An Olympic Plea

Londoners, Your City Needs YOU!

I don’t usually make a habit of begging, but I’m going to now.  Just this once.

I’m going to because, despite the naysayers, the pessimists, the whingers, the doom-predictors, les miserables and those who really couldn’t give a tiny rat’s arse, the Olympic Games begin in T-2 days and they will be one of the biggest sporting events in our lifetime as Londoners.*

I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the technical rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony last night, which was an incredible spectacle to say the least.  I have enough respect for those who have spent years organising it to #savethesurprise, but I will say that you are truly in for a treat if you choose to watch it on Friday.

Here are a few snaps inside the Olympic Park to whet the appetite.

Now, back to my plea.  Over the next few weeks I will be sporadically donning a bright pink tabard and taking to the streets to assist everyone who’s trying to make their way around London.  Yes, my name is Celine I am your volunteer Olympic travel ambassador.

I’ll admit, when I’m walking behind a tourist who stops suddenly to point, laugh at and then take pictures of a pigeon eating a Kit Kat wrapper, I have visions of bludgeoning them to death with their own camera.  I am, however, taking this opportunity to see our capital in a different way: through millions of fresh, excited and hopeful pairs of eyes.

My request (or challenge, if you’d prefer) to you is to go about your daily business with the same mentality.  Here’s what I mean:

- You’re a Londoner, you know your hood.  If you see anyone looking a bit lost or confused, take a minute to ask them if they’d like a hand figuring out where they want to go.  Get a warm, fuzzy feeling from helping someone before you’ve even had your first latte of the day.

- Dust off that GCSE French / German / Spanish and take a couple of moments to remember how to say  ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘good bye’ in a few other languages.  Use them.  It’s exceedingly funny watching a Frenchman drop his croissant in surprise when you make an unexpected effort in this way.

- Tell all tourists in central London to walk and to use the ‘Legible London’ maps to get around.  You know when people get on the tube at Covent Garden only to get off at Leicester Square?  Educate them on that.

- Carry a few spare tube maps in your bag and hand them out like some kind of be-suited map vending machine.

- Download some useful free apps onto your phone so that you’re prepared when someone asks you where the nearest loos are (ToiletFinder UK).

- Remember all of the many incredible things and places that you love about London and share them with anyone who might ask for a recommendation.

- Smile at people.  I know it's against our religion as Londoners, but do it.  Just this once.  You might even enjoy it.

This is not about the money that has been spent, the security debacles or the impact that it will have on the transport network.   It’s about the impression that the world and the millions of visitors during this period will have of London – our home - and what we can each do to feel like we had a small part to play in making it the best impression possible. 

I promise, when it’s all over, you have my express permission to tut loudly at anyone who is incapable of understanding why every other person on that escalator is standing on the right.

*I’m aware that I’ve mentioned the words ‘Olympics’ and ‘London’ numerous times in this post which, if you believe the reports, is likely to result in my hanging, drawing and quartering by the Brand Police.  So I might as well chuck in ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’, ‘Bronze’, ‘summer’ and 2012 to ensure a swift demise.  Oh, and I’ll sell you chips if you want – WITHOUT ANY ACCOMPANYING FISH!


  1. Ahhh I love this post. It costs nothing to be nice doesn't it, but sometimes we are so busy in our own worlds we forget. Like you said, its great having that warm fuzzy feeling when you've helped someone out. Good luck with being an Olympic ambassador:)

    1. Thank you so much honey. I'm very glad there's at least one other person out there with the same attitude! Enjoy x