Country mouse volunteers at The Olympics

Country mouse is struggling to return to normal after a fortnight masquerading as Olympic Mouse: wearing the Games Maker uniform with unexpected pride, feeling the smug glow of comradeship with fellow volunteers and living as a local in salubrious, welcoming Greenwich.

We purple people have had a very good Games. Strangers smiled with respect, everyone said thank you and the locals, far from being resentful of the takeover of their glorious park, could not have been kinder. They put out flags, the gospel hall offered free drinks and loos, a coffee shop gave us vouchers for sausage rolls and the perpetually heaving Greenwich Tavern cheerfully rebranded itself The Gold & Saddle after unprecedented success for British riders.

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Greenwich was chosen for its proximity to the main Olympic media centre and for the dramatic images promised by the backdrop of the Old Royal Naval College and the City, and how the countryside milked it.

The press descended and, discovering that horsey people can be interesting, brave and articulate, provided unprecedented coverage. Cross-country day was such an emotional high one feared the rest would fall flat, but the euphoria-and uplifting noise-continued and the medals poured in. Best of all is being able to say: ‘I was there.’

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