So, it's almost upon us! The Greatest Sporting Circus is about to hit town....or to be more specific....London!
With just a day or two to go now before the Olympic opening ceremony at the magnificent Olympic Stadium in Stratford in East London the country is gearing up for the excitement and, after months of poor summer weather, the sun has come out at last!
There's so much to say on this if you're a journalist. Disasters with the private security contract - the Army has been mustered. Transport issues - will the London Underground cope with all the extra bodies? Is it fair that there are priority lanes on the road which will ensure that most normal drivers will spend hours in traffic jams? The 'Branding Issue' - the brand police purportedly ensuring that only official Olympic brands are seen... anywhere.... during the next two weeks! But all those questions have been and are being and will be discussed, picked over and mauled to death and most of us are tired of it all right now.
For some the excitement is just too much. The Torch Relay, which is coming to an end and is now making its final progress through the London boroughs on its approach to the East End and the Olympic Park, is creating a bit of a minor frenzy. Our TV carries feature after feature of smiling people enjoying the sight of the torch....the nearest most of them will get to an Olympics event because most Londoners, and indeed Brits, haven't actually been able to get their hands on tickets.
For others, of course, this is just the tedious end to a tedious seven years of constant Olympics since London won the bid for the event in 2005. Some people will leave the country, others will have a TV fast for the fortnight from Friday and I'm guessing many more will pretend to be interested as their family, friends and colleagues gush unendingly while they silently wonder, with a sinking heart, 'WHEN will it end?' Two weeks (or just over that) is an awfully long time if you're a dissenter.
I'm no sports person but I'm excited. I freely admit it. Not that I have tickets for an event, or have pushed through a crowd to catch a glimpse of the Torch - it was 15 minutes away from my village today but .... I was busy and it was hot and ...quite frankly I just couldn't be bothered.
I accept that the transport will be a nightmare but .... what's new? London's transport system is often a nightmare and if you want to go anywhere in a hurry then you probably need to note that London is not the place for you, at any time of the year.
As for the Olympic Priority Lanes, I had to drive into Central London last weekend and got to go down one of the special bits of road (the restrictions don't take effect until tomorrow morning) Did I feel a bit special? I can't quite decide. I don't drive into London that often and I do feel sorry for those who will be inconvenienced and may even lose business by all the Olympic restrictions. Their plight may be eased a little if those of us who really don't have to drive into the city just leave the car at home for the next little while.
But I'm still exited because I AM involved in the Olympics, albeit on the fringe!
I've lived with it for years. When working at The Salvation Army UK as Head of Media I was involved as part of a team negotiating and preparing for the hosting of an Olympic venue. The Salvation Army is, as far as I know, the first church in the world to host an Olympic event. At the Army's Hadleigh Farm in Essex the Mountain Bike Event will be held on a specially created course. The legacy will live on there with a community course run by the Army's partner Essex County Council. That's an amazingly exciting prospect.
Thousands of churches across the British Isles have embraced the spirit of the Olympics and I've been involved, just a little, helping to tell their story. More Than Gold, the agency established by all the main denominations to help churches make the most of the Games, is supporting the London organisers as well as the churches and other groups and I've been working one day a week for them since January.
Now I'm about to pick up my little bag and head into London where I'll be part of a great team in the first ever church Media Centre for the Olympic Games. From Friday we ( a team of media guys drawn from a range of organisations) will be manning phones, pointing people to stories and spokespeople, answering questions, sending out daily bulletins with the aim of ensuring that media in particular are aware of what the churches are doing. It's a real honour to be involved.
So - although I'm sure I'll have a few moments over the next fortnight or so when I may join the ranks of the Moaning Minnies, especially when buses don't arrive or are overstuffed (I'm going to try to avoid the London Underground at all costs) or I can't stand another news bulletin with nothing but Olympics stories - I'm determined to be pragmatic about it all.
I've decided I'm just going to go with the Olympic Flow, to get my work done and try to be helpful to and smile for all the lost tourists I'm bound to meet. And also I'm going to remind myself that this is history in the making around me. I'm unlikely to see anything of the kind again in my lifetime and even though I'm on the fringes, I'm involved.
And .... after all .... it's only two weeks! That is, until the Paralympics....but that's another story.
And if I have the energy to post updates, I'm going to do so ..... watch this space!