Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Will it be ready?

Strange how not having to do anything in particular seems to remove any incentive to do the things you'd quite like to do. It's days since I went to have a look at the biggest and most complex project-with-a-deadline you could imagine - the London 2012 Olympic Park.

To get there from here on the bike involves the classic East End journey contrasting the old council estates (looking very workaday despite attempts to brighten them up) with the ever-present towers of Canary Wharf.

The route passes reminders of past upheavals in Poplar:

and, by chance, an ordinary-looking street-corner pub in Bow that you wouldn't think had a romantic legend attached, before turning semi-rural at Three Mills, where eighteenth-century entrepreneurs put the River Lea to work:

From there, it's a short ride up to the Greenway, whose name rather disguises the fact that its elevation depends on the great Victorian sewer underneath. I walked along here when I first came to the area, and then it was surrounded by small workshops, car breakers, scrap metal yards and the like. Now it runs straight through the Olympic building site, and alongside one edge of the park where it will all happen in just over a year.

There's a temporary viewing platform and café, with signboards to tell you what will be where, and how it's all going to work:

From this viewpoint, only some of the main features of this enormous site are visible, but everything seems to be well on track. The stadium has its seats in and the grass laid, the Orbit is rising fast, and in the distance the towers of the Olympic Village are looking reassuringly solid.

Passing along the Greenway, you can see how property developers have been getting in on the act, though these residents won't get much of a view of any action in the park:

And just to reassure the International Olympic Committee, old-established defence measures are still available to help ensure security:

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