A Clydesider in Edinburgh – Glasgow 2014

Now that many of the competitions are over or nearing conclusion, the thoughts of the Team are turning towards making the very most of their experience in Scotland.  This has included shopping (for a surprisingly wide range of eclectic items), spending nights in the hot spots of the City, and of doing a tour to Edinburgh.

There was some apprehension amongst my fellow Volunteers about driving to Edinburgh on the Friday of the opening of the Festival Fringe, but my recent experiences of negotiating my way around the nether regions of Glasgow had filled me with enough confidence to give it a go.  I’m fairly familiar with one route into Edinburgh, to the house of some friends, hard won knowledge from several roundabout trips over the years, but that is hardly a tourist hot spot, so it was a combination of following my nose, and allowing the onboard sat nav to make occasional suggestions, that led to a spot on the Royal Mile where I could stop long enough to let out my passengers.

Their main objective was to visit a Scotch Whiskey museum while absorbing the general feel of the city, and thought that a couple of hours would be enough.  I had tried to explain what the Festival would be like, and what would be happening in the streets, but I could see that they I hadn’t convinced them that they might need more time.

In Glasgow, it is the people not wearing a Games lanyard around their necks who are the odd ones out.  In Edinburgh, I was most definitely a curiosity.  Even taking off my accreditation, I still stuck out like a sore thumb in my red and grey get up.  It is a measure of how unremarkable I have grown to find this uniform that I simply out stared the people who paused to look at me while I was waiting in the line at the bank machine in Hanover Street.  The Games marked car also attracted some attention when I parked it for a short while (the cost of parking there precludes anything but a brief respite), but I didn’t benefit from the indulgence and kindness of other drivers that I have experienced in Glasgow on the many occasions I’ve found myself in the wrong lane.  Despite the fact that the Diving competition is being held in the City, Glasgow 2014 didn’t seem to have made much impression in Edinburgh.

The street theatre my Team saw in the Royal Mile made a big impression on them.  There is everything going on in the street, they said.  We didn’t have enough time…… but there’s not much here about the Commonwealth Games, is there?

Another Medal for Mozambique is on the Way

2014-07-31 06.35.27The big news of the day is Mozambique is on track to win another medal – in Women’s Boxing.   Maria Machongua in the Women’s Light 57-60kg category is sure to get something; one more round will determine which colour.  There are only three girls in the team here in Glasgow, and two of them will have won medals.  I will forbear from making a politically feminist remark at this juncture.  …….  Go Girls!

There was a lot of excitement when the team got back in the car after the bout.  But it was all go last night; no time for hanging about at the SECC, but straight off to Hampden Park for some athletics.

It was my first trip there; I managed to get to the traffic jam around the stadium with no trouble, and if I had managed to work out where I was in relation to it (broadly is it to the East of me, or to the West) my passengers might have thought that I had navigated perfectly when we arrived at the right entrance entirely by chance and just at the moment I was about to start apologising for getting lost.  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to spot a sports venue of that size when you’re so close to it!

I can’t let the dinner I had at the Village last night pass unremarked; a perfect exemplar of Scottish canteen: chilli con carne, roast potatoes with mixed corn and green beans.  The alternative was a beefburger in a bread roll, with roast potatoes……

A Day of Small Victories – Glasgow 2014

2014-07-28 12.57.35Monday was a day of small victories. Firstly, I made my way from the Village to the Tollcross swimming pool, straight, no wrong turns, no doubling back, like a hot knife through butter, and then, from there, I made it straight to the SECC without any bumps in the road either. After the nightmares I endured last week in attempting to get to both of those places on the same day, it was a huge relief to know that I am still capable of learning from my mistakes!  It took such an effort not to express my relief to my passengers on arrival at both venues; but it was a private victory, so I just drove to the drop off point and let them out of the car, pretending that this was a perfectly every day sort of happening.

My second victory was to secure lunch at the SECC.  As my base is at the Athletes Village, that is also the place where I can have a meal as a matter of course by simply picking up a voucher from our dedicated check-in desk .  Those of you who have been following my Games adventure will know that I have rarely been at the Village at meal times, and have, on some days endured an enforced period of fasting.

As a ‘roaming CGA assistant’ I should be able to get a meal at any venue, but first I have to get a meal ticket there, as for some mysterious reason, the tickets from one place cannot be used at another, and the ticket regime is an absolute. I had an hour or so between drop off and pick up at the SECC so I made food my one mission.

The car was in the car park that everyone calls the Cheese Grater at one end of the SECC site, and the Workforce check-in is in a downstairs area of the Crowne Plaza hotel at the other end.  It was the sort of ‘go up there, left there, then right and down the stairs at the bottom and then through there and it’s round the corner at the end’ journey, but I was determined not to be defeated.  Having secured the voucher, it was then back, halfway to where I had started, to the Workforce Dining to collect a brown bag, a sandwich and a tub of ice cream.  By the time I got back to the car, the whole process had taken me half an hour.  In celebration, I sat on the tail gate of the car and ate.

And finally the biggest victory of the day – the Mozambique team won a medal!  Silver for Maria Muchavo in the women’s T12 100m.  I caught the final on television, and for the first time of this Games found myself rooting for a competitor, and actually punched the air when she came across the line in second place.  The BBC coverage was entirely biased towards the English runner Libby Clegg, so one might have thought she was the only one in the race, or receiving a medal, but occasionally on the edge of the shot I could see ‘our girl’.

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