Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Torch’

Olympic torch relay

July 20, 2012
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!

Guildford Craft Festival and Farmers Market

July 3, 2012
wooden ducks in a basket

wooden ducks in a basket

Guildford Craft Festival in the High Street in Guildford is part of the Guildford Summer Festival.

Today is the first Tuesday of the month, and the Guildford Craft Festival was joined by the Guildford Farmers Market.

The market stalls far outnumbered the craft stalls. On Friday, when the Guildford Craft Festival opened (the dates in the festival programme are incorrect) there was far more stalls. Whether they have given up as a bad job, or do not like the weather, I do not know. I should have asked.

On Friday there was one or two stalls worth looking at, and that was it. I would not go as far as calling it tat, but not worth spending money on either.

One stall had lovely carved wood, another wooden ducks in a basket. Not there today or if they were, I did not see.

I do not think any of the stall holders were helped by being relocated to different pitches than they had on Friday.

The farmers market used to be forced to a different day when the craft market was on. This was ludicrous as they simply lost business as everyone knows the farmers market is always the first Tuesday of the month.

This is the best time of the year for the farmers market, now and into the autumn, as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Plus it is no fun wandering around the market in the winter when it is cold and wet.

June 2012, the wettest June since records began in 1910. The second dullest June.

July seems no exception. Today 3 July and it has been raining since the month began.

I had a choice of two venues this evening. Annoying that they clashed. Art @ Costa or Eden People at The Keystone. Assuming they were on as nothing on twitter, I ended up going to neither, as I did not fancy hanging around in the rain for a couple of hours.

Talking to friends in the Tourist Information in the Guildford House Art Gallery, I learnt of a third venue that I was not aware of. On the main road opposite the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (past Debenhams) what used to be dance studio and for a brief period a night club, a new venue has opened Bar des Arts. This evening poetry, a Spanish-Colombian quintet Muerto de Amor and rap (the thought of rap immediately put me off).

Pop Up Poetry is a group of poets and poetry lovers. All events are free. I hope that in future they arrange their night not to clash with Art @ Costa (always first Tuesday of the month, Costa, Swan Lane).

Friday at Bar des Arts Latin Caribbean evening with music and dance sounds good. But Friday night not a good night to be on the streets in Guildford. The town centre becomes a no go area of drunken thugs looking for trouble.

The website for Bar des Arts is poorly designed, light grey on dark grey background, virtually illegible. No information on forthcoming events. The pull down menu for contacts drops off the bottom of the screen.

Looking through the festival programme (obtain from Tourist Information Office) I could find nothing I fancied, though at least they do host a festival. It runs from 1 June until 1 July 2012.

One of the ‘highlights’ will be the Olympic Torch passing through Guildford, sponsored by Coca-Cola!

There is an extra farmers market on Saturday 28 July 2012. Only a few days before the next one on Tuesday 1 August 2012. They have been repeatedly told if you are to hold an extra market then make it mid-month, midway between the monthly Tuesday markets, not hold them a few days apart, but sadly no one is listening.

The highlight of the summer festival was the Ambient Picnic, a free alternative music festival. It went downhill and seems to have died. The last one at Celebrating Surrey at Loseley Park a couple of years ago was not worth the effort of attending. A crying shame as it was a very good festival.

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Saturday 7 July 2012).

No 1 Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Monday 9 July 2012).


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