Saturday 28 July 2012

Picture daily 70

The evening sun added atmosphere to this restaurant..just by the famous Columbia Road flower market

Friday 27 July 2012

Picture Daily 69

It may not be a great picture today...but what else could I choose ?

Looking out for number one

And so at long last the great day has arrived.  I remember well when I first spotted that they were looking for cast volunteers, and secretly applying.  I told no one, until I casually mentioned in conversation that I had an audition.  A day before I came down with a heavy cold, so coughed and spluttered my way through a four hour session...wheezing worse than a seventy year-old who's been smoking Woodbine since he was fourteen.  At the end I panicked, and fearing I would go no further, I put myself down for a rollerblading part...and then invested heavily in lessons over the next few weeks (I wasn't starting from scratch and in the past had done a marathon on blades)...fortunately they abandoned the idea, I got through to the second audition, meeting Danny Boyle for the first time.  A couple of days before I went down with another heavy cold, so rather assumed that after another four hour session of coughing and wheezing, that would be it.  There was a two month wait before I received the magical brought a tear to my eye.

Rehearsals began at the start of May and continued through June and July, consuming all my free hours.  I've given some 250 hours of my time over to it, and I wouldn't swap a single one of them for anything (apart from some extra time with The Cat's Mother).  First in the Three Mills film and TV studios before moving to the ever glamorous Ford Car Park in Dagenham and then the excitement of going to the Stadium itself.

Long days were spent, mostly standing, running, dancing and performing in the rain.  It seemed that every time it was our turn to put on our dancing shoes, the heavens would open up - it's no real surprise that after a burst of sun and warmth, there is a thunderstorm predicted for tonight.

I want to say a very special thanks to The Cat's Mother for being such a supportive 'Olympic Widow' and The Cat and The Boy for being Olympic orphans...they've made all the difference.

Now I can't say very much... #savethesurprise...but if you are watching and you do want to try spotting me (The Cat's Mother and UP couldn't when they came to the rehearsal on Wednesday and I'd told them exactly where I'd be) here are a few clues:

1.  At 20.12 the pre-show entertainment begins in the green and pleasant land and continues for roughly fifty minutes.  I'm not in that

2. At about nine o'clock, things start to change...listen out for a countdown, listen out for Kenneth Brannagh and shortly I and a thousand new cast will come on.  I am at the back of the crowd who go onto the area with the cricket pitch.

3. And the rest you will have to work out for yourself...but I don't think it's too sinful to show you a picture of myself here...although it may not help you in your challenge!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Daily Picture 68

Not surprisingly I've stuck to the Olympics theme this week...apart from the fox that has recently adopted us - although seeing him do an enormous poo in the middle of the lawn this morning may mean he is asked politely to adopt someone else. So today I chose
Not a sneek preview, but a photo I took of the Munich Olympic Stadium which The Boy and I visited in 2009....our last solus holiday before we teamed up with The Cat's Mother

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Picture Daily 67

All the people in my section...I've spent an amazing amount of amazing time with them since the beginning of May, and will miss it and them terribly!

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Picture daily 66


At the moment I'm living in an 'Olympic bubble' and barely connected to the real world, which is a challenge as I'm coming into the office everyday, and I assume clients expect me to make some kind of sense.

We had the first dress rehearsal last front of an audience variously estimated at between 40,000 and 60,000.  We all felt it went well...very well indeed in fact, but more importantly, the audience thought so too. Whilst everyone is supposed to to keep it secret, there have been various can see what's being said on Twitter by, ironically, searching the hashtag #savethesurprise  I'm truly delighted that the comments seem to be universally positive.

The Cat's Mother and Up are coming to the final dress-rehearsal tomorrow when the stadium will be full.  They are being tasked with taking lots of photos for posterity.  I hope they love it.

But apart from work and Olympics, we've been doing some other stuff too...which I think I've forgotten to mention.  We saw Simon Russell-Beale in Timon of Athens at the National last week .  And here's the thing, it's a play that none of us knew and all went along apprehensively.  As it turns out, it was utterly superb...brilliantly envisioned and set in a modern world with a harsh comment of the state of it.  Even if you don't like Shakespeare I'd recommend it for an extraordinarily entertaining evening out.

Did I mention we'd been to Lates at London Zoo?  A Friday night of cabaret, comedy, music and drink amongst the animals.  truth be told there aren't so many animals any more (which is a good thing), but it was an unusual and fabulous way to spend a balmy, and eventually wet, Friday evening.  The place was full of people who would probably not come within a mile of a zoo, let alone a wild animal normally, so I hope it works well in raising money for their animal conservation work.  The Penguins were a particular delight...but then they always are, aren't they Mr Attenborough?  I've got some lovely pictures which I'll try to add later when I've found them...oops!

Oh yes, we did get to see The Temper Trap at Somerset House which was a delightful combination of my favourite band at my favourite venue.  According to my much younger fellow-Olympic performers I shouldn't be going to see bands like the Temper Trap because I'm too old. Ha! Is all I can say.

We missed out on Matthew Bourne because The Cat's Mother was struck that was a shame, but she at least is on the road to recovery.

And don't forget to watch the Opening will be remarkable....

Monday 23 July 2012

Picture Daily 65

The Olympics are not so far away now....

Another 15 minutes....

...from ITN News...a bit of a Where's Wally challenge, but I'm here again...can you tell I'm over excited?

15 minutes?

Remarkably, we've been told that each and everyone of the volunteers for the Opening Ceremony will have their names included in the Programme for Ceremony (separate to the main Programme).  That may be one big Programme...I've ordered mine from Amazon, and it will be £15 well invested.

If you've not got any Olympic Souvenirs yet, there's plenty of time and it's true to say that the shops are flooded with them.  Of course they are, and so they should be...this is a great event and we should all have some personal memory of it.  I've been sent a couple of things to review.  The two characters are Mandeville and Wenlock, which may look odd to adults, but judging by the reactions of the Muffins, kids just love fact as far as I can work out kids are just going bonkers for the Olympics so will be making heavy demands on parents pockets for gifts.  I was sent one of those multi-colour pens...I had one as a child and spent hours drawing and writing with every colour. At £6ish it seems a steep price to pay though.  The other thing I was sent was a Wenlock soft toy.  It's lovely and cuddly and no doubt has passed all the relevant safety regulations...if you've got kids of soft-toy cuddling age it's worth getting.  I will add it to my own collection of soft toys.....

My first moment of fame may have come. This is an 'official' trailer for the Opening ceremony...and if you don't blink there is a fleeting image of me at 16s....

Sunday 22 July 2012

Picture Daily 64

The controversial Anish Kapoor sculpture/viewing platform at the Olympic Park.  Actually the closer you get, the better and more interesting it is