Meeting the Chef – Glasgow 2014

2014-07-18 19.35.59-3I learnt something new yesterday.  Because, unlike the Olympics, there is no qualification required for athletes to compete in the Commonwealth Games, some countries arrive with more athletes than they said they would.  This, not surprisingly, creates pressure on the provision of accommodation at the Athletes Village.  Some of this has been built into the contingency planning, but until they know where the extra people will come from it’s hard to plan for their allocation.

So while I’d spent time on Thursday fixing the location of the rooms and the office space allocated to Mozambique in my memory so it would be easy to find when the Team Head arrived, by the time we met her, it had all changed.  Yesterday was not a good day to be walking round the Village with a paper map working out where the new allocations were.  We all ended up like drowned rats, to the extent, at least in my case, that drowned rats have heads of wild frizzy hair and wet feet.  There was one particular moment, when we were sitting in a near empty portacabin in a rutted car park, with the rain dripping out of our shoes, dealing with the paperwork for the cars to be used by the team, and O, the Team Manager, still had the hood up on the waterproof jacket I had lent her, that it seemed that all this Glasgow 2014 stuff wasn’t that glamorous after all.

We had met O, whom I’ve already grown accustomed to introducing as ‘Our Chef’ (as in Chef de Mission, the jargon for overall team manager) in the morning, and learnt something of the team who will be arriving later on Sunday.  The team is 29 in total including 16 athletes competing in four sports: athletics, swimming, judo and boxing.  Many of them are young, and coming for the international experience to prepare them for more competition in the future.

Yesterday there were two other volunteers like me with the team, and it was very satisfying to find out how easily we worked out sharing the tasks between us.  We expect two more to join, one on Monday and another on Wednesday to complete our complement of 5 volunteer assistants.

Today I expect to be driving O out and about around the city as she checks up on a few things prior to the rest of the team arriving.  I feel surprisingly apprehensive about it – mainly working out how to get out of the security cordon and onto the roads outside the Village bubble.  But I won’t know until I try!

Despite the rain yesterday, there were so many more people in the Village than there had been on Thursday.  Everything has the feel of ratcheting up towards the start on Wednesday.  The smiles might have been a little more strained in the face of the driving rain but they were still there most of the time.

One of the ‘core values’ of the Games is that they be sustainable.  One aspect of this is recycling all the waste.  There are 4 different coloured bins in the cafeteria.  On Thursday there were signs above them identifying what should go in each.  I’d like to think I’m not slow on the uptake, but I stood for way more time than should be devoted to deciding which bin rubbish should be put in, trying to work out how to sort the debris on my lunch tray.  There was a volunteer standing guard to help, but as there is no ‘paper’ bin, determining where to put the bunch of paper towel I had used to wipe up when I spilt half my cup of tea, foxed us both.  On Saturday as well as the descriptions, there are now photographs over the bins showing what can go in each; I could throw away without the preliminary dither.  And no volunteer on guard – I hope they’ve been redeployed to a more fun job!

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2 Comments

  1. Catherine

     /  July 20, 2014

    I was coveting that rather smart red towel you posted and wondering if it was handed out to volunteers on a Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy basis (apologies if you have never read it but it says a towel is an essential piece of kit if you are going to Galaxy-hop). Now I see it is to deal sustainably with the rain – and that is making me think there may be more to the Hitchhikers Guide plan than I thought.
    Best wishes to the Mozambique team.

    Reply
    • Thank you – I think the towel may indeed be essential for both Glasgow rain and Galaxy hopping – it even comes in a handy stuff bag which can be hooked to the outside of a rucksack!

      Reply

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