Yesterday evening a few of us went to watch the torch make its way through Crouch End and up to Ally Pally. Little did we know that the Royals were just down the road showing some support in Tottenham so it was a heck of a wait for a 30 second glance at the flame.
Here is the boy looking less that impressed at the wait in the crowded streets of Crouch End. Although he did perk up for the party buses as they passed.
I am not really in to the Olympic spirit. It’s bothering me less than if I had to actually leave the area to do something like commute to work but I am ambivalent at best towards the whole thing.
Although there is one little, small, tiny gripe I have about it: Ken Livingstone, when he was Major of London, announced that survivors of the July 7 attacks would receive tickets to the opening ceremony. I called the DCMS in 2006 to confirm this was the case and the offer has not been upheld in its original intent in the interim. A silly gripe, I know, but after using the Metro newspaper on July 7, 2005 to shield my head from a terrorist blast – a newspaper which was announcing London’s winning Olympic bid – I kind of feel that the whole thing is somehow connected to my life still and it really would have been nice to attend.
I am proud that there are people from those attacks now performing in the Paralympics, it has impacted their lives so much more than anything I can imagine. There are also people from the trains and bus attending the opening ceremony and I am glad they can do so.
I have gone through a lot of recovery after walking off that train and my life has changed immeasurably. There is such a strong connection between the Olympics and what happened that day that it seems much more real now than it has in more recent years. Yet, it seems surreal that my son will learn about this in school in the years to come.
Following the explosion, I found it incredibly difficult to travel on the tube, more so around the anniversary. I would rather avoid it than risk a panic attack underground. Yet, this year, the Olympic year, I purposefully went on the tube on July 7 with my family because I knew that it would not bother me one tiny, little bit if I had them there. And it didn’t. And that felt good.
So while I feel a little bit let down by a forgotten promise made in the political panic of 7 years ago, I feel immensely grateful to be here in London still, healed and spending Friday night in a Finsbury Park pub with the guys I lived with back in 2005, watching another of those ex-house mates perform in the opening ceremony. Funnily enough, right next to where I boarded that Piccadilly line train which started all this.