I remember, seven years ago, when it was announced that London would host the Olympics in 2012 and I thought to myself, ‘I have to be there’. It was a simple thought of fact. DaddyPerry could not simply sit back and watch an event of this magnitude pass by without getting involved somehow.
So it was that in January 2012 when unsold and returned tickets went on resale that I was there, at my computer, going through the lists to find an event that I could take my boys to. Initial attempts failed. My original criteria was any event on the Olympic Park itself that was selling child priced tickets – you pay the age the child will be on the day of the event so for mine it would be £8 & £5 respectively. The only events I could find were hockey or handball. I tried repeatedly to book the Hockey second round tix that it said were available only to fail when it got to the point of booking.
Fortunately, I have used the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mantra for many more years than it has been sold as some kind of self help parody and I am also as stubborn as an ox. So skirting around the Handball as I couldn’t see us attending an event that I wouldn’t be able to explain to the kids (!) I moved on to searching for any event in London with kids tickets available and came up with the next best thing. An event in London that was guaranteed to include TeamGB! Shortly after my booking was confirmed the whole ticketing system crashed under the weight of enquiries and was closed down but no matter, I had my Olympics tickets!
I’ve been promising to take the boys to London for some time. Each time I head off there for a gig or to see the Arsenal, I promise that one day I will take them with me and now was the time to come good on the promise. One day I may get around to complaining about the price fixing and collusion that clearly went on amongst the various hotel chains that all wanted to charge £169 for a family room during the Olympics, but I probably won’t. By the time our trip came around they had dropped their disgusting prices and we got a family room at the Premier Inn, Kenton for £79. The £16.50 extra I paid for breakfast proved well worth it and set us up nicely for our second day in the greatest city in the world.
With the jubilee celebrations and the help of the torch relay it was two very excited little boys that set off for London early on Tuesday 31st July. A smooth journey down the M1 dropped us into Harrow on the Hill around 11am. It was here that I saw Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom at the pictures all those many years ago. I went on my own as a treat after helping my mum with the shopping that morning and it involved a journey on the 140 bus from Northolt. Just telling this to my own kids widened their eyes even more!
Car parked up in the secure hotel car park but way too early to check in, and with our free Olympics travelcards in hand, we headed straight down to Kenton tube station to await the Bakerloo line train that would whisk us into our great capital. BigBear’s interest in the journey times shown on the station wall only served to heighten his excitement. The tube ride took us past the venue we would attend that evening, Wembley Stadium, as well as the Northwick Park hospital that stitched my knee up as a boy and gave the big scar I wear to this day!
As a sidenote, the hotel in Kenton sits atop the tube station and is also 5 minutes walk from Northwick Park tube. If ever you are heading to Wembley for a gig or footy match I cannot recomend the location more highly for the sake of simplicity.
BigBear’s questions about when we would go ‘underground’ were answered shortly after Queens Park and, with a brief change at Baker Street we emerged onto the corner of Green Park. I love that corner! It kind of went over the kids heads but to be able to stand there and say, ‘look, there’s the world famous Ritz Hotel, just along there is Hyde Park and this road, Piccadilly, which is also world famous, is the A4 that links Central London with Bristol and is also the Strand, Fleet Street, Haymarket, Pall Mall and Knightsbridge!!
Having arrived in Central London in almost 850 words, this is probably a good point at which to edit and end part one of our Olympic adventure. Part two to follow shortly!