73 posts tagged london
Forgotten Photos of London’s Olympic Park
I just happened upon an SD card whilst looking through a drawer for something else. Not knowing what was on it, I stuck it into the back of my Mac mini and low & behold, I found five photos I took of London’s Olympic Park. The photos were taken the day before the start of the Paralympic Games, which would explain why there’s hardly anyone in the park and why there aren’t any Olympic Rings to be seen. Instead, the dynamic Paralympic Agitos is stamped on everything.
Happy memories of a summer I’ll never forget.
The Olympic Park (now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) is currently closed whilst it undergoes a dramatic transformation. You can find out what’s in store by visiting http://noordinarypark.co.uk/.
Come Fly With Me… Hopefully
Something always happens just before I’m about to fly. Days after I booked a trip to Iceland, that pesky volcano decided to blow, clearing European airspace for the best part of a week. Luckily, my plane was one of the first aircraft to take-off after the restrictions were lifted and it was decided planes could maybe, possibly, probably tolerate a greater level of volcanic ash blowing through their engines.
On this trip, the problem was a white powder of a different kind. Winter had arrived in London just in time to cause major disruption to travel days before I was set to depart. Here’s a photo from Gate 1 at Heathrow Terminal 3 of my plane, the mighty A380. As I took this, snow was falling and I was still wondering whether I would actually be leaving. As you can see, planes were taking off, but the snowfall was such that two gentlemen in high-visibility jackets kept having to climb a ladder to sweep snow out of the engines with a domestic broom. Not always a good sign in aviation terms.
Luckily, after a 45 minute delay for deicing (they’d done it once before we boarded but it was so cold, it had to be done again), our super-jumbo eventually trundled down the runway and towards sunnier skies.
Last Monday, Mum and I ventured into the capital to check out the Christmas lights and markets. The city looked amazing and the German markets were as elaborate and varied as ever. I had my usual; Currywurst washed down with Glühwein followed by a round of Poffertjes drenched in melted butter and coated in icing sugar. Delicious!
We walked for around five hours, ending up at Trafalgar Square, just in time for some carol singing.
Good Morning London
This morning, I took a stroll around central London. I live pretty close to London so I’m frequently popping in for one reason or another. This time, I’d been to a concert the night before, so I had some time to kill before catching my train home. It was sunny, but very chilly. It had snowed that morning, though the snow hadn’t settled. The streets were reasonably quiet. Well, quiet for London.
After an hour or two of random wandering, I ended up at Buckingham Palace, just in time to see the changing of the guard. I’d never actually seen it before, so it was an unexpected treat. Before the new guard had arrived, a military band entertained the crowd with a medley of tunes from Spielberg films. I kid you not.
To get to the palace, I had to run the gauntlet in St James’ Park. It’s a lovely green space in the bustling city, but it’s always packed with tourists and increasingly, with fat, fearless squirrels and their stupid & grotty pigeon mates. I always try walking briskly for fear of being either poo’d on or mugged for nibbles but Spanish school groups and Chinese photographers always hinder my plans.
All photos taken and published using Instagram.
Festival of Light
I thought I’d go for a touch of irony and drain the colour from my photos of Trafalgar Square’s Diwali celebrations, what with the event being known as the “Festival of Light”. In reality, the big stage where live music was being played was well-rigged with colourful lights.
Diwali in Trafalgar Square
The spire of St Martin-in-the-Fields looms over thousands celebrating Diwali in Trafalgar Square, London.
Yesterday, London celebrated Diwali and I was there for a short period to enjoy the spectacle.
Trafalgar Square was once again the location for the festivities. This is the forth cultural event I’ve attended in Trafalgar Square (the others being Chinese New Year, Malaysia Night and the Maslenitsa). As usual, music and dance took centre stage (quite literally) accompanied by food and trade stalls.
My day was rather rushed so I couldn’t stay very long. I had already eaten as well, so I could only look on forlornly as hungry revellers queued patiently for “100% Vegetarian” food to be shovelled into their lunch boxes. In the centre of the square, hundreds of people danced and swirled in a traditional “Garba” fashion as Bali and Angrez played live music on stage. It didn’t matter if you were young or old, Hindu or not, everyone (including Police officers) was joining in. The atmosphere was very infectious and was by far the most cheerful Trafalgar Square-based celebration I’ve encountered.
London 2012 Instagram’d
The London 2012 Paralympic Games came to a close a week ago, ending a magnificent & memorable summer of sport and events in London and across the UK. In the gap between the Olympics and Paralympics, I posted that I was a volunteer medal and flower bearer for both games (though I since removed that post for security reasons) which meant I had loads of access to the Olympic Park and could take some great crowd-free photos. Here are a selection of photos I ‘instagram’d’, some in my capacity as ‘Games Maker’ and some as a spectator.
I’ll post some more about my experience as a member of the Victory Ceremonies team here soon.
Exploring London’s Olympic Park + Looking Towards The Paralympics
I was among the lucky few allowed into London’s Olympic Park before the general public were allowed in, which meant I was gifted an amazing opportunity to take some crowd-free photos. Here are some of them. There will be more soon.
The park itself is vast, around 2km in length. This is why spectators were encouraged to arrive well before their published session start times. Getting from one end to the other takes long enough without thousands of people thronging the thoroughfares and surrounding gardens. On one of my many visits, I had to be at the other end of the park within ten minutes. I’m normally punctual and well organised, but on this occasion, I was so taken by the beauty of the park, I lost track of time. Luckily, I thumbed a lift from one of the many mobility buggies. It was a hot day and they were driving round delivering bottled water to the security staff.
Now that the Olympics are over and everyone has hailed them (quite rightly) as a resounding success, attention now turns to the Paralympics. In just over a week’s time, attention will once again fall upon Stratford as disabled athletes take their turn to ‘inspire a nation’. And indeed, for the first time in Paralympic history, it seems they might well be able to do so. For the first time ever, the major sponsors of the Olympics are sticking around for the Paralympics. For the first time ever, every single ticket is looking like it’ll be sold (currently 2.2 million of 2.5 million tickets have been snapped up). For the first time ever, the UK will have live blanket coverage of the games across multiple channels. For the first time ever, a nation of sport fans are waiting impatiently for the games to begin. It’s going to great!
If your national broadcaster isn’t broadcasting the Paralympics this time round, perhaps consider dropping them an email asking why. Because while this little nation of ours will be buzzing with passion & excitement and watching incredible athletes from around the world achieve their potential all over again, you’ll be missing out.
The last four days have been hectic. On Thursday and Friday, I was working in the Olympic Park. It was a real privilege being in the park before the gates opened to the general public. I took full advantage of the situation and went armed with my camera. Here’s the first of many photos I’m planning on sharing with you.
At the weekend, I switched from being a volunteer to a spectator. On Saturday, I was on the world-famous red tarmac of The Mall to see the Men’s Cycling Road Race. On Sunday, I was at Lord’s Cricket Ground to see the Women’s Archery Team finals. I’ll be able to share more on my spectator experience soon.