Monday, 20 February 2012

In At The Deep End

Found myself this morning, nine o'clock at the Olympic Aquatic Centre. Nobody more surprised than me, really,  a) to be going to the Diving World Cup and b) to have got anywhere significant by that time in the morning.  Ah but when I was describing where I lived in the last post I didn't tell you that I am 30 minutes away from the Olympic site  and guess who hasn't got any tickets. 

These are computer generated images of architect Zaha Hadid's stunning design which I was keen to see and experience. I found them here.

Unfortunately our approach from Stratford Underground station did not create the best vista.

Below, you can see a part of the main stadium at left and that big grey thing in the background  is the water polo venue.  It was a bit parky as you can tell from the two marshalls who didn't have the benefit of the big foam rubber gloves worn by the London Underground staff.  At every point there were friendly and helpful men and women directing the crowds, checking tickets or doing airport style security checks.  This seemed a good sign.

 Backtracking then, this picture was on exiting the Stratford hub which I gather is the main gateway to the Olympic park. Cunningly, you have to walk through the  massive spanking new Westfield Retail Therapy Mall first. (I was victim to it on my way out after rather a good lunch with my friends of a certain age  in  a Jamie Oliver restaurant.  I simply had to worship at John Lewis, L K Bennett and Kiehls.) 

Getting there finally..   The Pool.  It was  bright and  warm and thankfully didn't  smell of chlorine, feet and mouldy old swimsuits like the school swimming galas I remember.  A couple of hours on the hard seats was about enough and I could have done with a bottle of water.  My husband  later poured scorn on my dehydration issues with his usual rant about General Montgomery's army crossing the desert in World War II on half a pint. So annoying.

Oh and the diving itself?   The Men's Synchronised Three Metre Springboard.  Disappointed not to see Britain's cute superstar Tom Daley, just 17,  but it was  riveting watching a pair of athletes like peas in a pod producing variations on the perfect flight of fancy. With some authority I began giving them marks myself occasionally getting it spot on, more often than not well wide of the mark.  Once I'd watched the action replay, I could see exactly where I had misjudged things. Ha.   Loved it and now desperate to see the Synchronised Swimming. Oh yes.


  1. It looks terrific, and I must say I am happily surprised; I suppose it's naughty that I should be sceptical about completion on time etc. I do hope it's a wonderful success. (I'm sure you'll enjoy the Olympics much better watching it from the comfort of your own sitting room; just like the tennis. I found Wimbledon rather hot and stuffy, especially wearing a jacket and tie. But I did enjoy watching the "bucket" of sweets being passed around in the Royal Box. Now that they don't show on the telly.)

  2. Columnist, I 'm glad I've been and done that now but I guess we might get to swim in that pool one day. wow.

  3. That looks awesome - have a horrible feeling that I will never go anywhere near anything that involves the olympics....hmmmm must try harder.

  4. The Olympic Aquatic Centre is quite something~and I confess to being on the fence about Zaha Hadid's work until now.
    Thanks for the preview!

  5. TW, I have really got to go and have a look at the building from another angle. This was an anti-climax
    if I'm honest.

  6. I'm glad to hear about your outing but I have to say I find this building to be a disaster. It looks like a beached whale now and how will this monstrosity age? I say yes to a kind of genius but best kept on the drafting table. Can't imagine how Prince Charles can sleep at night knowing this has occurred on British soil!

  7. Oh, Home, that's surprising! The witty beached whale metaphor is the opposite of the intention which is more like a graceful manta ray. I think the building is
    exciting in the big space around it but you may have a point about how it will age. It reminds me, obliquely, of Oscar Niemeyer's Brasilia which I also find stunning. Wonder
    how you feel about that? That was pure modernism.. this is post- but I am not good on architectural language. I hope you have started a good debate here! Thank you.

  8. I'm glad I didn't offend you. Brasilla looks like a crowed roast with the frills or some of the abominations that are found here in the midwest. Your whale looks more like Yale's Ingalls Rink. We have a building here in Lawrence—a memorial for Robert Dole don't get me started on THAT—that has a grasshopper roof. A friend was the supervising contractor for this job and I asked wasn't that roof going to leak? "Like a sieve," he replied. And he was right!

  9. Oh this is great! I don't agree on anything except things like memorials to Robert Dole and OK, fanciful constructions that leak.


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