Town mouse looks beyond gold

We interrupted our viewing of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (on DVD) to watch Usain Bolt win the 100m. But I’m not a natural denizen of Planet Sport. London has been under alien occupation for the past fortnight and I’ll be quite pleased when those of us who live there get it back. Not that it’s been rammed to the gunwales, as predicted.

In fact, it’s been eerily deserted; having had their rooms block-booked by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, hotels have been unable to fill them when some countries didn’t take them up. But one occasionally fumes. Coming home through east London one night, ordinary mortals crawled along the half-road available to us, as a yawning expanse of tarmac lay empty. The few Olympics buses that zoomed past were empty.

We hear much about legacy. Heaven forbid that our children would want to sacrifice their social development and education to become an athlete! But the Games have been a logistical triumph, and Britain’s reputation rides higher as a result. Let’s hope, too, that the regeneration of east London gives young people somewhere to live. But friends in property tell me that the biggest catalyst won’t be the Olympic Park, but the adjacent Westfield shopping centre. O tempora, o mores.

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