Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Driver Training - Part 1

Ok so I have to admit that I have been living in the UK for over 3 years now ( what??) and  have never needed or wanted really to drive here. I am a strong believer in public transport and friends basically.

But what would I not do in the interest of the Games?

Driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car, seems small and petty from this side of the ordeal but 4 days ago I was not strutting.

Luckily Hannah at work had faith in me and let me drive her mini around the work car park in Basingstoke and even take a roundabout in her lovely Mini, which I think was a lifesaver and helped me get over the initial fear.
Nevertheless, last Sunday morning, waking up at 6 am (!!)  to get to the Fleet Depot in Stratford was not the beginning of a rather stressful day. First the Jubilee line ( = my lifeline to get to the Games this Summer, being the most convenient Tube line) was down for “planned engineering work”. And then the buses that are supposed to replace it are just not. So I have to take a cab to get to Victoria Station before winding my way through London. And it’s 6am. 

On a Sunday.


Got there on time though by some miracle.
And it's in for 3 hours of what could have been “ Death by Powerpoint” and actually turns out to be quite bearable because I meet up as usual with good people and we get through these sessions with the help of cynicism, caffeine and solidarity.

The Olympic Village
The afternoon comes on, it’s a beautiful day, with the sun beaming out and we are the lucky people who get to spend it on motorways and making our way through the heart of London, rehearsing itineraries.

Rancor aside, it was actually mostly fun…if stressful : The 2 other girls with me in the car turn out to be French and Spanish and are also either nervous or not used to driving on the “wrong!!” side of the road. So I think our trainer, who was there to assess our skills, was relieved we didn t have any accidents. To be fair he was lovely and didn’t try to teach us anything but actually was positive and supportive

But my, I haven’t had to concentrate that much on something in quite a while. Driving other people just increases the sense of responsibility.

Our pretty cars
BUT they are lovely cars to drive, all fancy and “green” ( well for a diesel car at least…and yes I see the irony) : they turn off when you’re stopped in neutral gear, there are smooth and sound, they hold onto the road , they have lovely logos all over the place so we can t be missed on the lanes this Summer ( and people in London can sigh with envy or hate at us cruising round on special roads that turn their transport routine upside down) and they are BMW 3. So really, I cannot complain ( well not more than I ve done so far).

So that was Driver Training Part 1. Part 2 is in 2 weeks and they will let us go in the urban jungle with just the sat nav and fellow Gamesmakers for tools and hope we reach destination.

I saw Barbara (our boss, the head of the NOC-NPC Volunteer programme) and she told me that unfortunately I will not be able to visit the Olympic Village before my first shift  as all the available dates do not work for me for work reasons ( and Gala!) so I will just have to be super efficient on the first day and rely on my team!

The Basketball Arena

Speaking of team I haven't yet gotten the names of the other 2 Gamesmakers looking after Haiti,but we should get an email in the coming days so we can get to know eachother and meet up before it all kicks off.
Royal Artillery Barracks ( Shooting)

All fun and Games.

I’m loving it ( special bow to the sponsor)

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