It's getting close, the eagerly anticipated opening ceremony of the Olympics is around the corner and for those of us involved in the Paralympics that follows in a few weeks' time means a stream of correspondence and preparatory paperwork needs to be addressed.
With security a huge issue at all major sporting events, the process of submitting personal details for clearance is well under way. Access to the games is controlled by a photo identification pass referred to in Olympic/Paralympic family speak as 'accreditation'.
Without this 20x13 cm piece of laminated card hanging round your neck on a branded lanyard you don't exist – and access will be denied! As well as gaining access to the sporting venues, accommodation and restricted zones, the accreditation acts as a meal ticket in the food halls and as a travel card for use on public transport around the capital. Apart from the fear of losing such an important item you also run the risk of injury as a sudden gust of wind can make your accreditation come to life, and why is it that it's always the sharp edge that sticks in your face?
The International Paralympic Committee issue a two-page document advising on what kind of picture is suitable and acceptable as photo ID for your pass. No hats, no dark glasses, no side-on model-style pouting, no hair over the face, and most interestingly – no smiling!
Call me old-fashioned but at the biggest sporting show on earth, where family values, sportsmanship, integration and fun are key characteristics, why do I pose a security threat by daring to crack a smile and show some teeth? After all I am just happy to be part of it and I am sure I will be smiling throughout the majority of the games and looking nothing like my rather glum photograph, except when in the queues for security checks...