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!
- 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!