The Olympic Torch Relay was in Manchester yesterday and just down the road from me in Ashton today. It seemed like the sort of ‘on your doorstep’ opportunity I shouldn’t miss out on and so I took myself down to the route at about 9 o’clock this morning. I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be or how long it would take me to park. As it happened there were only a few people about and I got parked in a side street just off the route.
|The view through my windscreen|
I sat in my van for about an hour reading, dodging the rain, and watching more people arrive. Just after 10am the torch was due to begin its journey from Ashton so I got out and joined the mixed bunch of people at the roadside (a man with a pint and a small child, a woman with a chihuahua tucked down the top of her coat, a lady who had just arrived back from holiday to find her street lined with a welcoming committee).
|The crowd increases|
|These guys had a good view from
We had a few false alarms when convoys of police cars and bikes trailed down the road, but no torch. Then a few buses and trucks came decorated with marketing slogans for Coca-Cola and Lloyd’s TSB, dancing troops on board, and loud music.
Finally the torch bearer appeared at the end of the road surrounded by official cars and trucks. It was quite difficult to see and even more difficult to get a photo. I’d expected to have a clear view of the torch bearer as he walked down the road towards me and as he carried on past me, but in reality it was only a couple of seconds as he was level with me that I could get a clear view.
For some reason the police hadn’t closed the road and only stopped the traffic when the torch bearer actually reached the road. The cars in one lane were all stopped where they were and in the lane in which the torch bearing convoy was travelling the cars were only briefly stopped, to give a clear passage to the offical convoy.
|And finally …|
Once the torch had gone past it was all over and people quickly moved on. I think it could have been done a lot better but I’m glad I’ve seen it and for the time the torch was passing the rain held off. Although this is the first time I’ve seen the torch relay, I have seen the Olympic Flame once before, twenty years ago at the Barcelona Olympics. Maybe I’ll get to see it again in another twenty years?