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Wednesday, August 29, 2012


as part of my enjoying the olympic spirit i had planned to go to the paralympic torch relay.
the official map was much less complicated than the one they had for the olympic relay - due in part to the fact it was only going to be on for a day and because it was a fairly straight forward route - none of the crisscrossing that the olympic torch did.

i had chosen my spot. i knew roughly what time i needed to be there.
then the radio reported they were a couple of hours behind schedule.
and it started to rain.

mmm a new plan needed.
checked out the live video feed (the only sounds that could be heard were the cheering of the crowds and the police and organisers arranging and sorting things).
i could see they were miles away. no need to rush.

i do some other stuff.

they get to museum of london and that is when i decide it is time to make a move to tower hill.
i make the mistake of going for a bus. traffic is jammed up (of course it is the torch relay is delaying it - how dumb am i? - no need to answer that).

i help a russian bloke make a decision about how to get to tower hill - go by docklands light railway, i tell him. will get you there much sooner than the bus will.

i decide to walk.
set out at a fair old pace. clippity cloppity through the back passages of the east end to get me to tower hill.
work up a bit of a sweat, also getting damp in the drizzle.
i get there.
bugger me the relay had picked up its pace since it left the museum of london and it had gone by.
can't be far though as i can see people are still on tower bridge with their noisemakers and some film crews are putting their cameras away.

a cheer goes up. they are at city hall. sorted. no problem. at tooley street i can see the support vehicles. there is a bit of wait. and then the relay team move into view.
the crowd isn't massive but there is a fair few there. lots of cheers and claps. people follow the torch relay as it progress up tooley street and then along jamaica road. films being shot, videos being made, photos being taken. noise made, cheers going up, clapping echoing.
the crowd moves along with the relay - gaining new people, losing some. support for the relay is fulsome, loud and happy.
no one really cares about the drizzle.

a handover point is coming up, the kiss as it is being called, as one team of five pass the flame to the next team of five. everything stops. more film, video and photos - capturing just a little bit of history. more noise, cheers and claps.
it is all done and the new five move off.

i follow them for a little bit more and then watch them go.

it was a heartwarming experience.

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