Well that's it, the cat is out the bag and our stall has been set out to the world, the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games has come and gone and now it's time for the athletes to make their countries proud.
If I was to say it received mixed reviews I may be understating things, like the fickle Scots we are, we cried, we laughed, we hated it, we loved it and in the end many people felt that Braveheart moment rising in their chest when the overriding emotion turned from horror to pride.
My own journey to the Opening Ceremony began on Monday night when I joined a few other #Team14 bloggers to watch the dress rehearsal. We were sworn to secrecy until now about anything we saw in order to keep the surprise, so this is a little bit about the preparations and my own thoughts on the Ceremony.
After going to Celtic Park on Monday I decided to take the opportunity last night to relax with family In Glasgow and enjoy the event as it unfolded on TV. I had been out driving in the city just before it started and apart from noisy pockets of people around Glasgow Green and the city centre, the roads and streets were eerily quiet. My Twitter feed almost came to a stop and it was as if the city and the people were holding their breath in unison and silent anticipation.
The storm after the calm began with a flurry of campness, twee, dancing Tunnocks teacakes and an overload of angry outpouring on social media. Everyone's worst fears had come true, we were confirming to the world that we are tartan wearing, haggis munching, Nessie hunting, whisky drinking numpties and we were doing it in the most tacky fashion imaginable.
I have mixed feelings about the intro and have to admit that when I first saw it I secretly hoped someone had spiked my Irn Bru but watching it for a second time confirmed that it had not been a bad Scottish hallucinogenic trip and this was in fact the Opening Ceremony.
I understand it was meant to be tongue in cheek, a self-parody, an attempt at humour but it just didn't work for me. While a few people did love it (including those in my household), like many others I was thinking that we had blown our chance to break free from a stereotype and show the world that Scotland is a modern, innovative and progressive country with alot to offer.
Having said that...in all the uproar few picked up on the very significant moment of a gay kiss. If one good thing came out of the intro it was that message, the message that Scotland embraces equality. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act is one of the most progressive in the world and with homosexuality currently punishable by prison sentences in 42 out of 54 Commonwealth nations a kiss between two men at a Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony was a very symbolic moment.
Next to come underfire was poor SuBo, not her best performance but then is that not why we love her? We support her as the inspirational underdog that constantly overcomes barriers to succeed. In the dress rehearsals she sounded beautiful but unfortunately last night her nerves seemed to take hold and her stumbled rendition of Mull of Kintyre came at the tail end of the shortbread tin nightmare and things looked to be rapidly going downhill.
Queue Scottish ballet to save the day! This was one of my personal highlights, a beautiful, moving moment and suddenly things started to pick up. Red arrows, a message from space and a Calvin Harris/Andy Stewart mash up and the Twitter tide was starting to turn. 'We like it, forget the first half hour and this might be ok' was the general consensus.
Energetic volunteer cast members carried out carefully rehearsed routines and welcomed country after country into the stadium. Scottie dogs paraded along as fast as their wee hairy legs could could manage and won the heart of viewers around the world. I'm sure entrepreneurs all over Scotland today are churning out iconic Scottie dog merchandise as quickly as they can.
However, the biggest test was yet to come as the time to welcome the home nation grew near and one thing was on everyone's mind, that outfit! After all the good work that had been achieved in the last hour was it now going to be undone as our sporting heroes became the laughing stock of the world dressed as brightly coloured tartan eejits?
Cue Team Scotland to a blast of confetti and thunderous cheers and wow didn't they look fab! I was not a big fan of the blue/caramel combo in the beginning but on the night it looked spectacular and the mainly positive reaction on Twitter was a far cry from the earlier condemnation.
Suddenly we allowed ourselves to feel a little bit of pride, we remembered that we are Scottish and people expect us to be dressed in tartan and kilts and we discovered in the right circumstances we can pull tartan off in any colour combination!
As the stadium settled again with the oaths read out and a touching tribute to the victims of the Malaysian airline disaster we were informed of the ambitious legacy for children in the Commonwealth that the Games wanted to achieve. Sir Chris Hoy and James McAvoy urged everyone watching to unite in a single ground breaking moment to donate £5 by text to Unicef's Children of the Commonwealth Fund. On writing this post £3.1 million has already been raised and with Glasgow known for it's generosity, it seemed quite fitting that this pioneer fundraising idea took place here and reinforces the legacy vision that the Games want to provide not just for Glasgow but the wider global community.
Fresh from it's Commonwealth journey the Queen's Baton arrived and with the soothing Gaelic tones of Julie Fowlis the stadium took on a very magical aura as the baton was passed between volunteers (including one of my fellow #Team14 bloggers, Paula McGuire and my Woodend lawn bowls tutor, Tom Hamilton) before reaching an emotional looking Sir Chris Hoy.
As the Scottish sporting hero completed the relay I was a mixture of goosebumps, pride and leaky eyes, this is how I wanted my country to be seen and I know I wasn't alone in my sentimental feelings.
Not only a sporting hero, the calm Sir Hoy gallantly saved the day as all good knights should by assisting in opening up the tricky baton. In that moment our sporting hero became our national hero and for me in one unrehearsed moment he also personified the best qualities of a Scot. Kilted, brave, humble, proud, helpful, emotional, generous, kind, dignified and humourous, what a phenomenal ambassador for our country.
In true Scotland sporting fashion, when against all odds, we somehow managed to snatch a victory in the dying moments and we can selectively forget what went before and choose to bask in our glory instead.
Saying that I met a wee Glasgow man in the park this morning while walking my dog who asked me if i had 'watched that rubbish on the telly last night?', you'll never please everyone!
What did you think, hit or miss? Embarrassed or proud?
Some Twitter Highlights
Last night I was entertained just as much by Twitter as by the event itself, so I thought it only appropriate that I end my blog with some other people's thoughts on the night!
At the beginning of June I was chosen as one of the official bloggers for the XX Commonwealth Games that will be held in Glasgow from 23rd July to 3rd August 2014.