Monday, July 16

unashamedly touched by the torch

The Olympic torch was carried through nearby Blandford Forum
and with a completely open mind as to whether we should/shouldn't
be hosting The Games or spending the overspent budget
I went to watch, deliberately not taking my camera because so often I record stuff
rather than actually seeing it and this time,
I didn't want to live the moment vicariously through post-event pictures.

Blandford is a genteel and slightly down-at-heel Georgian market town
with a wealth of exquisite architecture if you look up
and an ecclectic community mix of young mums with pushchairs,
retired hippies and elderly Ladies in de rigeur hats and gloves.
The charity shops are always well stocked, there's some fabulous
craft shops, boutiques and coffee houses and
oddly enough for a small town, Boots the Chemist have
three separate shops. . .but I digress.

The pavements were awash with hordes of flag waving fanfare blowing
generally jovial crowds, shopkeepers stood in their doorways
keeping half an eye on the procession/half an eye on customers inside,
the flouro-clad Torch Bearer Officials were laughing and joking and the
generous battalion of police riding motorbikes decked with
Union flags, waved and played to the crowd- baiting the
whistle blowers with siren replies until the cacophony reached fever pitch.

Office windows above shops were crammed with sightseers,
wide-eyed schoolchildren waved touchingly handmade flags
nobody attempted to push in front of the disabled and elderly seated by the kerb
and Special Constables said "please" when they asked pedestrians not to stand
in the middle of a road unaccountably still open to through traffic.

Then, timed to perfection as the cavalcade began,
the rain fell and in a stoic show of Britishness,
no-one dared to hoist an umbrella. . .
motorbikes, police cars, baton twirlers, Tour Cars and Busses,
huge motorised Coca-Cola bottles carrying bands and dancers
and Help-for-Heroes runners almost hiding a slim girl carrying the torch aloft-
waving, running, laughing, the flame almost diminished by the brightness
of her proud smile, capable in that moment of lighting up the whole world!

The cheers were deafening.
In a time of such economic gloom, of hardship and lost hope
and the wettest summer ever,
people stood shoulder-to-shoulder hurrah-ing their hearts out,
 and children would always remember the day they saw the Olympic Torch
carried through Blandford Forum.

It sounds corny even for a slushy sentimentalist such as me
but I'm not ashamed to say my face felt damp as I walked away. . .
and it wasn't just the  rain

ps thanks to my very organised friend Colleen I'm going to see
the Olympic dressage at Greenwich Park.
Please please PLEASE don't let it rain that day!!!


Sue said...

What a lovely post. You're so very elequent for so early in the morning.

It's something we are very good at in this country - patriotism when it matters.

Sue xx

KC'sCourt! said...

Wonderful post - you summed it up so well. As Sue above says we do Patriotism so well, and I agree with that!

Now I must visit Blandford - been once but only to the Steam Fayre!
Julie xxxxxxxx

Annie said...

Lovely post, your description of the flame coming through town sounds just the same as the day I stood and watched it come through Northampton. It was just as wet but I guess the surroundings not quite as attractive.
Ann x

Maria said...

Here, Here!
I agree, I was delighted with this post, as you say we do it so well...
Can't wait for them to start.
It is defiantly our year in old blighty....
My son has just been notified of his selection in the paralympic's....
Soo am over the moon!!
Bring on the games!!
Maria x

nilly said...

My face is wet with tears too! We're just back from our first proper trip to Dorset/Somerset. We loved it so much we're sad to be home.

lettice leaf said...

Top spot on the rostrum for you... Lovely post!


Jane said...

I felt much the same when the torch came through here - it's touching to see so many people involved and excited especially when life's so dreary at the moment. Last Wednesday we went to see the Queen in Worcester - only two brief glimpses but it was just nice to be a part of it and see so many happy people.
Very envious about the dressage - hope they put some of it on TV.

delia hornbook said...

You have such a magical way with words. A beautiful post i pray it doesn't rain for your horse event. dee x

Sherri B. said...

Your description is better than any photo, in my mind I'm right there too. What a grand event for your town, something to remember always, with a big smile. xo

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for sharing that! So moving!

OhSoVintage said...

It was really interesting to read this. Whenever I see the crowds flocking to see the torch on the news I always think 'I don't get it, why would you want to see a torch?' but having read your account then I have to concede that you have to be there in amongst all the atmosphere of being British to understand fully.
Ruth x

elegancemaison said...

I'm so glad that you also were moved by the Olympic torch relay. Coincidentally when it came through Salisbury, I stood next to a couple who also had tickets to the dressage event at Greenwich. What a wonderful setting you will have to watch the event!

VintageWantsNotNeeds said...

My sister works withg adults with learning disabilities and the torch went right past her place of work. One of the young ladies there was determined to get a touch of it and managed it with the biggest beam on her face. It certainly does seem to be touching everyone on its journey.

Menopausalmusing said...

So beautifully written Elaine. This is such a year for our country....

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