Olympic torch relay

Olympic torch relay Guildford

Olympic torch relay Guildford

I had excellent lunch at The Keystone (one of the best places to eat in Guildford). As it was only mid-afternoon, I thought hop on the bus to Godalming.

Not possible, said the bus driver, Godalming blocked off due to Olympic torch relay, due later in Guildford.

Maybe naive, but I always though the Olympic torch was lit in Athens (or wherever in Greece), then relays of runners took the torch to the next Olympic venue.

Not so. Today the Olympic torch was passing through Surrey. From Godalming, runners would not be carrying it to Guildford. It would be brought to Guildford, then carried through the High Street.

I wandered up the High Street. It was around 4pm, the torch was not due until 6pm. The High Street was already busy with people waiting for the torch.

I popped into to see Ben in Ben’s Records. Told him either go home before 5pm, or not until gone 7pm, as roads were closed. He said it was ok, as he was in Guildford that evening.

I wandered back into the High Street and secured a prime location on the curb. It reminded me of sitting on the curb in Puerto de la Cruz some months back watching the carnival procession.

Various vehicles came through, police on motorcycles, overhead a helicopter, touts selling flags and Olympic gold medals (fakes not the real thing).

Slowly slowly, the High Street filled up.

6-15 and the bells of Holy Trinity Church. No sign of the torch. I assume that was when it arrived in Guildford, as I had been told it would arrive at 6-15.

Then a bus that had Olympic torches in it. I was told a support vehicle.

Then carnival floats of the corporate sponsors, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Lloyds-TSB Bank.

The floats were pathetic compared with the Carnival floats in Puerto de la Cruz, and there they are local people, or if sponsored, it will be a local bar. And why is Lloyds-TSB a corporate sponsor when they were bailed out by the taxpayer? All part and parcel of the obscenity of corporate sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics.

Then what everyone had been waiting for, the Olympic torch. Blink, and you missed it.

And then that was it, it was all over.

It was only when everyone started milling around you realised how many people there was there.

It was now about 6-45.

I had a wander around, then walked to the station to catch a train. I just missed a train at 7-30. I waited for the Reading train due in at 7-36. I could not believe how crowded was the platform both for the Reading train and the London train. I had never seen anything like it. A lot of people must have travelled in to Guildford for the torch relay.

I took photos and almost got arrested. I was asked why I was taking photos. Not allowed, security reasons.

The Reading train came in several minutes late. How everyone got on three coaches I do not know. The train must have been very overloaded as it pulled away very very slowly.

I arrived home at around 9pm to learn the torch was now in London. Guildford must have been its final leg, exactly one week before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

That night, a big celebration in Stoke Park in Guildford (where Guilfest was held last weekend), but only those in the know got tickets.

It is strange, far more interest has been shown in the Olympic torch relay than the Olympics. Maybe people feel more involved, even thought they are bystanders, not participants.

The one exception has been Aldershot, where the local council, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, for some perverse reason of their own, kept the whole event secret, with the torch being paraded around an army ground to invited guests only. Local residents only found out after the event. Not surprisingly there was a lot of anger locally. It would also explain why so many people travelled to Guildford to see the torch carried through the High Street.

I am one of those who has carried the Olympic torch!

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One Response to “Olympic torch relay”

  1. keithpp Says:

    The following day saw the torch relay begin its final stages through the streets of London.

    Meanwhile in Guildford a cycle race and the creation of a chalk mural on the banks of the River Wey.


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