Friday, 29 June 2012

Olympic torch comes and goes along the Derby Road

For a few minutes this morning Lenton played host to the Olympic torch, as it came from Nottingham Castle via Castle Boulevard and Lenton Boulevard before turning onto Derby Road and going past Lenton Recreation Ground and the end of my road — which is where I decided to wait. I decided that the best I could do was simply to take a few pics and try and tell a little 'Olympic torch' story about how I saw 'the moment' for, in truth, it was not much more than that. My camera dates and times all my pics, so I have used this information to show the time I took my pics this morning.

8.24am. As I stepped out of Devonshire Promenade and onto the Derby Road there were these two police motorcyclists in the middle of the road. The traffic was stopped at 7.30pm.

8.25am. I walked up to the corner of Gloucester Avenue and took this pic of the small crowd beginning to gather outside the Derby Road Health Centre. The police motorcyclist was from Leicestershire.

8.28am. Harry, Lenton's road sweeper, lives in Lenton and is based in Lenton Recreation Ground. He is well known among local residents and much respected. He told me that he had been at the Derby Road end of Gloucester Avenue since 6.30am and was blocking off the road with his barrow because there were not enough road cones.  

8.29am. Compare this pic with one I posted of the same scene on Monday just gone, when I was having a rant about rubbish. The front garden now looks like a small country meadow. What a difference an Olympic torch can make — can we have one in Lenton every day please?

8.30am. A few of the permanent residents on the north side of the Derby Road had got out their easy chairs to get a good view of the torch. When the torch actually went by it was such a scrum that I suspect their view was rather restricted.

8.30am.  No sooner had I taken the pic of the ladies in their easy chairs when this small bus came around the corner, followed by blaring speakers on the blue Samsung truck behind.

8.31am. Then came another corporate sponsor with more loud music handing out bottles of their tooth rotting soft drink. This is the side of the Olympic I hate. This kind of thing makes a mockery of the claim that the Olympics is about ordinary people. Perhaps, in truth, people see through this crude and nasty commercialism.

8.32am.  Next came a bank, whose young stooges appeared to be acting as cheerleaders on wheels, then the yellow coach behind briefly stopped and …

8.33am …off got a lonely torch bearer and from nowhere a small crowd began to gather around him.

8.35am.  Unfortunately I do not know his name, but during the few minutes he was standing here (the traffic lights behind are at the Derby Road junction with Lenton Boulevard) he posed for numerous photographs like this and the pleasure people got from holding the torch and having the pic taken was palpable and, without doubt, the best part of the few minutes the torch was in Lenton and a few yards from my home.

8.44am. As you can see from the time, the waiting torch bearer was waiting for a full twelve minutes, but after what seemed an age, the now familiar converted horse-box carrying the mobile TV camera crew came into view and with it, a large crowd too.

8.45am.  At this point trying to take a pic of the actual handover, as the torch passed from one  carrier to the next, was not easy as people with cameras (like me) pushed forward. Somehow I held my camera up high with one hand and pointed it in the general direction of the handover. I am amazed that you cannot see all the bodies surrounding me at this moment.

8.46am.   Then he was off…

8.46am.  …and before the minute was out he was gone, and that was the end of it and this was my last pic. I did look around to see if I could perhaps catch the young women in the wheelchair, but she had already gone, no doubt whisked away by Olympic minders so that the immediate focus would remain on the man with the torch.

In a sense not knowing their names captures the spirit of the occasion. They and all the other torch bearers are representative of countless other good folk who make life in our neighbourhoods a lot better with acts of quiet, unsung, kindness and sharing. — that is the good message from today's all few minutes of the Olympic torch in Lenton.

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