A great moment in history was happening today, and I wasn’t going to let a little bit of rain stop me being a part of it. I wondered if I would be better going into town on the bus, or if the bus was actually running anyway, because the main road was closed to traffic. Anyway I decided to walk to what I thought would be a good vantage point by the Cenotaph instead. I passed a lot of people at my usual bus stop (not many people normally wait there), so I presumed they were hoping to see the Olympic torch too. But that was not for me. I had made my decision to walk in and strode on purposefully. My usual bus passed me going in the wrong direction (our bus does a one way circuit), and on the wrong road. Five minutes later it passed me again, heading towards town, still on the wrong road. What on earth was it playing at? I soon found out. It could go no further into town as the road was closed, so the driver was sitting in the bus by the closed road sign, presumably waiting until he could go on again, or was given instructions to go a different route. He was still there when I came back, although he had turned the bus around and parked up on the grass. Perhaps he just wanted to go and get a good view too?
Anyway, on I marched, wondering if I had picked a good spot to walk to, when I saw a whole school trooping out from the playing fields as I was approaching. Hundreds of children! Oh dear, I had wondered about that. I had decided that most of the schools would make for the Kettering Road, or London Road area. Had I got it wrong? No, fortunately they all turned down a road which cuts through to the Kettering Road, so on I went, and was surprised to find that there were not very many people assembled at Broad Green yet, and there were still a few vehicles driving through. I picked a convenient post to lean against, as at 10.45 when I arrived it was to be an hour’s wait. About ten minutes after that, the police let the people start lining the route across the main road junction, so I decided I would probably get a better view higher up on the steps of the Cenotaph, watching the world go by, as I do. Crowds and brollies were building up all the time, but no school kids. I had done the right thing.
At 11.42 the Olympic coach came by and dropped off our runner, Maurizio Guttilla, who is a 34 year old man from Misilmeri who in February 2007, was suddenly diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm. He had to undergo a delicate 9-hour open-heart surgery. Now he is a professional nurse and dedicates his time to saving others’ lives. Everyone was gathering around him taking photos, so I left my vantage point by the Cenotaph and tried to make my way to the front to get a closeup, which eventually I did. All that remained to do was keep clicking away at anything and everything that happened in the next few minutes. Our guy’s torch was lit at 11.52 and then, after posing for a few photos, he was off and it was all over.
Two of my acquaintances from a walking group I belong to had seen me at the Cenotaph but decided they wanted to go further towards town. I’m not sure whether they got a better view of the passing torch, but they certainly missed all this at the transfer point!
The route of the Olympic Torch through Wellingborough
But I wish I could have witnessed this as well!