Saturday, June 2, 2012

Friday, 01 June 2012

This morning was probably the most exciting our little town of Ormskirk has had in years: the Olympic Torch passed through.

Now to me this did not seem like a particularly big deal, but as it was to pass directly behind our block of flats, I thought I’d better go along to see it anyway. Something to write home about, and anyway, how often do you get to see this? So, with our neighbor Agnes, her sister Anna, and another neighbor I met the other day, Joan, I joined the crowd.

It was a lot more exciting than I had expected, just because in a crowd, excitement is contagious. And we were near a lot of school children cheering their silly heads off as school children love to do, and pre-school children dancing and hopping all around and waving their Union Jacks. The Lord Mayor turned out to welcome the torch at Coronation Park, where arts and sports events are scheduled throughout today. Policemen and women rode by on their motorcycles, waving at the crowd, which cheered for them, too, for no particular reason except they were all hyped up. A helicopter flew overhead.

And then the torch-bearing runner passed us and a few moments later it was all over. Nothing great had really happened at all, and yet it was so exciting that momentarily, I even had a lump in my throat. Isn’t that interesting, such a huge emotional reaction to such a small happening. Demetrios says the Olympic Torch was originally Hitler’s idea. Well, it goes to show Hitler certainly did know how to do propaganda!

Demetrios, who had gone off to the library at Edge Hill University to do some writing, also saw the Torch on his way there. He says there were folk dances on campus to celebrate the Torch and he was asked to join in one of them, which he did.

Today is only the kick-off to a long weekend of celebrations; people are off work Monday and Tuesday in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. (She was crowned 60 years ago on 02 June.) The celebrations of Her Majesty’s Jubilee are on-going all year, but this weekend is billed as the centerpiece.

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to fulfill my life-long dream of seeing the Queen, but braving the crowds in London for this weekend’s events doesn’t seem bearable just for the sake of seeing the Queen as a speck on the horizon, and that’s even before we consider what a hotel room anywhere near London will cost during these four or five days or what train schedules may be like on a Bank Holiday. (You do not, not, not want to drive a car into London!) Anyway, I’ve figured out, rather to my surprise, my dream is actually not just seeing the Queen, which I can do better on television. Not, it’s having her see me, if only for the merest moment. Sigh… Some things should ideally be done earlier in life. Going back to thank your schoolteachers is another one of those things; you really need to do that before you reach the age of, say, 50.