Last night’s big surprise, the stunning Olympic cauldron, was designed by Thomas Heatherwick who was also responsible for what has already become a London icon, the new Routemaster bus.
Heatherwick responded to Mayor Boris Johnson’s plea for a 21st century redesign  of the old Routemaster double-deckerer. The previous mayor, Ken Livingstone, had brought in horrible linked single-decker contraptions that were universally hated and totally unsuited to London’s narrow roads. They have all now been sold off and good riddance to them.
The Olympic cauldron is a masterpiece of design and symbolism. The mysterious copper petals, one for every team in the games, had been carried to the stadium by individual team members. They were then paraded with the athletes before being fitted to the ends of the 204 pipes. In a masterpiece of staging, the pipes then rose into the air to create what must surely be the most dazzling home for the Olympic flame ever devised.
 Curiously, my cousin also submitted a Routemaster design which I thought was excellent. It couldn’t compete with Thomas Heatherwick’s masterpiece, though.