"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Monday, 23 July 2012

My Weekend Celebrating a very British Sport

Well I had a thoroughly lovely weekend celebrating British sport. Surprised at that statement? Read on....

I have hoped since 2005 for a lovely British Olympic Games in London 2012 - and have watched in dismay as the Olympic ideals seem to have taken such a hammering by the [alleged] underhand ways and incompetence of companies like G4S; the shenanigans of infrastructure schemes that are still to come to fruition like our own local road building scheme and the waste of money by many councils on unnecessary decorations etc.

But we were lucky to join with the happy side of the Games this weekend - when communities get together to celebrate and the true Olympic spirit really does shine through. We spent the weekend in East London with some of our Grandchildren and were in Waltham Forest when the torch was carried into the evening celebration and lit the cauldron. We had no idea who was carrying the torch on its last stage to the cauldron - so it was great to hear the announcement that Fabrice Muamba would be the torch bearer.

Having arrived in England with his parents - political exiles from Zaire - Muamba had attended school in Walthamstow and those who follow football will know all about him even before his dramtic collapse in March this year during the Bolton/Spurs game. His heart stopped for over an hour and probably his life was only saved because not only did the football club have excellent medical facilities but a consultant cardiologist who was at the game gave immediate medical aid.

The reception Muamba got from the crowd was brilliant! He looked frail but very,very happy and in his speech after he had lit the cauldron he again thanked all who had saved his life and described it as a miracle. I don't think I was the only one crying!

The photograph above is not that good, but it is mine! And shows a glimpse of the lovely police lady who stopped the very pushy lady who was trying to elbow my grandchildren away from the front of the barrier. How very dare she!

Onto Dagenham Town Show on Sunday and a chance to have one's picture taken with the real Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch.

Did Elizannie shrink from this challenge? No she did not!
A friend pointed out that I do look as it I am going to swipe one of my political opponents with it. Not a bad idea except [a] I am a pacifist and [b] After the town show the torch was taken off in an armoured type car.
And then to fill the boots of the Elizannie/Other Half household we had the brilliant results of the British Cyclists in the Tour de France! As massive cycling fans it has been an exciting three weeks and although it was obvious on Saturday that barring accidents Bradley Wiggins
would be the overall winner to quote someone 'It's not won until it's won'!! And with our Chris Froome second and Mark Cavendish as stage winner it was quite a day!
A photograph to sum up the excitement. Please note the seat upon which Youngest Granddaughter is viewing the finish to the Tour de France:

Today it has been announced that Sir Chris Hoy, the British Olympic Gold medallist will lead the British Olympians at the Opening Ceremony of the Games

So all in all, a very proud time for a what could be considered a sport which could be considered very British and originally a proletarian one. [Some say that it was a Scot who invented the bicycle]

Ironically, when cycling first 'got going' bikes were a luxury only the well-off could afford. However as soon as mass production meant that the working classes could afford their own bicycles, the rich mostly dropped their interest [apart from the profits that could be made from investing in cycle factories and shops...]

Cycles quickly entered into mainstream literature [H.G.Wells: 'The Wheels of Chance'; Jerome K. Jerome: 'Three Men on the Bummel' for example] and opened up the countryside for the working person. On their days off, the working population could reach areas that were out of walking range/public transport costs. Cycles could also be hired quite cheaply, within the working man's price range.

So bicycles became a leveller in a lot of ways - introducing the masses to areas which previously only their 'betters' had been able to visit.

Of course the sorts of bicycles used in road races now like the Tour de France cost thousands of pounds but in the early days of cycling and racing the differentials were not so large and anyone handy with a spanner could do their own repairs and adjustments!

We watched the Tour de France 'in the flesh when it came to Portsmouth & Brighton in 1994 and there was a big following here in the UK. Hopefully now that we have had three British successes this year we might get another look-in at the tour very soon!!

Onwards to cycling Gold medals in the Olympics!!

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