THE CONTINENTAL VIEW by Theo Rebergen (a special Olympic edition)

I’M the blunt Dutchman trying to tell how the continentals see England and how we get on with life in these troublesome days.

If you missed the introduction last time, you can meet me on


I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! Covered by all the doom-and-gloom news about double dips, coalition divorces and hick ups during the 2012 preparation the Brits were up to something Great. The name Team GB should have given me a clue. The UK is in a gold rush and all the depressive news about the economy is surpressed for two weeks.

Yes we are jealous! Us continentals living in pure poverty, feeling ashamed about the mess we are in, thought the UK never would have the cash to pull off the Olympics in the glorious style as it unrolls in front of the TV cameras.

But again we should have known better; the Brits are World Champions in packing everything on their credit cards and maybe Sir Seb Coe has taken a 2nd mortgage on is house to cover the pothole in the Olympic budget. I read that the medals were made by the Royal Mint; hopefully they did not buy the raw material in Eastern Europe because the metal might come from English church roofs or from railway network cables.

Yes, we are jealous! logistics going smooth, no hassle at the airports, on public transport there are loads of seats available as commuters are staying at home working from their kitchen table. No strikes and even the English weather behaves untypical for British standards. The history lesson during the opening ceremony however was a bit difficult to digest for certain foreigners; the Chinese journalists kept asking where the NHS hotel is on Great Ormond Street and if 2012 is the number for a pork sweet and sour on the menu of the Olympic village main restaurant. The Indian team had an uninvited guest marching in with them but that is nothing new; once I invited an Indian friend for dinner and he brought his parents, grandparents and their neighbours. Having said this, I have seen the Dutch gate crashing for a free meal.

Yes we are jealous. No queues or fights at the entrance of the Olympic parks or stadiums, the grand stand constructions stand the weight of the 10.000ends of visitors and after some initial embarrassing problems all the stadiums are packed. The English even visit events they cannot win because they are not in it and they are still in the stadiums cheering when the cleaners are marching in long after the events have ended.

However even us continentals well up when we see the whole British nation out on the streets and in the parks celebrating one medal after the other and wearing British logos on every part of their body. Amazing (I hate this word) that the queen does not charge royalties for it. (does this sound funny?)

It is heart breaking to see BBC commentators crying their eyes out in front of the cameras, interviewing everybody who has ever been near an Olympic athlete or an Olympic horse.

I know every Bradley Wiggins family member, his teacher from kinder garden and the name of the midwife who helped him on this earth. (did she put him straight on a bike?).

I am not happy with him anyhow, cause he nicked the Tour De France from the Dutch cyclists (we came nr. 112) but also did not have the decency to let a German tourist win the time trial. Very selfish!

Yes we are jealous. In the athletics we Dutch should not have even bothered to show up, our sailing boats seem to have sails with holes in it, our racing bikes have the gears only working in reverse and in the men’s- 8 in rowing boats, we only have 7 rowers due to austerity measures. Luckily we won our hockey match against the Germans so we can use the Autobahns to go on holidays without being hassled by German motorists.

So for us continentals, let this all be over soon and end our misery. Than the Brits can proudly go on holidays and maybe follow my fancy route to Italy.

You will find the 1st half of the trip on the last column or on one of my websites ; I will continue the trip in the next column. That’s all for this Olympic special; also the local Olympic park in Eastbourne is brilliantly organised so I take my Dutch/German/French/Italian/Spanish pick-nick and watch on the mega screen how the Brits keep foraging medals as mushrooms in the woods. Yes, I am …………….!

See you, Au revoir, Hasta La Vista, Auf Wiedersehen, Arrivederci, Tot Ziens!