August 8th: Olympic (calamari) Rings

Olympic canapés, Olympic mini-pizzas and Olympic fish & chips (well, calamari to keep up the circular/ring theme) – the culinary genius of Mr Seed provided the undoubted gastronomic highlight of our short trip back to the UK.  Complete with Olympic Spatchcock Chicken to represent the four nations making up the UK, joined as they are by one solid tasty chicken body.

Scepticism comes to me as naturally as bewilderment comes to Boris; I can freely admit to being convinced we (speaking on behalf of the nation) would cock-up the Olympics.  From sponsorship deference to missing security guards, I was fully expecting a disaster.  But, apart from the organising committee seemingly forgetting Brits like to drink (and hence huge queues being a constant theme at the Olympic Park bars) everything ran smoothly, from the friendliness of the volunteers and ever-present army (no doubt preferring to be in London than elsewhere) to the newly built rail line, taking us from Kings Cross to Stratford in about 6 minutes (not quite Maglev speed, but not bad).

Bron and I had perfect seats in the Olympic Stadium to see Jess Ennis compete in 6 out of 7 events of her Gold medal winning heptathlon performance.  And I just about caught Usain Bolt run his first heat of the 100m after my panicked Olympic sprint from the bar to back to the stadium.

The ensuing mini-tour of the UK was tiring but excellent; great to see so many friends and family in such a short space of time.  And a special thanks to Diane for putting us up in Peterborough for 3 days; the Wills household becoming our temporary Olympic lodgings.

8 days back in the UK just hasn’t been long enough.  Even though I’ve probably managed to get through 4 month’s worth of ale in the space of just over a week (making up for the lack of a decent British pint in Shanghai), it’s felt incredibly rushed. We’ve been looked after by friends and family alike, and (whisky kicking in now) we’ll miss them all.  Heading back to Shanghai with mixed feelings – will be great to be back, but the UK in the height of summer just about beats anywhere on the planet (that I’ve been to anyway).  And from the riots of 12 months ago to this year’s Olympic medal haul, this little island appears to have risen from the despondency and gloom caused by its current beleaguered, misguided government to compete and entertain on a world stage.

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