The people of Leyton have had to make do without Drapers Field since September last year. A few acres of all weather football pitch and playing fields, it had the misfortune to be immediately adjacent to the Olympic Village and so was requisitioned by LOCOG "for operational reasons" to store toilet rolls and the like. Now all that remains is excess fencing and excess tarmac, as Waltham Forest prepare to take yet more months to turn the place into a better facility than before. Security guards no longer gaze intently if you linger at the end of Crownfield Road, but the park still hangs somewhat unwelcomely over these perimeter streets.
Direct pedestrian access from the east to Westfield has at last been opened up. You'd never guess from the blue sign that still directs those on foot via the previous loopy detour, but ignore that, walk up the direct pavement and you'll save five minutes. Penny Brookes Street is more a conduit for big-booted cars, even on a Sunday morning when most of the shops aren't even open. You can see hundreds of premature arrivals wandering the malls before noon, staring through the big stores' shuttered doors, wishing they'd stayed at home a bit longer.
At the northern end of Westfield an ice rink has appeared where Santa's house was last year, and Santa's house has reappeared alongside the station. Stratford International has returned to being a woefully overstaffed nomansland, even though it's now finally been connected to the public road network. A new road has opened, unimaginitively named International Way, which I appeared to be the only person using at the weekend. It's five and a half years since I first saw a road sign pointing towards this station, and only post-Olympics is this unwanted link finally possible.
The best views of Olympic Central are still from Montfichet Road, the street on stilts snaking down to the railway. Look, the wings on the Aquatic Centre are coming down. It's a slow process, but the steep seats have now been exposed sufficiently to create a wind tunnel from one end to the other. All the wrap's been removed from the exterior of the Olympic Stadium, as it sits there waiting for someone, anyone, to finally decide what to do with it. And the Orbit, probably still a year and a half off taking its next paying customer, stands inert and useless above a grey desert. One day, honest, it'll be amazing again around here. That day remains some way off.