Filled with pride yet full of sighs, looks like we actually have to say goodbye to the Olympics

The Olympics arrived for many like in-laws visiting, taking over plans and being a bigger intrusion on your time than you'd really like. The hipster bravado made many treat it as if it were an unwelcome distraction, a sideshow to the summer run by the establishment for the establishment.

Rather than embrace everything about it, the initial welcome was frosty to say the least and admitting to being excited about watching the Olympic flame go through your locality was the credibility equivalent of someone opening your secret cupboard to find a Cliff Richard collection and an assortment of Princess Diana memorabilia.

Those were the kind of people the Olympics were for, not us normal folk who wear skinny jeans and know what a latte is. Embarrassing jingoism and Union jack car flags would be met with people making jokes about The Germans and criticisng sports they weren't automatically familiar with.

The nation would be an embarrassment and those who had remained cynical from the start would see their predictions of chaos and doom realised with a wry yet knowing 'I hate to say I told you so, but...'.

If the Olympics were meant to show modern Britain for what it truly is then the weeks before did that, criticism, cynicism, fear and apathy. We've become good at that.

But then something happened, the opening ceremony captured some but there was a stronger and deeper emotion growing in many. They laughed at things that would normally make them angry, let pedestrians cross the road with a smile which was returned, looked at others and wondered if they were in that place, in the same emotion.

Great Britain was falling in love and not just with the Olympics but with itself. A country which had become so used to and practised at self loathing was shaking off all that dust and reasling that we're a bit of alright. We looked good on the dance floor and were increasingly happy to strut our stuff.

And then the gold came, and boy did it come. It's easy to say it wouldn't really matter but it was akin to falling in love with someone who had the added bonus of beauty, and they loved us back too. The screams from fans in the stadium or sat at home on the sofa were met with the same response from the athletes.

Tears saw tears, huge beaming smiles were mirrored back, agony and despair were understood, shock was shared, this was being done together. We were together, we had become Great Britain. And for once, there was nothing embarrassing in that, there was no shame in running around the kitchen shouting about a rowing gold or telling Rebecca Adlington through the medium of TV that she hadn't let anyone down, she was our hero, she was ours. There was no cringing at people wearing any red or blue they could find, it just lifted things a little more. 

The wave that we were all riding was so high and fast that nobody wanted to think about getting off it, but as the end got nearer it became harder to ignore and the Olympics ending was actually going to happen. The final few days have been like a land grab with people who have become addicts getting the last bits of it they could and sitting on the edge of their seats watching two countries they'd never visited battle it out in a final or scream on a British girl we'd never heard of in the modern pentathlon, a sport we didn't really understand - but what did that matter?

The TV crews were packing up and telling us about it, showing pictures of their kit piled up outside, all ready to go. It hurt, it was like being a child on the last few days of a summer holiday and seeing your mum packing the suitcase. Why Mum? That can wait, we're still on holiday.

But then it can't wait any more, that suitcase needs packing, and although we look forward to the Paralympics filled with pride and determined to host the best one ever, we're saying goodbye to something we hope we never forget. 

From being an unwelcome guest for many, when that door finally shuts, when that suitcase is zipped shut, we'll feel it as an emotion. Because for all the Olympics has brought us this summer, emotion is the main thing, we've been Great Britain but just a bit, well, Greater. 

This was penned by Annie Eaves, she's on Twitter  

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