That time my manager called to ask where I was and I was stuck on a pontoon in the middle of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park in London. Yeah, that time.
London Olympics 2012, I was working at the Hyde Park venue where the Triathlon was being held, making sure all the signage was up and the venue looked good for the cameras.
It had been raining for most of the load in, the build of all temporary infrastructure had been delayed and all my signage had arrived late or was the wrong thing. All my managers were busy helping to get all the other venues ready as they opened earlier (we were not opening until later in the Games) so it had been just myself and my amazing venue team, plodding along to try and get everything ready on time.
The first event day arrived and almost everything was up. There was still some sections of the path where the athlete’s exit on their bikes that needed some signage on the fences. The plan was to use some signage that had been used at other venues on the days prior.
It arrived at the last hour. Madly trying to put up signage while you can hear the crowd get excited at the anticipation for the start of the race really gets your heart pumping.
It was up in time, the race started and off they went.
A few days later, it is the morning of the second event day and I find out that the pontoons out in the lake had been in the camera shots the days before and because they have some equipment on them they didn’t look very good. I am asked if I have anything to cover them up so they “disappear”. I have some black scrim up my sleeve. The guys with the medical boats take me out there but again, it’s right before the race is about to start, and they have to go off to fix something. They will be back to pick me up so they leave me on the pontoon to cover up the equipment and secure the scrim down.
I get it done fairly quickly and am waiting for them to come back.
It’s pretty amazing out there. The sun is shining, the crowds have lined the Serpentine, it’s a great atmosphere, the edge around the lake is really buzzing with excitement. But out where I am, it’s somewhat still and remote.
I am still waiting for the guys to come back and along comes a police dingy. They ask me if I am all right and do I need a ride? I am fine and I tell them my guys are coming back for me.
They radio the guys; they aren’t coming back for me. Then my manager rings me. He has come along to the venue to have a look and is wondering where I am? Agh, I am actually out on a pontoon in the middle of the lake and the race is about to start! Police dingy to the rescue, I jump in and they take me to the shore. However, along the shore is a fence and behind the fence is crowds of people waiting to watch the race.
So here I am in the middle of London on one of the biggest events in the world and I climb over the fence, in uniform and with my life vest on mind you, and wade through the crowd.
They are a friendly bunch and move aside for me. I make my way back down inside the venue and find my manager. Here I am, sorry, I was just stranded out on the pontoon.