Wednesday, August 01, 2012

It's happened. The Olympics have made London quieter than usual

In the months leading up to the Olympics Londoners divided into two groups: the first thought it was bound to make the city unbearably busy; the second thought London couldn't get much busier and that it might well get quieter.

I've been back in the country 24 hours and it seems clear to me the second lot have won the argument.

The gardens of Camberley are probably resounding to the noise of sit-upon lawnmowers driven by civil servants "working from home" at the moment. Well, if any of them feel like popping into the office they could probably drive that lawnmower into town, so little traffic is there.

We arrived back at Folkestone at six o'clock on Monday evening and breezed round the M25. I have literally never seen the road so quiet, not even in the middle of the night.

This evening we went into town to see Eugene Onegin at the Holland Park Opera. (Fantastic. Go. Oh. Too late.) There were fewer people on the tube than usual.

Of course, large numbers were on the move. 70,000 people were on their way to Wembley to see football. This is 10,000 fewer than usually go.

The waiters in restaurants on High Street Kensington were looking dolefully out of the windows in the hopes of tempting customers in. You could hunt buffalo inside most dining establishments.

On the way home we changed at King's Cross and the extra LT staff were massing around the barriers looking for any exotically dressed visitor they could help.

Don't listen to those people on the radio, warning you to stay at home. They've all gone to work, haven't they? And if you're thinking of going into town for any reason, give the whole "London's impossible" crowd two fingers and go. Those restaurants and theatres will be glad to see you.

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