“Budget an hour and a half to get there and get in,” said Sarah the Robert Elms Show producer. “And bring photo ID.”
All of which I did of course. I didn’t want to be late, pegging it down a concourse and running into the BBC London pre-fab studio with my pages of notes flapping in the breeze and getting wet with the heavy raindrops.
In the end, the time taken from Finsbury Square EC2 to the temporary BBC London studios overlooking the Olympic Park in Stratford? 21 minutes including security.
London is truly empty at the moment. The Mayor and Transport for London did such a good job of trying to mitigate the usual nightmare that is London traffic with scare stories and initiatives about working from home during the Olympics that everyone has left town. Gone. Just like that. On top of everything, the whole transport network is so well organised at the moment that you’d have to be a complete twonk to get lost. There are hundreds of volunteers in fetching Olympic uniforms with matching foam fingers pointing you towards where you need to go.
So I sat around for an hour waiting for the show to start, watching the tide of lucky families who had bagged tickets for some event or other in the Park. And commiserating with Robert who had lost his wallet somewhere between St Pancras and Stratford International. Credit cards, cash, driving licence, photos of the kids, Nectar card, the lot. On Tuesday, he paid me back the £25 he owed me for his and Alfie’s tickets to our traditional near-London QPR pre-season friendly in High Wycombe only for me to give it him back barely 12 hours later so he had some cash for incidentals.