It was a very Olympic-themed weekend for us in our home county this weekend, and we were proud to join in the celebrations.
Joining our family, were Winning Wenlock, the singing and dancing mascot from Golden Bear, who soon had us all grooving, and a very special visitor from nursery - Percy Pig the holiday plush, who gets to go on special events and record them in his book for the other children to share.
Through family contacts
A torchbearer from the previous week kindly brought along his own personal Olympic torch, and we were able to get our photo taken with the real deal.
True to British form, it chucked it down with rain all evening, and after quaffing champers in the VIP tent (me that is, not Ruby/Daddy/Wenlock or Percy) we braved the outdoors, were ushered past the screaming girls and got up close and personal with Olly Murs live on stage.
Now, I probably wouldn't recognise Olly Murs if he came up to me and plonked his silly hat on my head in the street, and I certainly can't claim to be a fan of his music, but when he did his Madness homage (It must be love; One step beyond and Night boat to Cairo) I couldn't resist the urge to jump like a loon. My thighs didn't thank me for it in the morning mind.
Ruby 'owned' the floor, larging it up in the VIP front of stage area to the irritation of the green-eyed groupies. Even though it was her first ever gig, she looked like a hardened festival-goer in her wellies and rock chick black vest!
Yes, we're shockingly irresponsible parents and it was gone 11pm before we finally poured a muddied; rain-soaked; sweaty; snoring bundle from the car into her bed.
But who cares? She had a ball, dancing non-stop for about 4 hours!
No time for hangovers in the morning, we were up bright and early and heading off to Bedford on Sunday to see the torch relay.
Time for a mascot check...
Percy Pig? Check.
Winning Wenlock? Check.
More rain, but it didn't dampen the spirits as thousands turned out for day 51 of the relay. The police motorcyclists were on good form, high-fiving the crowd as the rode past. There was much mirth when an old codger, out on his Sunday drive in his Fiat Punto, took a wrong turn (and presumably drove straight through the 'road closed' signs and police bollards) and came pootling up the official torch route. He looked most disconcerted when he got a loud and ironic cheer from the crowd and was forced to do a u-turn.
Finally we got to glimpse the torch and it's bearer. Mark Ackland-Snow, despite being diagnosed with Crohn's in 2000 and suffering asthma, has inspired many with his fundraising, recently completing his first triathalon and raising over £5k for charity.
Each runner in the torch relay has their own personal story to tell. Talking to the torch-bearer on Saturday night, he told me how much he appreciated the public's support en route and what a proud moment it was. If the Olympic torch is still to come through your area, do make an effort to go see it - the atmosphere is incredible.
By pure good fortune, the vantage point we picked gave us a perfect view of the 'kiss' - the moment when the flame passes from one torch-bearer to the next. It was a very special sight, and one I hope Ruby will always remember.
All in all, a truly momentous weekend. I'll leave you with words of wisdom from Winning Wenlock...
Ready, get set, go.
Who knows how far you can go,
When you travel on a rainbow.
I hope this feeling never stops.
Disclosure: We were sent the singing Winning Wenlock Mascot from Golden Bear for the purposes of this review. All views expressed, opinions and photos are my own.