazing. I like it when things seem bigger in real life compared to TV. The BBC coverage doesn't do it justice (an example of the opposite is the Royal Albert Hall but I'll come back to that later). The matches we saw were fantastic:


A supreme exhibition from ever-classy Federer, a failing Wozniacki 3-setter where I didn't know who to support!, a very tidy show from the mum-of-one and soon-to-retire Kim Clijsters and the man we camped for... Novak Djokovic.

What can I say kids? This was the day I MET your father! Haha I wish. I'm not one to be a home wrecker as Mr Nole is already married, but as Tina says: "It's not over till there's kids!" Yes yes, we rubbed shoulders with the best of them. Here's a list of the rich and famous we saw during the day:

Nick Hewer of the Apprentice
Richard Bacon of Blue Peter and 5Live fame
HRH Prince Charles
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Sir Bruce Forsyth and wife Wilnelia, former Miss World
Lord Sebastian Coe
Stefan Edberg, former World No.1 and 6-time grand slam winner
John Inverdale, BBC Presenter
and a bunch of world class tennis players of course :)




The most exciting thing was going up to get autographs after Djokovic's match. Up we rushed just as he won his match point, trying to get in position. Tina was of course, the first person he went up to! She asked him for his sweatband and he obliged, signing it before handing it over. I was standing further down the line thinking "oh my goodness lucky dawg!" Little did I know that he would come along the line, see me shaking my Serbian coloured banner at him, take it from me to sign it, smile right at me(!!!) hear me say feebly "I made you a banner!" then smile again, reach into his pocket for the other sweatband, sign it and hand it to me! I nearly died on the spot. It's sitting on my shelf in all its glory. Life may not ever be able to reach the heights of that peak. Swoon.

So the whole day was fantastic, we got almost 11 hours of tennis and with Centre Court tickets priced at £56 a pop, I think that's money well spent!


It's been a busy two weeks or so. On 21st June the day after my 20th Birthday I went to see Carrie Underwood in her first ever UK concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I love this venue so much so when I heard that was where her concert would take place I jumped at the chance to go. She was absolutely incredible and put on the best live gig I have ever been to. Her new album is on repeat and she did loads of songs from her previous three albums. Love her to bits.

And then I went to Liverpool for "The Genesis Project" convention! It was so well organised and not too big that I met some lovely people. I was also so impressed with the city centre! It really is beautiful and much nicer than Birmingham I have to say! They have the Mersey at the heart of it with nice big buildings and an open feel. Not sure about the accent though. The highlights of the convention were the boat dance complete with Where's Wally? theme and then the Sunday meetings which felt more like comedy shows! I enjoy it when our church leaders have a sense of humour, especially when speaking with YSA; I think we need it!


Epic blog post over, but you can look forward to reports on future events such as a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, my first wedding as a Maid of Honour and efy! So long...
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