I must say I have rather surprised myself this week. It all dates back some seven years when London was awarded (as it was put then) the 2012 Olympic Games. I was disappointed as I felt sure this would cost me and my fellow countrymen dearly, both in terms of hard cash and in reputation. Well, I have to take back what I said. Certainly the preparation and staging of the Games has been expensive but, despite hitches, everything was ready on time and the stories I am hearing of how friendly and welcoming London is to visitors from across the world show England in a light completely different from the usual view of gloomy, grumpy, grey people. The television coverage will have shown London in sparkling sunshine and with landmarks and tourist attractions looking positively inviting. It should do wonders for the tourist trade.
And the Games themselves. I have been quite caught up in the euphoria of all the gold falling around the necks of our athletes and have sat watching sports of many types, from water polo to dressage, from beach volleyball to cycling. We might be lying just third in the medal table but we are way ahead if one compares the ratio of gold to millions of population.
It has also been a pleasant surprise to hear our athletes, when interviewed after winning their medals, able to string several words together and form proper sentences unpunctuated with "like" or "you know". They have been amazingly modest and seemingly very likeable people.
All in all it has made me proud to be British.