For two weeks, scepticism was replaced by enthusiasm

So, it’s finally over. Four years of planning and building and three weeks of over-excited commentators trying not to swear live on air and the Olympics are done and dusted.

I don’t know about anyone else but I am pretty amazed we didn’t mess it up.

In fact, far from being the embarrassing disaster many gloomy newspaper columnists predicted, it was inarguably a huge success.

The usual helping of British scepticism was replaced by a frenzy of flag-waving supporters, in London or in their front rooms, surprising themselves by their enthusiasm.

“What could this feeling in the pit of my stomach be?”, they ask themselves, “It’s not? It can’t be? National pride?”

The fact we came third in the medal tables really was the icing on the already very appetising Olympic cake.

When it comes to watching sport, I would usually prefer to stick pins in my eye for entertainment and, after missing the opening ceremony completely, I had no intention of paying any attention to it whatsoever.

The only impact I anticipated the Games would have on my humble existence was the fact that I would have to watch EastEnders on BBC2.

It was actually my 12-year-old daughter who first insisted we had a little look at what was going on on the Beeb a few days into London 2012.

We happened to catch the start of the rowing race that saw British women Heather Stanning and Helen Glover win Team GB’s first gold medal.

The goosebumps and lump in my throat took me by surprise as the whole nation watched the pure emotion spill out from the girls’ faces as they raced across the finishing line and their incredible achievement began to sink in.

And that was it. I joined the rest of the nation in being gripped by Olympic fever.

With so much conflict in the world, how refreshing to see (almost all) the countries in the world united in sport.

And a real celebration of the diversity of the UK to boot, with Somalian refugee Mo Farah running for a double gold victory in the 5,000m and 10,000m, becoming the first British athlete to win both medals and providing the Games with the perfect fairytale ending.

Whether or not it will “inspire a generation” remains to be seen, and greatly depends on how the Government decides to capitalise on the potential to do so.

After her race, Heather Stanning told waiting reporters that she had only decided to take up rowing four years ago and always aimed high, with the hope of one day having an Olympic medal round her neck.

She said: “It just goes to show that if you work hard enough for something, anything is possible.”

And ultimately, I think that is the message many young people will take from these games.

Not necessarily to make like Bolt and take up running (although I’m sure many will) but that if you are prepared to work for what you want, your dreams can become reality.

Food is very much on my mind at the moment. Like perhaps 80 per cent of the female population between the ages of 16 and 90, I am on a diet.

In preparation for an imminent holiday and also just because I feel like getting thin for a bit, I have ditched eating anything vaguely tasty in favour of bland and boring food, like rice cakes (don’t be deceived by the word “cake” word – these bland crisp-wannabes couldn’t satisfy an anorexic supermodel), spinach (or boiled bogeys as my daughter likes to call them), celery (damn healthy but disgusting) and all the wonderful foods that fall into the uninspiring category of “fruit”.

I have now become the bored and hungry 10 year old who moans at their mother (now long-suffering friends) that “I’m hungry”, only to get the disappointing reply: “Have an apple.”

And whether you’re 10 or 30, it’s just hard to get excited about an apple.