A combination of the nearly three weeks away from The Q, a quite magnificent London 2012 Olympics, and generally being disorganised have meant that I haven't blogged for a while.
Some of you may have been relieved by that and others will wonder if I've dropped from the face of the Earth!
'Team Franklin' went away to Spain for two weeks back in July, and combined with my normal shift pattern, it worked out that I was a day or so away from a three-week break. It wasn't planned that way, but I must admit the extended rest was very welcome. I'll share some moments from my holiday with you in my next blog but today I wanted to talk Olympics.
We arrived back in time for the spectacular opening ceremony. Although I was working at QVC that night we were able to watch the helicopters circling around the stadium and the Red Arrows fly-past from the 2nd floor (Studio level) of our new Chiswick HQ.
I only managed to catch odd glimpses of fireworks between my hours but I had recorded it all to savour the next day. I am, as regular readers will know, a big sports fan and for me the Olympics are really the pinnacle of sporting endeavour – to have it in our own back yard was just amazing.
I knew that 'home advantage' might inspire some athletes and pressurise others but I, like the whole nation, was not really ready for the unbelievable success of Team GB and in fact the whole London 2012 Olympics. By the time you read this you may be a little Olympic-ed out, but I have to say I've never been more proud to be British than right now.
It's not just the incredible results or even the spectacular venues but the whole thing – one of the most unexpected highs for me was the fabulous efforts made by the volunteers, military personnel, police and Games Makers alike – they made everyone feel safe and welcome at the venues and their enthusiasm was infectious.
After a quite a few frustrating and fruitless attempts in the months leading up to the Games, I was eventually lucky enough to buy tickets for the Olympic stadium. At first I wondered if I had paid too much for them, but I was desperate to go and I wanted my kids to go as well – I described it as their 'moon landing' .
I'll explain. Way back in the day my parents dragged my brother and I out of our beds to come and watch the first Moon landing, we weren't that bothered at the time, but ever since then I have been thankful that they took the trouble to make us get up and watch such an historic moment.
Now I couldn't win an argument that an Olympic games is as significant an event as a Moon landing, but for my two children, attending the Olympic stadium during a home games may well be a one-off in their lifetime (after all, we've now hosted them three times!). To me that makes it 'their Moon landing' until we land a man on Mars, at any rate!
I know many weren't able to make the Games or weren't lucky enough to get tickets, but I've attached a short video shot at the stadium to share with you, and I hope it doesn't wind you up if you tried many times for tickets without success – I was just one of the lucky ones.
We didn't see a GB medal winner on the night, but Dai Greene in the men's 400m hurdles final gave it his best finishing a brave fourth, and the sound that followed him around the stadium actually crashed my camcorder (I'm quite serious!) – the vibration from the intense noise shut it down with an error message – I've played it back and it happens at the precise moment Dai came level with our part of the stadium – amazing!
The footage is of the stadium during a lull between races, whilst the ladies pole vault final was in progress. We also got to see the 'Lightning Bolt' and 'The Beast' receive their Gold and Silver medals, the final of the men's 400m, the qualifying rounds for the women's 200m, the women's pole vault, shot put and the 3000m steeplechase finals – a night to remember. And lastly – no! I didn't feel I paid too much – it was a bargain – and you know I love a bargain!
Take care till next time,