I popped into Rutherglen on Friday to watch the Olympic Torch on its travels through Scotland. I drove by half an hour before it arrived and the streets were empty so we were a bit complacent about finding a good spot. By the time we got there, there were swarms of people sporting flags and smiles.
I put my “tiny person at a big gig” skills to good use and found a way through the crowd, with Mum pushing my niece in her buggy in my wake, to grab a good vantage point. Considering nobody really knew what to expect, it was a brilliant atmosphere, a rare glimpse of positive community spirit.
Bunting and police lined the Main Street as the first of the torch’s entourage trundled along the road. We welcomed random folk waving from giant trucks and buses, courtesy of the event’s sponsors. Senses were overwhelmed by commercialism. Everyone cheered. Then there was a short lull and I actually started to wonder if the torch had been on top of a bus and I’d missed it. Was that why folk were cheering?!
Then the man and his torch arrived. White shellsuit, big grin, waves and a flame that defied the drizzle. And it was quite exciting although I’m still not sure why.
It’s been odd and a little annoying to see London 2012 flags just round the corner from my flat in Glasgow and it’s unlikely I’ll watch any of the Olympics so I had no great yearning to see the torch but we thought it would be a good thing to take my niece to. She’s too young and was distinctly underwhelmed but at least we can say she’s seen it, years from now. And it really is once in a lifetime that the Olympic torch passes the end of your street.