For a time it seemed that the media were determined to find fault with the Olympics, despite the programme being delivered on time and ahead of schedule.

There is still some sniping, for instance about unsold seats - although the fault appears to lie not with commercial sponsors (whose support, let's remember, is needed to fund the games in the first place), but with countries not using their allocations.

But the Opening Ceremony on Friday night marked the turning point, where at last the media admitted that something fantastic was underway.

I rushed back from my public meeting in Hassocks to watch it all on the TV.  I wish I'd been there, but I've managed to buy tickets for two evening events next week, and I can't wait.

People were wondering if London could pull off an opening ceremony to match the scale of the Beijing Olympics.  So the ambition, creativity and scale of our own event was a source of huge national pride.

I thought it brilliantly captured the things which define our Britishness: our history and heritage, rooted in the countryside but forged in the industrial revolution; our culture, both classic and contemporary; our music; our humour; our popular heroes - real and fictional (007 being the most notable), and our institutions, ancient and modern.

And, yes, I do think that the NHS is one of those defining institutions.  So I didn't agree with criticism of the event, though those voices seemed to be in a small minority.

The next day I was at Arundel cricket ground and was struck by how people were taking about the opening ceremony.  Enthusiasm seemed to be universal and across all generations.  One local businessman who had been there - not a Brit himself - was effusive in his praise, saying that he thought it reflected brilliantly on our country.

And now we're cheering for Team GB and hoping to replicate or even beat our amazing Beijing tally of 47 medals, where we came fourth in the league table.

I'm thrilled that my constituent Tina Cook has won a silver medal alongside Zara Phillips and the rest of her team in the equestrian three-day eventing.  Our athletic stars inspire us and make us proud to be British.  Good luck to them all!

Christopher N Howarth