Friday 27 July 2012

The Olympic torch

It's travelled all around Britain for the last 70 days, in a relay involving 8000 torch-bearers, each one chosen for their inspirational contribution in some sphere of society. 
People have travelled for hours, camped and queued patiently for a glimpse of it. People other than me, that is. Yesterday as the torch arrived in London for its final leg before being deposited at the Olympic stadium, Younger Daughter and I literally drove right into its path quite by accident. 
Dropping her off to meet friends for a movie, we turned into a road lined with people waiting patiently, flags and cameras ready, and were brought to a halt  in the middle of the road here, in front of the BBC television studios ...

The torch was two minutes away, they said. Some people were being inventive in finding vantage points for a good view ...

This friendly bobby (below) laughed and shook his head at me through the car window, "You've chosen the worst possible time to come along this road!" Actually, I thought, for an idiot who hadn't thought to check the news or traffic reports, my timing was pretty perfect.

On cue, the advance escort came along, driving slowly ...

followed by the torch-bearer at a jog ...

I could have reached out to touch the torch, only this bloke had a don't-mess-with-me look on his face ...

and seconds later it was gone, smaller than I'd imagined, but a sleek, shiny , pretty thing nonetheless

And see how the sun was shining for a change! They say that this summer in Britain has been like the Olympic torch - it's visited each town in the country for about half an hour. (I hear the torch has been extinguished more often than one likes to admit during the ongoing downpours of the last couple of months).

How has Britain felt about hosting the games? This article in the New York Times made me laugh in recognition - an American view of the way Londoners are using the Olympics to indulge in "practising some of their own favourite sports: complaining, expecting the worst and cursing the authorities". Too true, though the atmosphere in these crowds yesterday told a more upbeat story.

I know I'm going to be glued to the telly tonight for what should be a spectacular opening ceremony. Happy games watching.


  1. Lovely close up photos. I'm getting quite caught up in the whole thing, rather against my original intentions.
    Daughter's boss is playing at the opening ceremonies.
    And the sun shone yesterday!
    I do hope the whole thing is a terrific success.
    Was talking about you with Frances yesterday.....mostly about Prague.

    1. Well, it's certainly started off on a high, so lets hope it continues to be a great success. After watching last night's ceremony I'm feeling really proud to be half-British!

  2. Here's another coincidence. As I read your post and saw the torch runner up close thanks to your magnificent photographs, I heard the BBC radio report of the opening ceremony. Radio 4.

    I worked today, and will again tomorrow and Sunday, but do hope to catch some of the live tv action in between shifts at the shop.


    1. I hope you get to watch a recording of the ceremony, Frances - the visuals are not to be missed.

  3. Well that was a happy accident Karen - camera always at the ready! Do you carry a spare in the glove compartment?

    I was pretty detached from the whole torch thing but like you, I happened upon it by accident on my way home from work a few weeks ago. The torch was being paraded in Glasgow by the Scottish actor James McAvoy. It was interesting to watch crowds of people waving at a torch. In fairness to the actor, he was on home turf, so he took his time with the crowd and stopped awhile with many of the onlookers - allowing photographs to be taken with him and talking to some of their friends on their mobiles. My vantage point wasn't quite as excellent as yours, and at the crucial moment my camera battery died but I managed to get some not so great pics with my mobile phone.

    I watched the opening ceremony tonight and I thought it was outstanding! From start, to finish, I simply loved it! Had little doubt it would good given that Danny Boyle was at the helm - just excellent!

    1. A spare camera in the glove compartment is a great idea. Actually I was just cursing the fact that I didn't have a camera when my daughter handily fished one out of her handbag!
      Now James McAvoy - that would have been a treat!
      Totally agree with you about last night's ceremony which exceeded all my expectations. And great to see the we're-so-crap-at-everything attitude replaced with a kind of stunned national pride for a change :)

  4. WOW Stupendous on-the-spot shots Karen!
    After readomg the NYTimes moaning aticle (they have their own agenda too methinks) I skipped over to The Daily Mail mentioned and nearly lost the day reading their enticing trash in the sidebar.
    Katie's up, Madoanna's down, Justin's bonding, Charlize is fuming,Rhianna zizzles.
    What Olympics?

    1. Haha, nothing like a bit of trashy DM showbiz gossip for light relief :)

  5. What's that saying? It's better to be born lucky than smart?

    What a fab photo, and it was sheer dumb luck, you say!
    Enjoy the whole spectacle, this is the British Summer for spectacle, after all!
    Loved the post ---


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