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Hamish's Blog - Day One & Two

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Hamish's Blog

Life as a volunteer at the Commonwealth games

One of our staff from Apex International is working as a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games. He's decided to blog about his experiences whilst he's there (he's even taken Austin with him so expect some pics!). We'll be following Hamish (and Austin) on their adventures in Glasgow.

Hamish at the Games

What's Hamish Doing as a Volunteer

I am staying in Glasgow this week whilst I volunteer at the Commonwealth Games. I am part of the Sport Information team and will be based mainly at the Athletes Village, where I will be on hand to help teams, athletes and officials to find out all the details they need about the Judo competition. Any questions they have about transport, timings or the competition itself, they come to us. We also like to chat with whoever pops in and there are some people who don't even have a question but come in to see us anyway. I will be blogging about my experiences for Apex International as they have so kindly given me the time off to attend the games. I will hopefully be sending some photos of Austin the duck having a good time in Glasgow along with my blogs.

Day One

As a breakfast waiter at Apex International, I am no stranger to an early morning; so as I rolled out of bed at 5am this morning, the familiar feeling of not quite being awake but having to get up struck me hard. It's never a pleasant feeling, getting up in the early hours but it soon became worthwhile. Arriving at the Athletes Village and checking in for your shift, you can already feel the atmosphere of excitement. The cheery faces in security and check in are a great way to get motivated for the day ahead. Walking through the Village towards the Sports Information Centre (SIC), I saw athletes, team officials, coaches and other Clydesiders like me; everyone says "Hello!" or "Good morning!" and you just can't help but smile and return the greeting. It's the atmosphere that really makes the village; even early in the morning there is a happy mood with a party-like buzz in the air.

The SIC opens at 7am but our first team official arrived long before then to ask some questions about the day's events. Throughout the morning, athletes and coaches came to check the details of their training, meetings and requirements for the competition. Of course, no day would be complete without an unusual request and today we were asked to find an athlete. This may seem like a straightforward task in the Athletes Village but it is much easier said than done. It took a while just to get in touch with the relevant people and then for them to track down our athlete but we did manage in the end. At the end of the shift, I made my way back through the now buzzing Village, again greeting everyone I passed, and headed back towards Glasgow.

Wearing the Clydesider uniform, everyone wants to talk to you, on the train, the bus or just on the streets, everybody wants to know what you are doing for the games and where you are from. This may just be the friendliness that Glaswegians are known for, but I think it probably has something to do with the good mood the city is in because of the games. The whole city is packed; every street, every train and every shop is full, all day. It's a great atmosphere in itself, as people are always happy to have a chat and a laugh. Wandering around the centre of the city all afternoon was great fun, and the nice weather helped the mood even more. So far my experiences in Glasgow have been fantastic, and I have met a huge number of different people from different countries and backgrounds and I can't wait for tomorrow to do it all over again.

Day Two

It's here; today is the day that the Games really kick off, and you can tell. In the Village, the atmosphere has been upped another notch, and throughout the city there is a feeling of anticipation. The Opening Ceremony tonight is set to be a great evening and a real show of Glasgow's welcome to the world. For the volunteers, however, it was just another day at the office (and a busy one too).

Another early morning make sure that I was well and truly prepared for another day in the SIC. It started early again with team officials trying to check their bus schedules and appointments for the day. This carried on for most of the morning with the odd exception of just wanting a chat. Athletes were also in and out all day, looking for where they needed to be and when. A moment, which for me, emphasised the friendly nature of the games was when a couple of athletes who I had guided to get their kits sorted came in to say thank you. It may not seem like much, but the fact that they took time out of their busy day to say thank you really epitomised the games' sense of friendship and community. This is a key part of the organisers' message for the Games but it can really be seen in the way the athletes and the teams are conducting themselves.

Tonight promises to be a great evening, the Opening Ceremony should raise the excitement for the Games even more, the athletes will begin their final preparations, the competitions will start and the spectators will arrive in their thousands. The friendship amongst the volunteers is already beginning to show as a group of us are going out tonight to watch the ceremony and take in the atmosphere. Another fantastic day in Glasgow was topped off by the near tropical temperatures which have added even more to the atmosphere within the city.

London August 2014

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What's on in London in August 2014

Event of the Month | DINO SNORES FOR GROWN UPS
(22 AUGUST 2014)

Have you ever fancied spending a night in a museum? Dino Snores for grownups allows those childhood wishes come true. Bring your sleeping bag and pillow and experience a sleepover with the dinosaurs!

Dino Snores for Grown Ups | © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History Museum is hosting a fun-filled sleepover evening where you can explore the museums galleries at night time. From dinosaurs to creepy crawlies the museum is packed full of wonders.

The night is bursting with activities with stand up comedy, live music and a unique midnight feast (which even includes edible insects!). You’ll also get a three course dinner (without any insects!) and can enjoy a wine, beer or soft drink from their cash bars. With an all-night monster movie marathon too, we can’t guarantee you’ll get much sleep but there will be a full hot breakfast waiting for you in the morning to brighten you up!

This event is for adults aged 18 and over, places are limited so we suggest you book early to avoid disappointment!

Location: The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD

Website: nhm.ac.uk  

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL (25 & 26 AUGUST)

The August bank holiday weekend signals the start of annual Notting Hill Carnival. Running since 1966, the carnival is the largest street festival in Europe. A celebrate of culture and traditions in the Afro-Caribbean communities, the festival is full of colours, unity and sounds.

Location: Notting Hill

Website: thenottinghillcarnival.com

THE BIG FEASTIVAL (29 - 31 AUGUST)

A celebration of music, food and fun – The Big Feastival is fun for all the family. Join in cookery masterclasses, meet top chefs for Q&A sessions or simply enjoy music from Kelis, Fatboy slim and many more! Camp, glamp or visit for the day but do not miss out on this unique Feastival!

Location: Alex James Farm, Oxfordshire, OX7 6UJ

Website: jamieoliver.com

PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON EVENT (9 & 10 AUGUST)

Calling all cyclising enthusiasts, jump on your bike and join in this festival of cycling! View beautiful, iconic landmarks as you travel around the traffic-free streets and enjoy music zones, bands on bikes and stilt bikes to mention a few! You can stop off in the special parking zones and experience the free entertainment as you make your way around the route!

Location: Around London

Website: prudentialridelondon.co.uk

EQUESTRIAN: LONGINES GLOBAL CHAMPIONS TOUR (14 – 16 AUGUST)

The Longines Global Champions Tour brings together 30 of the top riders in the world in a competition spanning 12 countries. London is one of the last stops on the tour so results are key to the success of the riders.

Location: Horse Guards Parade, The Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1 2AX

Website: globalchampionstour.com

THE FASHION WORLD OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: FROM SIDEWALK TO THE CATWALK (UNTIL 17 AUGUST)

The first major exhibition devoted to Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture fashion world. From Sidewalk to the Catwalk is full of exhibitions bringing together iconic costumes dating back to 1970’s up to the present day, cutting-edge designs and avant-garde creations.

Location: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Website: barbican.org.uk

SUMMER EXHIBITION 2014 AT ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS (UNTIL 17 AUGUST)

Discover an array of exciting works from world-renowned and emerging artists. Full of diversity and talent, the Summer Exhibition allows artists new and notorious to display their works together to create one of the most significant exhibits in the art world.

Location: Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, W1J 0BD

Website: visitlondon.com

BBC PROMS 2014 (UNTIL 13 SEPTEMBER)

BBC Proms is an annual event of orchestral music concerts and events. There’s even something for the kids to enjoy with an exploration of CBeebies through an orchestra. If you can’t get tickets to any of the big events in the Royal Albert Hall there’s also various parks showing live screenings.

Website: bbc.co.uk/proms

MAKING THE COLOUR AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY

BBC Proms is an annual event of orchestral music concerts and events. There’s even something for the kids to enjoy with an exploration of CBeebies through an orchestra. If you can’t get tickets to any of the big events in the Royal Albert Hall there’s also various parks showing live screenings.

Location: The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Website: nationalgallery.org.uk

THRILLER – LIVE AT LYRIC THEATRE (UNTIL 28 SEPTEMBER)

See legendary hits performed live on stage with this Michael Jackson musical tribute. Stunning dance routines, special effects and a dazzling tribute to the King of Pop! Thriller has been wowing audiences for years, tracing the life of Michael Jackson.

Website: visitlondon.com

Dundee August 2014

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What's on in Dundee in August 2014

Event of the Month | ALBA REAL ALE FESTIVAL
(22-24 August)

Alba Real Ale Festival

Celebrating Scotland’s Independent Brewers, The Alba Real Ale Festival is back again! Spend your August bank holiday weekend with a selection of over 40 ales, ciders and lagers. This festival is perfect for those who enjoy an ale or two or for those looking to enjoy a fun, friendly, family day out!

The festival is held in The Royal Tay Yacht Club which features striking views over the River Tay and a family friendly atmosphere. With local performers taking to the stage including Charlotte Brimner and Rock Bottom you can enjoy music during the festival too.

You can even take the kids along! Sunday will be particularly focused on families with a bouncy castle, face painting and a magician!

Tickets are available to buy online, best to book in advance to avoid disappoint to this annual festival of real ale, music, family fun and entertainment!

Location: The Royal Tay Yacht Club, 34 Dundee Road, Broughty Ferry, DD5 1LX

Website: albarealalefestival.org

ICE STATION ANTARCTICA (AUGUST 2014)

Become an ice cadet for the day and experience what life would be like in the coldest, windiest and most remote places on Earth. Learn all about the Antarctica and experience some exciting challenges including braving ice-cold temperatures and riding a snowmobile.

Location: Dundee Science Centre

Website: dundeesciencecentre.org.uk

PIRATE FUN DAY(9 AUGUST)

Great fun for kids who love pirates! Jump aboard the Frigate Unicorn and enjoy storytelling, face painting and competitions. Dress up in your best pirate costume for a chance to win a prize too!

Location: Frigate Unicorn

Website: frigateunicorn.org

DISCOVERY MILE CHAMPIONSHIP OPEN-WATER SWIMMING (9 AUGUST)

Fancy braving the chilly waters of the Tay? Take part in the Discovery Mile Championship swim, so far around 100 swimmers are set to take part and you can join them. As long as you are over 12 years old and can swim. There’s also prizes for the top 3 in various categories.

Location: River Tay Estuary

Website: yeaaba.org.uk

DUNDEE CAR SHOW (10 AUGUST)

The Dundee Car Show is the perfect event for any car fanatics. From vintage to classic cars and kit to commercial vehicles, this is a show not to be missed, especially not be any petrol heads! If you’re especially proud of your car you can enter it too for only £2 per vehicle!

Location: Baxter Park, Arbroath Road, Dundee, DD4

Website: dmoft.co.uk

FAMILY SUNDAY CEILIDH (17 AUGUST)

Ceilidh dancing is a great Scottish tradition, learn the moves and enjoy the music aboard the Frigate Unicorn. Performing throughout Scotland and also in Ireland, Germany and Holland – the ceilidh band are a popular choice and their lead accordionist has also twice won Scottish Accordion Champion!

Location: Frigate Unicorn

Website: dundeecity.gov.uk

LOST DUNDEE: MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE (3 AUGUST)

Discover the historical, medieval past of Dundee on this guided tour. Explore the Old Steeple, dating back over 600 years, the Franciscan monastery of the Howff and Dundee’s last remaining medieval house.

Location: Dundee Contemporary Arts, Town Walls, 152 Neithergate, Dundee, DD1 4DY

Website: scotiaheritage.co.uk

ROMEO & JULIET (23 AUGUST)

Romeo & Juliet is coming to Glamis Castle with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier open-air touring theatre. Experience a performance full of passion, heartbreak, murder and betrayal featuring two star-crossed lovers and feuding families.

Location: Glamis Castle, Angus, DD8 1RJ

Website: glamis-castle.co.uk

SCOTTISH ENSEMBLE – COMMONWEALTH STRINGS (28 AUGUST)

A celebration of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Caird Hall will host a unique double string orchestra. With 14 Scottish Ensemble musicians performing alongside 14 young string players at the beginning of their career, Commonwealth Strings will be a symphony of musical talent.

Location: Caird Hall City Square, Dundee, DD1 4TB

Website: scottishensemble.co.uk

CARNOUSTIE FLOWER SHOW (22 & 23 AUGUST)

Calling all green fingers or those aspiring to be so – Carnoustie Flower show features around 200 classes so you can learn all about potting plants, vegetables and floral art. There’s even a children’s section for kids taking a keen interest in flowers and plants!

Location: Carnoustie Leisure Centre

Website: welcometoscotland.com

Edinburgh August 2014

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What's on in Edinburgh in August 2014

Event of the Month | Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
(1 – 23 August)

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is part of the world-famous Edinburgh Festival. Nearly a thousand musicians, drummers, pipers, dancers and singers will perform on the esplanade of the striking and iconic Edinburgh Castle. Over three weeks, more than 200,000 people will join together to experience a celebration of music and entertainment at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Tattoo is referred to as a ‘global gathering’ with talented performers coming from all over the world to take part.

Edinburgh Castle Tattoo Fireworks

Ending with a stunning display of fireworks and red arrow or RAF flyover the Tattoo is a magnificent event which will leave your heart pounding and adrenaline high! If you can’t get tickets to the Tattoo you can take in the dazzling firework display over Edinburgh Castle from our Apex International and Apex City Hotels in the Grassmarket.

The Tattoo has always sold out in advance in recent years, so make sure to get your tickets sooner rather than later.

Location: Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Website: edintattoo.co.uk  

Edinburgh International Festival (8th – 31st August)

The International Festival was founded in 1947, just after the Second World War. Unlike the Fringe Festival, artists and companies take part on an invitation-only basis. During the festival you’ll get to experience theatre, classical music, opera and dance by performers from across the world. At the end of the festival, you’ll not want to miss the stunning fireworks concert which takes place at Edinburgh Castle.

Location: Various locations around Edinburgh

Website: eif.co.uk

Edinburgh Art Festival (31st July- 31st August)

Scotland’s largest annual visual arts festival returns to Edinburgh this August. The festival, which showcased in 1947, showcases some of the Scotland’s most impressive contemporary art as well as exhibitions from some the most influential artists in the scene. Over 40 exhibitions will be taking place across the city, many of which will be free!

Location: Various locations around Edinburgh

Website: edinburghartfestival.com

Edinburgh Fringe Festival (1st July- 25th August)

By now, everyone knows about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it is after all the world’s largest Arts Festival. With over 40,000 performances taking place in 250 venues across the city, you’ll need to put some time and thought into choosing the performances you want to see. Highlights this year include shows from Brendon Burns, Al Murray and George Galloway.

Location: Various locations around Edinburgh

Website: edfringe.com

International Book Festival (9th – 25th August)

If you want to attend a somewhat quieter and more relaxing festival in Edinburgh this August, the International Book Festival might be just what you’re looking for. Book lovers will congregate in the surrounds of Charlotte Square, and together they will celebrate the books they love and discuss the big issues of our time. It’s the perfect spot to spend an hour or two reading your favourite book.

Location: Charlotte Square

Website: edbookfest.co.uk

SKC Dog Show (23th – 24th August)

If you’re a dog lover, why not attend The Scottish Kennel Club Championship Show this August? The event will take place across 2 days at the Royal Highland Showground. On Saturday you’ll be treated to Working, Pastoral, Utility, Toy and Agility competitions. On Sunday there will be Gundog, Hound, Terrier, Obedience and Agility competitions to enjoy. Bring the whole family and make it an event to remember.

Location: Royal Highland Showground

Website: scottishkennelclub.org

Mela Festival (31st August –1st September)

The talent of Edinburgh’s ethnic minorities will be showcased during the Mela Festival. Prepare yourself for some Bhangra beats, family fun and delicious food. The festival manages to attract more than 20,000 visitors, and this year looks set to be no different. Don’t expect to be allowed to stand back and spectate however… you’ll be expected to join in on the fun!

Location: Leith Links

Website: edinburgh-mela.co.uk

Edinburgh Farmers’ Market (Every Saturday)

The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market has become an Edinburgh institution. Held every Saturday, and located a short walk from Apex International Hotel and Apex City Hotel, you’ll find a fantastic array of Scottish produce to tickle your taste buds.

Location: Castle Terrace, Edinburgh. EH1 2DP

Website: edinburghfarmersmarket.com

< BACK TO LISTING

Hamish's Blog - Day One & Two

Follow the adventures of a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games.

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London August 2014

Looking for things to do during your trip? Check out our What's On guide to London in July

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Dundee August 2014

Looking for things to do during your trip? Check out our What's On guide to Dundee in July.

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Edinburgh August 2014

Looking for things to do during your trip? Check out our What's On guide to Edinburgh in August

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