Friday, July 27, 2012

The day Olympic torch went to Islington - the relay, the crowd, band and the Routemaster doing pushups


It wasn't fifteen deep. Heck, there were parts along the street where it wasn't even one deep. But the anticipation along Islington High Street was unmistakable.

"It's coming soon," a man answered for the umpteenth time to his little girl, ruffling through her hair. "Just wave your flag like crazy when it does." The girl nodded her head with her eyes glued to where it would appear round the bend.

"It" obviously refers to the Olympic torch, which flame had finally reached Islington southbound from Camden on on "Super Thursday" that saw it weaving through the streets of London.

When the papers say that the torch is escorted by a convoy, they weren't kidding. There was a small troop of police motorbikes, at least one ambulance, some buses and a number of unmarked vehicles leading the relay.

As we lived just next to the route, we come down just minutes before the torch arrived. LO was captivated by the bustling crowd. She was certain something was happening, just not sure what.

When the torch finally arrived, it was almost sudden. There was a minor hysteria amidst a sea of fluttering Union Jacks and Olympic flags. People were sticking their heads out and cheering from their flats above Upper Street's shops.


People started pouring into the streets in a bid to capture the moment with their cameras and smartphones. A good number of them joined the growing crowd of people simply following the relay. The band standing by at Islington Green started on a fanfare as the torch passed them. The Routemaster stationed just outside Islington Business Centre did its pushups routine as the torch went further south.

It didn't feel rehearsed, not a single bit. It just felt like the local community having a good time on a balmy Thursday morning. Something to tell the grandchildren about? Not quite. But it did feel good.

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