Today the weather turned to clear sky, sunshine and a light cooling breeze - which meant it was a freezing start to Day 2 at our 6:30am briefing under the wing of the Aquatic Centre.
Today I was sent to the Olympic Park's secret entrance, Victoria Gate. This gate is hidden away (OK its on the map but...) on the east side of the park (or the bottom of the maps as they are printed) and sees less than 1% percent of the visitors to the park use this entrance. Apparently there is plenty of parking in the side streets and you can cycle right up to the gate and lock your bikes and walk in. If you are attending the games its worth considering using it as an entrance.
So having a quiet entrance meant a quiet day standing in the sunshine with my fellow Gamesmakers. We had a small perfectly formed team with a great team leader by the name of Phil. Never short of stories and jokes Phil (pictured right) was great fun and a great team leader.
Today I got to use the scanner that checks people's tickets as they enter the park. We also had stints outside the gate to do some 'soft' ticket checks and answer questions which were mostly about how they could get tickets.
The biggest excitement of the day came when I helped two families get reunited with their tickets. In both cases there were two groups of people one with the tickets and the others without them and unfortunately they had each turned up to different gates. So I gave directions to the people with tickets on how to get to Victoria Gate from within the park and then we got the tickets handed over. Problem solved and smiles all round.
The first of my early starts saw me rise at 5am to journey to Stratford checking in just after 6am.
As expected there was a degree of confusion, mainly because the vast majority of new volunteers were asking each other the same questions expecting immediate answers. Fortunately most things were straightened out and the general positive atmosphere kept people moving along and going with the flow.
We soon got split into teams and I was off to our first posting. In this first team I met Stuart (pictured right) from Wiltshire who also served in the Olympics so he was able to give me a few insider tips which was an excellent start and he was great fun to be with so early in the morning.
Unfortunately this posting only lasted about 30 minutes then plans changed and after another trek I ended up in the area known as Orbit Circus (covering the Stratford Gate, Orbit and Olympic Stadium) meeting and greeting people as they came into the Olympic Park from the Stratford/Westfield shopping centre side.
Later in the day I spent a long time with Susan (pictured left) who strangely kept wandering off standing still looking into the distance and the returning. Curious I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was trying to get into the background of as many peoples photographs as she could. So the photograph on the right is of her at distance (she is circled). Susan will be in 100s of peoples photo albums, just over their shoulder!
So that was my first nine hour shift, there is more to talk about - music, signs, food, questions from the public - but those will be for another day.
Tomorrow I start my Paralympic adventure as I don my Gamesmaker uniform and join with a team of thousands to help 'make the games'.
This challenge has inspired me to pick up my blog again and so I invite you to follow my journey along with me as I share the ups, down, inspiration, challenges, tears and joy of being part of the greatest show on earth.
I will be tracking every comment, share, like etc on facebook, twitter and this blog and the person who gets most involved I will give them a souvenir of my time at the games!
(Note - a comment on the blog is worth 3x one on facebook and 6x a fb like)