Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Excel-lent day out! London 2012

See what I did there. I should work for some a national rag don't you think? We had a marvellous day out yesterday - first at the Excel to witness the Women's Weightlifting then over to the Olympic Park. 

Firstly I should say it wasn't easy getting tickets for any event - let me tell you. We first applied at the start of the year and failed to get anything. We tried in the second round of tickets - failed. We were then allowed to apply again because we had failed on two occasions.  On that fateful day I clicked every event getting so carried away at one point it was checking availability for 4 tickets (that's the max you can have) with a grand total of £1,200.  I did phone the hubster and said "is this excessive - you did say it was once in a lifetime?" You can guess his response. In any event all priced tickets were sold out.  I did lose the will to live at several points during the day and thought this is ridiculous sod the Olympics! They can poke their tickets.  Then my husband tried later on in the evening and secured Women's Weightlifting with medals ceremony. My face was a picture - it wasn't exactly what I had in mind but beggars can't be choosers.  So the next day you could try again and I secured the Wrestling (again you are just so grateful to get anything at this point) and Olympic Park tickets. They were £30 for the 4 of us just to wander around the park not to enter any of the venues.  Throw a dog a bone why don't you. 

But now the time has come and I'm so glad we persevered as we really would have regretted it and the kids wouldn't have experienced something very special. I have to say I didn't quite expect them to enjoy the journey so much. We got a bus, train, tube and then the Dockland Light Railway. It took one hour door to door. Everything was sign posted well, there was no over crowding (well nothing like I used to experience commuting to Canary Wharf on a daily basis) and there seemed to be more  'games makers' aka the volunteers then spectators. They were so helpful and American in their dealings - something us Brits don't feel comfortable doing i.e "are you having fun?" "what did you see today?" If you weren't going to have fun then these guys would make you. My son pointed out that "those people keep talking to us don't they?"

The security checks were pretty painless. You had to leave all drink bottles (or 100ml of liquid was allowed in) and belts off (another reminder of why we don't do flying) but that was it and away we went. We even managed to take in the kids snacks. Within the Excel there are plenty of food outlets and oh my goodness Coca Cola vending machines a plenty - no seats though in those sections. 

So we came to see the weightlifting  - these girls were tiny in height I think below 5ft and were lifting well over their own body weight.  The girl from  Kazakhstan won and beat the world record. The music was loud and funky which my daughter didn't enjoy too much and the medal ceremony was straight after. The whole crowd were cheering for her - it was a wonderful atmosphere not partisan at all. Well given that there were no competitors from GB it wasn't hard but I think the crowds have been very sporting in every event.

My husband managed through the pain of what we think is a torn thigh muscle - it went pop on Monday and he had to close a job up and spend most of the day in bed. At 3 am he was awake with the pain and it was looking like I would have to take the kids on my own. He took lots of drugs and we left at 1pm (having dropped buddy off to a friend).  The pain is worse when sitting - he is currently in bed and has been all day long. He has now got a date for his MRI (14 August) but he will more than likely be off work all this month. Not great when you're self-employed and its still touch and go whether or not we'll be able to go on holiday to France. I know he'd like me to take the kids but taking 3 children on holiday on your own with a 400 mile drive ain't no holiday!

I can't think who would want to join me on holiday with my children? My children aren't a handful but it still isn't a typical holiday for someone.  Most with children would want to go on holiday a) with their children b) without their children and c) not with someone elses! The people sans children would probably view a holiday with 3 children as hellish. So if anyone has any ideas let me know.

As ever I digress.  After the ceremony we exited via a nice beachy set up - across a make shift bridge with a view of the new cable cars, canary wharf and general London loveliness. It had a wonderful holiday atmosphere with beach shingle and big Olympic screens with stall holders and a funky ice-cream van which did not escape the kids notice (2 x chocolate cones with flake if you please). We strolled back to the DLR and set off for the Olympic park. We could visit between 4pm-9pm and got there about 6.15pm. Its HUGE. We went left towards the aquatic centre but probably should have gone right as that's where all the stadiums are. To give you an idea it tells you you have a 20/30 minute walk to the velodrome.  The planting out was very nice and you could walk along the river - the promenades are so huge you never feel hemmed in. Again it was a holiday atmosphere and we entered the official London 2012 shop - we raised our hands in the air and said take all our money.  We purchased 2 of those funny looking mascots (10 inches high) one in gold with Olympic bangles, one in the union colours, the lion, a T-shirt with the cycling logo and a mug = £87.00.  Prior to that the kids didn't want fish n chips but McDonald's - their meal cost £4 odd and ours £22 - but what the heck you can't put a price on a day out like we had.

Nice planting out - you can walk along the riverbank here

Tired and weary legged we headed home to another smooth journey and back by 10pm with buddy collected.
Team GB apartments
The Velodrome
To top it all, Bradley Wiggins my sporting hero, won the gold medal today. A fantastic achievement following his Tour De France success. He seems very humbled by the whole experience and my son is itching to get back on his bike. I really need to do this tomorrow with him as all this Olympic watching is no good for any weight loss.

My son's t-shirt which arrived today


  1. Sounds just fantastic, Natasha. Hope your hubby improves soon .... I mean his health! Cheers

  2. It was - me too as I may have to be back on the old gravy train after an 8 year absence and no one wants that! x

  3. Sounds an amazing day out - I am so jealous! We are going to Olympic football, which I'm sure will still be brilliant, but I am so desperate to go to the Olympic park!

    1. That sounds fab too - its just great to be a part of it. I think they are issuing tickets everyday now. x

  4. That sounds brilliant! Hubby took the boys to the Millenium stadium to watch the football and they loved that so I can imagine tha your day was fantastic for the kids x

    1. yes they seemed to love the journey more - and the football sounds great! Its all good x