What an extraordinary week it has been in London.
It all started on a positive note for me when upon my arrival the heavens ceased dumping massive magnitudes of moisture all across the United Kingdom and decided that a well-deserved respite was in order.
Pleasingly the sun proceeded to engulf the city. London in the summer, with its ancient architecture, thriving metropolis and ever-present watering holes, is a captivating place. Everyone dispenses with the solemn moods that have accompanied them over the depressing winter months and embraces the warmth and the sunshine to the fullest. The locals gather in any sunspot, as any self-respecting cat might do, eager for their top-up of vitamin D.
The welcome pleasant backdrop provided the perfect canvas for a sublime performance from a group of determined visitors. The South Africans were sensational at The Oval with a unique and admirable individual from Natal being the trailblazer.
His triple century was stuff of legend and such is his attitude he quietly told me when we sat down for a one-on-one interview: "It was no big deal." To further emphasise that point he informed me that he wasn't certain how much of the knock his GP father, whom he credits for much of his progress, saw. He also added that his wife was shopping in London at the time he re-wrote the record books and said: "There is more to life than cricket."
He is a special man that Hashim Amla and I felt privileged to have witnessed his feat live. I purposely sought out the most spectacular vantage point on the top tier of the Roof Garden at the Vauxhall End to savour the moment. It will live with me for a long time.
I also had an opportunity to catch up with my good mate Neil Andrews as he took me on an educating 'Jack the Ripper Tour' for his new London-based show. The obligatory 'glass' followed the filming and we found an accommodating pub by the Thames. Chunky sipped on cider and ate quiche like a real man (ok... I made the quiche bit up) while I sampled the local golden neck oil.
Upon doing so we noticed something grabbing peoples’ attention underfoot. Chunky thought they were looking at his new shoes! On closer inspection we saw that on the ground, as a marketing tool, the Olympic organisers have distinctly painted the exact distance that Bob Beamon had jumped when he broke the long jump record in Mexico in 1968. It was a massive leap! A soar of 8.90 metres bought him gold that day and it took a further 23 years for that World Record to be beaten.
Chunky almost choked on his cider at the sight of it ... or was that the quiche?
Fast forward to the following morning and a brief chance interaction had me engrossed in conversation with a very pleasant Bob Beamon in my hotel foyer.
London is that sort of place. Things happen. Just ask Hashim.