Glasgow, it transpires, can be wet. Very, very wet indeed. I had been invited up to Scotland for the final weekend of the 20th Commonwealth Games by my friends at Longines, the official timekeepers of the Games, taking the sleeper train up overnight from London Euston on the Friday night. London was bordering on heatwave conditions, and I didn’t pay much attention to the weather forecast.
More fool me.
I may as well have poured a bucket of water over my head and been done with it on the walk from our coach to the stadium. (We had been told that umbrellas weren’t allowed into the stadium and, like typical English authority pleasers we left them behind in the coach, only to see everyone else with a brolly.)
Hurrah for my lightweight Liberty x Nike print trainers which dried admirably quickly in the bathroom.
Likewise for my J Brand leather trousers, which are more or less impermeable.
We arrived early on the Saturday evening in the torrential rain to the Longines box overlooking the track at Hampden Stadium, and watched as the seats started to slowly fill. I’ve only been to one athletics meeting as an adult, so everything was fascinating to me, from the tiny remote control trucks that return the javelins to the start lines, to the set up for the runners’ starting blocks.
Here’s my friend Amy, the UK PR Director of Longines in the box.
We watched the womens long distance race, as well as the thrilling mens 4 x 400m relay, with Usain Bolt doing his exuberant thing before and after.
Longines had also invited the wife and father in law of World Champion Nigerian triple jumper Tosin Oke to the box, and we watched his heats (he took Silver.)
Being Glasgow, our late night box snack was pies.
The next day dawned rain-free, and we sped back towards Hampden in the early evening from our hotel, the Cameron House on the shores of Loch Lomond, for the Closing Ceremony.
If you’ve ever wondered where those perfect little flags on people’s cheeks come from at sporting events, wonder no more…there are make up stands dotted around.
Before the ceremony started, some of the athletes popped up to say hello
(For my non UK readers, on the left is Olympic Gold Medallist and British poster boy for the Olympics and Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars) winner the gymnast Louis Smith, and Olympian, Paralympian and Commonwealth Gold medallist Dan Graves, also known as Discus Dan.)
The ceremony was conceived as an homage to a Glasgow night out. And, whilst a little hard to follow theme-wise at times, there was no mistaking the home crowd’s passion and enthusiasm for their city and for the Games. I was particularly moved by the parade of trucks from the emergency and support services, which finished up with a trailer hauling a Coastguard’s speedboat.
Home grown acts underscored much of the evening: Lulu gave it her best, followed by Deacon Blue, but the star of the show was, of course, Kylie, in her showgirl outfit, belting out her biggest hits. (Australia are hosting the next Commonwealth Games.)
A last snack of haggis and we were done for the night.
A huge thank you to Longines for a wonderful weekend in Glasgow.