The summer of 2012

Well as 2012 draws to a close, I thought I’d share with you my memorable summer…

But let me take you back seven and a half years when we found out that London was chosen to be the host city of the Olympic games in 2012 and what a day that was, then the following day our jubilation of this fantastic announcement was brought down to earth with the bombings on the London transport network.

I bet you can remember where you were when you heard either of these pieces of news which impacted on our country and the days that followed.

I can remember where I was exactly as if it was yesterday (working very long hours as a senior manager in a health club in Croydon) but little did I know how much my life would change in those intervening years between the announcement of London 2012 and it actually taking place this summer (running my own business in the beautiful & amazing county of Lincolnshire, which is now my home).

All I knew was that by hook or by crook I was going to go to the Olympics, I knew that it was a once in a life time event and I had to experience it for myself first hand. So as soon as tickets were available I was on the website, completing my details and deciding what I wanted to go and see and I was one of the lucky ones and managed to get two tickets for ladies hockey on my first attempt!!

Well you can imagine my glee when I found that there was going to be a torch relay around the country and it was heading our way. At this point I was like a little child bouncing around with excitement, again I made it my mission to make sure my diary was clear so I could be there and see the torch.

Then it was announced that during the torch relay it was actually staying overnight in Lincoln and there was going to be a free ticketed event to celebrate this occasion!! Yes you’ve guessed it I got tickets.

As the torch weaved its way around this great country of ours I was a daily viewer of torch cam, brimming with excitement as the days counted down to when it would arrive in the city of Lincoln.

       

Before I knew it, it was 27th June 2012, on a lovely summer’s afternoon, tickets in hand; friends and I made our way to Lincoln Castle Academy to wait for the torch to arrive. We were entertained while we waited to get our 1st glimpse of the torch itself. And there is was and then to top it all, the Red Arrows did a fly over the stage, what a fantastic end to a memorable day. And then I arrived home to find that my hockey tickets were on the door mat (Cue: Jumping up and down with excitement again!!)

The next morning, I was up at the crack of dawn determined to see the torch again as it left the city. So I made my way to the castle square and waited in the drizzle (what a difference a day makes!!) to see the torch leave the cathedral and head into the castle and then out of the city.

      

So now I had over a month to wait until the day arrived where I would walk under these banners.

I had tickets for 10th August 2012, again an early start to get to the park bright and early before the crowds and the excitement in the air as you stepped off your train at Stafford was palpable. The sun was already high in the sky so we knew we were in for a lovely sunny day at the park.

We headed straight for the Riverbank Arena where the hockey was being played and found our seats. Watching hockey is quite intense due to it being very fast paced, as the teams run up and down the pitch and before we knew it the 1st game had finished, a short break ensued and then we were back in our seats to watch the 2nd match of the session.

Once the hockey finished we headed to BA’s Park Life to take in the atmosphere of the games.

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Then it was time to head home.

The following day I was lucky enough be asked by a friend if I wanted to join her to watch the Men’s Modern Pentathlon (MP) (I’d actually applied for these tickets but had been unsuccessful).

None of us had seen MP before so we didn’t know what to expect. Before we went to the 1st venue we headed to the booking office for The Orbit, the day before we had tried to get tickets but they were all sold out!! As it was early we got some (yay). Then we head to the Copper box where the first discipline took place.

Fencing – the way this event worked was that all the competitors fought each other in a round robin system so at any one time there were 20 matches happening.

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Once the fencing was over we raced over to the Orbit to experience the park from the top of this magnificent structure.

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Swimming – once back to ground level we headed to aquatic centre to see the 200m race. We weren’t in our seats long the heats only took around 15 minutes. And on mass everyone left the park and headed to Greenwich Park to see the final 3 events.

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Once in our seat I was taken aback by the backdrop of venue, we had the perfect view of the city of London and it looked amazing.

Equestrian – This event is a real test of the athletes horsemanship, they are introduced to the horse for just 30 minutes before they have to do show jumping course, this was edge of your stuff, no one knew how the horses were going to react and we did have some hairy moments when the horses either bucked or refused a jump.

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After a short break and a re-arrangement of the arena it was time for the shooting and running combined event. The athletes had to run a short distance, shoot 5 laser targets before doing a 1km circuit of the park, this happened twice more (shoot, run, shoot, run) and the athlete who crossed the finished line first was the gold medallist and Olympic champion.

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And then it was over for me but what an amazing experience it was and something I will never forget.

Thank You and well done Britain, we truly are GREAT!!

One of Lincolnshire’s Hidden Gems

The other Sunday I was at a loose end so decided to head out to the coast to one of my favourite places in Lincolnshire, Anderby Creek.

I know we don’t have lots of crowds in Lincolnshire but if you want somewhere to go that is a complete escape from it all, Anderby Creek is the place for you.

I first found out about this place a couple of years ago when I got an email from Cloud Appreciation Society (this is not a joke & I am quite fascinated by clouds & their formations, I can see another blog post idea forming!) saying that the Worlds 1st Cloud Bar was being opened in the UK and in none other than Anderby Creek.

http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/the-worlds-first-cloud-bar-opens-in-the-uk/

         

Being fascinated by clouds I knew this was somewhere I had to visit. And I have to say I wasn’t disappointed when I got there, well a little as I picked a day where clouds were few and far between but the fact that I’d found somewhere which was a place to escape to if life just got a little too much!!

The day I went recently wasn’t the best day to choose, it was lovely and balmy in Lincoln but unfortunately on the coast the cloud hadn’t lifted so was on the chilly side but this didn’t make much difference to me, I always have my coat in the car so wrapped up warm and headed for the beach.

There were some displays about the local area and some people showing how sea salt is harvested.

Once on the beach there are miles and miles of golden sand before you to walk your thoughts, stresses and worries away.  On many occasions I’ve walked along the beach to Chapel Point which is about a mile from Anderby Creek & if I had wanted to I could have carried on walking further along the coast towards Ingoldmells or heading north towards Sutton On Sea.

     

There were plenty of people walking dogs, even people out exercising their horses but as the expanse of sand is so great it doesn’t ever feel crowded.

I can imagine if you go at the height of summer it might be a little more crowded as there are a number of caravan parks either side of the road as you drive to the car park but don’t let this put you off as there is plenty of sandy beach to go round for everyone!!

There isn’t much here in way of facilities, a couple of cafes and free public toilets so when I go I pack up a picnic to eat on the beach.

So if you’ve not been here and want to go somewhere different on a day out then this might be somewhere to add to the list of must see places to visit. I know that it won’t be long before I get in my car and take the drive out to here as I just can’t resist the fuzzy feeling I get when feel the sand between my toes and the fresh air in my lungs.

Here is a link for more information on Anderby Creek: http://www.anderbycreek.co.uk/

Ladies that lunch

When asked after the weekend what I got up too I mentioned that I’d been to London on Saturday for lunch with friends this always seems to raise a few eyebrows!! So I thought I’d share with you how easy it actually is to do.

As a relatively new “Yellow Belly” many of my good friends live in the south of the country so once a quarter we try to meet up in London for lunch and it works really well and you could do this too as an easy day out in the Big Smoke.

So how do I do it?

Well we get a date in the diary as soon as we can after each meet up, finding a date which all of us (5 friends) can do is quite hard but we usually manage it.

Once I know the date and roughly what time we’re going to meet I then get to: http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/ and see how much tickets are, you can book tickets up to 3 months in advance and can get some really great deals. I’ve managed to get return tickets from Newark Northgate to London for under £20 on a Saturday, which I think is such a steal, admittedly you have to park at Newark but for a day’s parking it’s only £5 and they also do some great weekend rates for parking too (But you have to pay for the parking before you travel, but I always do this anyway as it saves time queue at the pay machines when you get home!!)

It’s also worth adding that you can also buy your tube tickets at Newark too, so this also saves a bit of time when you get down to London.

But I bet you’re still thinking it’s a long way to go for lunch and it must take ages to get there?!

It’s surprisingly easy and quick to do. From my house to Newark is usually about  a 25 minute drive, usually leave longer as you never know what the traffic around Lincoln will be. The train takes around 1 hour 20 minutes to get into London Kings Cross. Going to London may seem extreme but it’s easier than trying to get to other cities in the East Midlands and so much more relaxing.

Once on the train, you can relax for the journey, yes the trains are usually full and I would advise you to reserve your seat but the atmosphere on the train is really nice, there is always an air of excitement about people heading into London especially on a Saturday.

As all my friends come from different directions so we tend to meet at London Bridge Station as it’s easy to get to on the tube network and has lots of places to eat and drink. This time we ended up at Borough Market: http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/ and if you are a foodie like me, you will be in heaven here!!

We spend a good few hours catching up over a nice lunch and then I head back to the station to catch my train home, I’m usually back home by about 8pm. I’m tired but smiling having caught up with everyone’s news. I’m connected to all of them on Facebook, email and text messages but it’s just not the same as being in the same room as them.

I regularly do this trip to London as it’s so easy but I’ve also visited York and Edinburgh too, as Newark Northgate is on the mainline to London there are loads of places you can visit along the line.               

So if you fancy doing something a bit different one Saturday, head down to London & experience life in our great capital city, you won’t be disappointed!!