Saturday, 28 July 2012


I was there.

After four months of rehearsals, countless hours moving Props in the pouring rain, unpaid leave from work, a fiance who has felt like an Olympic widower, being sworn to secrecy and mounting excitement.

It was incredible. Goosebumps, gasps, a racing heart.

And as I write I still can't believe I was there. It was one of the best nights of my life. There aren't enough adjectives to describe the night. 

And just a little surreal.

Who knew at the start of the year I'd be telling you 'I was a cloud at the Olympic Opening Ceremony'?!

The opening scene, the Green and Pleasant Land is described in the Guardian with the 'fluffy white clouds tethered to squads of minders and slowly circling the arena'. The Times notes on its front page today: 'vast clouds were carried in procession'

That was me! I was one of the minders! Or, to give our official title a 'Cloud Wrangler'. Dressed in our fun white dungarees that I'm almost certain Stella McCartney had been no where near, we were the very first to head onto the Field of Play at 7.30pm. Watching the buzz building as the audience filtered in, admiring the beautiful rural scene on display and then transform into the dramatic, noisy, ugly industrial landscape. 

It was felt like a bizarre dream to be told at one stage over our radios: 'Could the Clouds be aware that the geese and cows are now exiting. Please could the clouds stay away from the animals'.

And it was all a little emotional too: the children singing Bread of Heaven, the poignant minute of silence, the joyous celebration of the National Health Service. 

I arrived home, exhausted but elated at three o clock this morning and promptly watched the entire spectacle as seen by 1 billion people around the world.

Let the Games begin.

Heading into the Stadium for one of the best nights of my life

Checking to ensure each flag is correct

Cloud Wranglers with our cloud

The grin that didn't leave my face this entire evening

On the Field of Play watching the Biggest Scene Change Ever

Oh, and a cake! Here's one I made for the Cloud Wrangling Team: 

A cake version of me and the cloud!

Coconut Cloud Cake

For the Sponge:

225g softened unsalted butter
225g self-raising flour, sifted
100g plain flour
200g caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 vanilla pod
A little milk if needed

For the filling and decoration:

3 tbsps jam or conserve (I used plum)
50g dessicated coconut
100g soft unsalted butter 
200g icing sugar, sieved

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan/Gas Mark 5. Butter and line an 8 inch sandwich tin
2. Cream together the sugar and butter for at least five minutes until light and fluffy
3. Slowly add the eggs, beating until well combined. Add the seeds from the vanilla pod
4. Fold in the sifted flours. Add a little milk if needed to achieve a dropping consistency
5. Pop the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 1 hr 10  minutes until golden brown in colour and springy to touch
6. Allow to cool in the tin for five-ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled slice in half horizontally
7. To make the filling: warm the jam over a gentle heat in a pan, stirring gently throughout. Beat together the icing sugar, coconut and butter. Spread the cooled jam on the top of the bottom half of the sponge and use half the coconut buttercream to sandwich the two sponge cakes together. 
8. Decorate the top of the cake with the remainder of the coconut buttercream in the shape of an Olympic Ceremony cloud!

Baker's notes...
  • For an extra celebration add a splash of Malibu to the icing
  • Its taken me the best part of four hours to write this post as I keep stopping to pinch myself (its getting a little painful now)- I still can't believe I was there! Ban-Ki Moon said thank you to me as I held open a curtain!
  • And I've had a few minutes of fame...
  • Bring on the Closing Ceremony... rehearsals continue tomorrow!


  1. We are so proud of you honey... I knew you were there and I told all my friends that I knew someone there... and a very small part of me suspected you'd be one of the Cloud Wranglers!!!... It was an excellent show and you should feel utterly full to the brim with pride for being part of it... bloody genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Aaawww Kate, thats brought a tear to my eye, how amazing for you, a memory to treasure forever.
    Us mere onlookers are very glad you gave your time and energy to entertain us and you all put on such am amazing show. Thank you! x

  3. It was such an amazing show - you must be so very proud to have been an actual part of it. We watched, shouted and screamed at the top of our voices, danced, sang and waved LED lights from the crowd! An awesome experience. I can't even begin to imagine how hard you all worked to rehearse all of that - mind blowing!

  4. Wonderful post, so glad you had fun! There was me looking out for you in the nhs section.

  5. Well it was an amazing performance and so good to hear that you had so much fun taking part, well done to you and thanks to you and all the folks involved for putting on such a memorable show.

  6. Well done you! Great job. They were supremely well wrangled clouds.

  7. Last night was the first and only night ever I've regretted not having a TV here in France, it all sounded so fantastic, I'm so glad you had such a splendid time, well done.

    And your cake must have delighted your co-cloud wranglers! Enjoy the rear if the Olympics:-)

  8. How exciting! You Brits are doing a great hosting job!!


  9. Wow I missed the beginning of the ceremony I was travelling home from my holibob! I wondered why there were people dressed as the 'Mario Brothers' it really puzzled me! Now I know you were 'Cloud Wranglers' I will watch all of the ceremony and look out for you! How brilliant! You are a global superstar! What an excellent thing to be part of it all! Love the Cloud Wrangling cake too! xxx

  10. Kate, that is so awesome! A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Good stuff! Congratulations

  11. Ah, sounds amazing! So wish I could have been part of it as well, but I suspect my responsibilities at home (3 wee ones) might have stopped me. You looked great and the show was incredible. Well done!!! X

  12. Congratulations on doing an awesome job! Cake looks great :)

  13. Cloud wrangler - wow. YOu should have business cards made up!

  14. How lovely to have taken part - congratulations on all your hard work.

  15. Fantastic! How exciting! Great job title and I love the dungarees.

  16. I managed to get last min tickets in the standing pit and I saw all the cloud wranglers so I must have seen you. It was such a great show, it must have been fab to be part it of! It's so great that so many people were happy to take unpaid leave and put in so much time for it. Well done you!!

  17. I was SO wanting to see you, I thought you might have been in the NHS bit - LOVED the WHOLE show and I knew why I loved those clouds so much now - cos' you were a cloud wrangler! Karen xxx

  18. How amazing !! We missed the event on Friday so watched it last night in i-player - I didn't spot you but it's lovely to think I "know" someone who was in there somewhere !! I thought the green and pleasant land turning into the industrial bedlam was the best bit of the whole thing.

  19. Completely brilliant!! I loved the opening ceremony and what a once in a lifetime opportunity! I think I even tweeted you a couple of weeks ago to say I was looking forward to seeing the clouds...weird!!! Amazing...I can't wait to get to the events next week! :-)

  20. congrats......thats absolutely awesome!!!!!!!an experience of a lifetime!
    yum cake too.

  21. This is just a dream come true. I loved every minute of the opening ceremony, was so in awe of the show. I just can't imagine how mind blowing it must have been to actually be there, such a wonderful experience for you. A cloud cake is the perfect way to celebrates such a special occasion...........brilliant Kate!!! xx

  22. What an amazing experience! Something to remember for ever. I love the coconut cloud cake to celebrate, such a lovely idea.

  23. What an amazing experience! I watched the ceremony with my sister and I told her that I know someone who is out there: You! :)
    It was a spectacular show. You must be so so proud to be a part of it. I am also loving the cloud cake. Fantastic

  24. Well Done!! What a fantastic ceremony and the clouds were just awesome. I was on the edge of the sofa for the entire ceremony - each section got better and better! Now I know why you were dancing around so excitedly wen I saw you after rehearsals!! So proud of you sweetie!! :o)
    Gem xxx

  25. The opening ceremony was absolutely amazing - surpassed all my expectations!! It's so amazing that you were actually there - you did a fab job!!! xx


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