The countdown begins. Fourteen days to the opening
ceremony of the greatest sporting spectacle on earth, and in London’s
very own backyard, formerly known as the East End. Yes, the Olympics will soon be upon us.
All over us, more like it.
We’ve been duly warned. For an interminable fortnight, various roads
to and around the Olympic site will be closed to traffic. Dozens of London’s streets will be off-limits, except for
those designated very important people entitled to be shuttled to and from the
games in limousines. London’s poor commuters should be so
lucky. Those huddled masses will be jammed
into buses, trains and tubes even more packed than usual. “Don’t travel unless
you have to” is the plaintive admonition from the organizing committee and the
Not on your nelly, as they say in these parts.
Martha and I have no intention of going within ten
miles of any location hosting an event.
There is an exception, one in which we won’t have a choice: our home town
of Esher is on
the cycling route. The races and
time-trials will run right past our street.
Close to a million visitors will be descending on Surrey, we’ve been
told, to witness the spectacle of massed columns of cyclists pedaling past our
newly repaired and sign-posted roads at speed of up to 60 miles per hour.
Please miss, I have a question: where are they all
going to pee? Oh, Johnny, trust you to
ask a silly question.
We simply can’t wait to find out.
Well, actually, we’ll have to, since all the approach
roads to the cycling circuit, including ours, will be closed down. For three days, we, along with a million
other residents, will be under virtual house arrest.
Life may be disrupted but at least we’ll all be safe
from air attack; ground-to-air missiles have been sited at strategic points
around the capital. Perhaps we’ve picked
up some tips from the Syrian army.
Excitement, we’re told daily in the media, is
mounting. Well, certainly the tension
Where would nutters with backpack bombs be most likely
to strike? Could London Bridge
actually fall down under the weight of traffic?
Unlikely, you say, but then the M4 road from Heathrow to London has been closed
for the past week for emergency repairs to a cracked flyover.
Speaking of Heathrow, how are those intrepid folk at
the Border Agency supposed to process millions of extra visitors? They can’t handle the normal daily flow
without inciting protests that are only quelled by the sight of coppers
bristling with automatic weapons, tasers and who knows what other ingenious
crowd-control appliances turned out by the ingenuity of modern arms technology.
Yes, we’re all looking forward to what promises to be
a joyfully momentous event.
And I’m sure it will all go off wonderfully well, with
world records galore, the usual pathos of the defeated, and Team GB carrying
off enough medals to open a branch of Harry Winston.
But all I keep thinking is this: roll on