Saturday 14 July 2012

Is it a bird, is it a flame...

...that's right, it's a flame, an Olympic one no less, which came through Wareham this afternoon. Not before the official sponsors though. First ('Gold' sponsorship, no doubt) came Coca Cola, to remind us of the close relationship between elite sport and fizzy drinks. Silver went to Samsung, for where would the Olympic spirit be without consumer electronics. Lloyds TSB plumped for Bronze, not wanting to appear flash and hoping that the feelgood factor would rub off on us so much that we would forget how they and their kind almost bankrupted the entire state. Good luck with that, guys.

Coca Cola: carbonated sugary drink of champions
My kids seemed under-whelmed with this convoy, perhaps remembering the motorcade which preceded Le Tour de France when it came through our village in Kent a few years ago. This was bigger, faster, and, as it passed, threw keyrings, hats and other dangerously sharp bits of tat in their little faces at high velocity, which they thought was cool. I told them they should be grateful that the sponsors didn't throw Coke tins, tellies and IOUs off the backs of the lorries today.
Stilts on this blog would normally be of the Black-winged variety but this guy was wearing them, and blowing a whistle to stimulate excitement in the crowd.
Then a bus turned up and a lady got off with the torch: a rare and moving sight for everyone, particularly those old enough to remember the 1948 London Olympics - the last time anyone had seen a bus in rural Dorset (ba-dum ching!). Men on stilts with whistles whipped up the crowd, and thrifty townsfolk waved their recycled Diamond Jubilee Union Jacks. A nice change from the pitchforks we usually wave at anything down from London.

Aaah! It's gone out!
The torch, to my dismay, appeared to have gone out, but no one except me seemed bothered. The bearer hung around outside the Co-op and it eventually became clear that she was waiting for a lit torch to arrive. I naively thought that 'the Torch relay' meant there was only one which got passed around but apparently there are loads, and the upstanding folk whose good works and civic deeds have earned them the honour of being a Torchbearer get to keep their one. A nice touch amid the corporate cant. In fact, if you ignored the whole sponsorship lark, and concentrated on the flame and what it stands for - purity, the pursuit of perfection, peace and friendship - even a cynic like me could appreciate it coming to town.

Phew, someone found a match.
After all the excitement, there was nothing for it but a walk around Swineham Gravel Pits this evening to calm down. Luckily, there was absolutely nothing there to get my pulse racing, a Marsh Harrier being about the only thing preventing me from describing it as utterly birdless.

The Torch arrived by bus. A rare treat for Dorset. The bus, that is.
As I write I am in the doghouse for not joining the rest of the family on Wareham Quay for post-Torch bouncy-castles, live music, and beer-swilling 'fun'. No, I'm at home watching British medal hopes on TV doing athletics, which I love, at Crystal Palace. So how come it's me that's 'not getting into the spirit of the Games'?

Is it just me or does anyone else think a one-eyed bottle-opener is a strange choice of mascot for 2012?

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