Okay – so yesterday the first of the horses arrived on Blackheath for the Big Old Games. It’s hard to tell what’s happening/has happened to Greenwich Park in general because it’s all fenced off, but I have confidence that the hoo-ha created by various people over the last few years will have forced LOCOG to more or less do the right thing by it and that apart from some scary hoof marks in the soft mud (all that rain and giant studs – erk) ultimately the park itself will mostly go back to normal within a couple of years.
I guess its a shame that the same sort of focus wasn’t put on Blackheath (though of course initially we were told the heath wouldn’t be affected. Yeah, right.) There’s a slag-heap of earth as tall as a coal mine and when I went by the other day the diggers were still adding to it. I’m assumiung slurry tanks for all that poo and wee.
To be honest, though, I’m less worried about the heath – it’s hardly the classic panorama that’s been around for millennia, full of bumps and hollows, scorched bushes and wind-tortured trees (if you want to know what it all used to be like, just take a look at the Dips at the top of Maze Hill) after having been effectively ‘filled-in’ with bomb-rubble after the last war, but I would like to know that that, too, will be returned to rude flat-green health afterwards
To many, the ideal legacy for the Park and the heath would be – well, nothing, really. For it to go back to how it was, and for as little damage as possible to be done, but we have gained one thing, upon which, frankly, I think we could have done better.
I don’t have a picture of the old Blackheath gates, which were bulldozed so that heavy vehicles could get in and out of the Park more easily, but I didn’t have massive objections to the change – the old gates weren’t that historic and though pretty, not something that couldn’t have been improved upon.
However I don’t consider this:
to be an improvement.
Honestly – we’re getting precious little else in the way of legacy from the games – surely a set of gates to one of the most beautiful and historic parks in the world that were removed so that developers could build stuff could have been replaced with something that looked just a tiny bit less like the checkpoint for a high security prison? All we bloomin’ need are watchtowers and surface to air missiles and the scene will be compl- oh, hang on, we’ve already them.
I absolutely get that it’s an honour to have the games here and that whatever disruption we get over the next few weeks is nothing in comparison to the prestige of having the eye of the world on us. I don’t mind the traffic, the parking issues (especially as Greenwich Council has sent me twice as many parking permits than they said, mwaha,ha). I don’t mind the park being closed and I’m actually quite excited about looking out for the Phantom Webmaster in the opening ceremony. Greenwich will cope, stuff will get done and it will be an incredible experience.
But really – those gates. Would it have been so hard to get something just a teeny bit prettier, wrought-ironier or squirlier -or even to put the old ones (with temp extensions) back?