I was fascinated by the Olympics when I was younger, I’d sit and watch the opening ceremonies on the TV, wondering what the host city would be like to live in or visit. As the different athletes form countries I had never heard of walked in to the stadium, I would marvel at how amazing and big the world was outside of the village I grew up in. That fascination has never really gone away, and I’ve been lucky enough to work on two summer games. In 2008 I went out to Beijing for 5 weeks and worked at a number of venues including the birds nest. And in 2012, I worked on the London Games right here in East London. As the eyes of the world focused in on us, and people came together in the park in Stratford, I don’t mind telling you, I was flushed with pride. Working as part of the stadium venue management team during the opening and closing ceremonies for both the Olympics and Paralympics, is something that I think I will always remember. So yes, I’m an unashamed fan of the Olympics, and I’m not the only in E17. There is a little part of Walthamstow that is paying tribute to the biggest sporting event on Earth, in its own unique, but brilliant way.
The knitted garden on Howard Road has long since been one of those things that makes Walthamstow feel a little bit special. If you have never wandered past and marvelled at its glory, then I highly recommend you do. This ordinary front garden on an ordinary road in E17, celebrates events in a uniquely knitted way. There have been knitted Chinese Dragons to celebrate Chinese New Year, and a knitted Titanic complete with Leo and Kate on the bow to celebrate Valentines Day. The knitted Halloween display is always worth a look, and there was even once a knitted dirty dancing, complete with knitted Jenifer Grey being held aloft by a handsome knitted Patrick Swayze. Don’t worry, I haven’t been smoking banana skins, I promise this is a real thing.
This years knitted Olympics is, as always, fantastic. The Olympic rings are on the lawn, just in front of what I think are knitted samba or salsa dancers. Three canoeists are rowing down a knitted river, and basket ball player leaps in to the air and throws for the hoop. Knitted athletes are all over the place, hurdlers, divers weight lifters, and there’s even a knitted Mo Farah doing the mobot on a podium. This is the kind of thing that can put a smile on even the grumpiest of faces, I was giggling like an idiot when I walked past today. I was joined in my admiration by a Mother and her young son, the little boy asked ‘Why have they knitted the Olympics’ his Mum simply replied, why not. And why not in deed, its fabulous and cheers people up, and lets face facts, at the moment, cheer can sometimes be in short supply.
Over in Rio, athletes and jumping over things, running, swimming, and lifting stuff. And no doubt, I’ll get obsessed with something that I never watch outside of the Olympics, but suddenly become an expert in. Fantastic technique, I’ll scream at the TV whilst watching something like Judo, about which I know nothing. Like many, I’ll feel the highs and lows of the games, and be reminded of the golden days of the London 2012. And throughout the competitions, the knitted Olympics on Howard Road will be paying its own tribute to the games. If you haven’t seen the knitted garden, take a detour down Howard Road, or up it if you’ve been for a pint in the Bell. You won’t be disappointed, and you are sure to leave with a smile on your face. You can read more about the Howard Road House on Facebook.