Meeting People – Glasgow 2014

HMQ at the Athletes' Village

HMQ at the Athletes’ Village

The self consciousness I felt on the first day I wore my Clydesider uniform has long since gone; there are so many other people wandering around the city in exactly the same get up, it’s barely worth noticing any more.  In fact it’s the people without a lanyard and accreditation around their necks who look strange to my eye at the moment.

Having said that, in the uniform I’ve had more conversations with strangers, mainly on the train, than I’ve ever had before.  People do seem genuinely interested in what is happening, and in seeing so many visitors from around the world all over the city.  And I’ve quite a good story to tell – some people might have received more information than they had bargained for when they ask me what I’ve been doing all day, or where I’m going.

I met one lady on the train on Wednesday afternoon who was so buzzing with excitement that she’d just had a chat with member of the Sierra Leone team on the platform at Central Station that she was telling everyone in the carriage, even getting the lady who had been sitting opposite me, her faced closed in that ‘don’t talk to me, I’m on public transport’ way, to engage in conversation and share in her enthusiasm.’

On Thursday the man in front of me in the queue to buy a ticket at Helensburgh station asked me a question about the revised Games timetable, and that turned into a long conversation about our respective roles (he was off to be in the radio control centre at the Velodrome), and thence to a realisation that he had known my father when they were both involved with Dumbarton District Council over 12 years ago.

It’s already become one of the clichés of the Games that Glasgow is the friendly city; but the Chef de Mission of my team has echoed the comment.  ‘Much friendlier than London’ she said, after the driver of the car stopped beside us as traffic lights tooted.  I opened my window, and he and his children shouted out ‘Good Luck’ to her.

I was on my way into the Village on Thursday to sign in for my shift, when my way was barred by a crowd, susserating with the prospect of The Queen emerging from the Athletes’ dining hall.  I waited a few minutes, and there she was, looking bright and cool and smiley, even though the day was roasting.  She had apparently been there for some time, meeting lots of people, and shaking hundreds of hands.

Today will bring more surprises and lots of the unexpected, I’m sure.

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