Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Olympic Torch on Midsummer's Day

Almost as soon as I got back from Greece, the Olympic Torch came through Cumbria. Connie of Trifolium Books had arranged for me to do some signings on its route.

The first was at the Wordsworth Bookshop and Coffee House in Penrith. It was sunny and people were out on the forecourt as well as inside at the tables. My thanks to Jon for his careful preparations and for spoiling us with a delicious lunch. 

We moved on to Carlisle to Bookends, where Gwenda Matthews had created a sporty window display with The Boy with Two Heads as the centrepiece (see Connie's blog). There we watched the Torch come through. After many sponsors' vehicles and police cars and bikes had passed, we actually saw one of the handovers when the next runner lights his/her torch from the previous runner's.

There were trampoliners (is that the word?) flying high, taut and graceful, and gymnasts bursting with energy in the pedestrian precinct, and quite a large crowd. 

Next day we were at the Fountain Gallery in Wigton where we were visited by Rory Stewart, the local MP. I signed a copy of The Boy for him and he took one of each of Connie's other books, which are on sale there every day. It was wet, though, and the crowd did not gather until just before the Torch was due. 

The street is narrower than the Carlisle precinct and there were no barriers. 

The outriding police bikes came close enough to the crowd to high-five some of them. Everyone enjoyed that, and there were those who climbed onto the monument for a better view ... The actual run with the Torch seemed to last only a few seconds once all the other vehicles had gone. So a damp but enthusiastic passage.

And our thanks to Beatfords Tearoom in Cockermouth, for our 'pitch' there later in the afternoon. The carnival on Main Street was in full swing when we left, some time before the Torch was due.

[In preparing this posting, I have spent far too long watching the BBC Torch relay site. It really is well done, covers every moment of the whole procession from the first moment until now, and is easy to navigate. There are, of course, long bits of video of the road journeys - rather like some of the videos I make on holiday!]

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