Saturday 14 July 2012

torch, tickets, travel, togetherness...

I wasn't born the last time the Olympic Games came to London. When it was announced in July 2005 that the Games would return in 2012, it seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of one of those events where the world comes together in "mutual understanding, with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play" (to quote the Olympic Charter). Keen to get experience, I volunteered to marshal the London stage of the Tour de France in 2007 and registered as a "Games Maker" for the next London Olympics. That dream came to an end when Steve was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the summer of 2009.  I couldn't see three months ahead, let alone three years into the future.  

Now the London 2012 Olympics are less than a fortnight away and, three years on, Steve is still here very much alive and well. Although sceptical of all the hype that goes hand in hand with such an event, Steve's interest was captured when the Olympic Torch relay passed through an area where he had lived as a child.  Since then we have dipped into the TV coverage from time to time, especially when the Torch Relay visits places we have connections with.  

Last Monday, it was Oxford's turn.  Although we had missed out in tickets for the main local event - a party in South Park - I couldn't resist the opportunity to see it happen live on the streets.  I've yet to discover how watch, clap and take a photo at the same time, so the pictures are not brilliant. However, the atmosphere was great - a huge number of people, but everyone in a good mood!  I'm so glad I went. 

Flag seller

Sol Samba getting everyone in the party mood

The next torch bearer waits her turn!

The Torch Relay bus 

The Torch bearer 

Torch bearers who have done their bit follow on

Crowds return home after the Torch Relay has passed on
Steve was watching the event from the comfort of home. When we looked carefully on the i-player afterwards, we managed to spot a small familiar looking blob, standing on the Victoria Fountain on the Plain in St Clements, waving a camera around in the background! 

Like many others, our attempts to buy tickets for the sporting events didn't bear fruit.  However, the tickets to visit the Olympic Park and go up Orbit have now arrived and, all being well, that's where we'll be in two weeks time, along with goodness knows how many people.  If the atmosphere is anything like the Torch Relay, it will be worth it in spite of the inevitable crowds, queues and travel congestion.  Another milestone in our lives together, post-diagnosis!

Other travel plans have come together in the last week - a work trip to Guernsey for me; a family holiday in Carcassonne in September, before Steve's next scan and assessment; a day at "Glorious Goodwood" races and stopover with friends in Chichester in early August; a house party here later in August, when we will come together with friends to form "Team Finch" in support of Rob who is taking part in the Brompton (folding bike) World Championships at Blenheim Palace.  We have also worked out the logistics of getting to and from Wales in mid-August,  for a three day walk from the Brecon Beacons to Cardiff Bay. Just waiting for a break in the weather long enough to fit in a hot air balloon trip, following cancellations last August, September and again this June....a reminder of how horrible the weather has been.....

A meal with our dear friends Jon and Sally got last weekend off to a lovely start.  This weekend, we hope to come together with other locals for the West Oxford 1st Olympiad Absurd Olympics Fun Day. Amazingly, the rain has stopped and I can hear the sound of singing wafting over from the park...time to come together again and enjoy the Olympic spirit!

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