We had to blink and pinch ourselves today, watching Olympic runners make their way along the Pall Mall, past Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral.
But the Shrewsdays had a way to check whether everything was real: we could look out of the window.
We had cadged a view to inspire envy: a building on Aldgate which actually formed a bridge over the route.
And had a brunch buffet on the side.
You could concievably watch the men run underneath, grab a croissant and run to the other side to watch them emerge. Pooh-sticks with international athletes.
You’d have to be fast, though.
The atmosphere out on the streets was electric. Everyone from Metroland had got on the train to come to what would be one of the very last events of a rip-roaring British Olympics. We have 29 gold medals under our belt and we’re staring incredulously round at other countries to see if we have been mistaken for someone else. But no: there we are: third on the table.
Phil and I, and Maddie and Felix, strolled along a sunlit Thames. Tower Bridge was resplendent in its rings, St Paul’s was looking pristine and ready for its front line role in the mens’ marathon. Everyone was smiling and life was good.
We were hurrying in case roads were closed and we couldn’t get to our venue: the conference centre bang-smack opposite the Museum of London, a short potter from St Paul’s.
We arrived without event, and settled ourselves in comfy chairs overlooking the fast-gathering crowds below.
And they gathered. And gathered. People who could have no chance of a decent view who still came with their flags and the whole family to cheer because, well, this was the Olympics. The atmosphere was electric by the time the runners began: and continued until the very last runner appeared on the last lap, followed, Phil dryly observed, by a road sweeper.
It was a day to remember.