London's wound up for Olympics

00:45, Jul 26 2012

After 27 hours of flying, we are greeted at Heathrow by the smiling faces of a volunteer army falling over themselves to help us.

They are clad in an eye-catching shocking pink, apparently the only colour not used by a competing nation, and they are bursting with pride about the state of readiness of their city.

Volunteers whisked us quickly and efficiently through the airport. Thousands are expected to arrive at Heathrow over the next few days. Can they all be processed as smoothly as we were?

Our volunteer driver, also in his seriously pink T-shirt, settled us into his car and welcomed us profusely, as he had been trained to do. We were impressed.

He, too, was bursting with pride and anticipation.

The Olympic traffic lanes are largely empty at this stage.


Londoners have been preparing for the restrictions that are to be imposed on them. Most are a bit grumpy about this inconvenience.

Security is very obvious. The English bobbies are very evident, pacing the footpaths.

At the hotel, we were checked in just as if we were at an airport. The accreditation cards we must wear at all times are as precious as a passport.

The airspace protection above London is a sinister reminder of our times.

Weather forecasts receive top billing. For weeks, cold, wet and windy days have lowered national spirits. But this evening is balmy and warm. Thousands are enjoying the lush green of Hyde Park.

There is just a hint of smugness in the demeanour of Londoners as they invite us to admire the evening. Of course they all knew it would turn out like this.

Signs of the glorious Olympic Games are everywhere - flags and hoardings, tracksuits and visitors.

Nervous tension is building, anticipating the success of this huge event. The receptionist who checked us into the hotel was beaming from ear to ear. And finally, she couldn't contain herself any longer. Her tiny feet drummed on the floor as she triumphantly burst out with, "I can hardly wait, and bring on the Games".

The Marlborough Express