SCORCHED AND TORCHED.

Despite cynical muttering from a friend after our Aqua class that the media had driven up the hype on the Torch Relay and why waste time observing such a silly spectacle, I was not going to miss the event. The route was so close to my house, I was determined to get into Hawarden on the torch route as this will be the nearest I will even get to an Olympic event. Dumping the car close by, I strolled into the village by 4pm, over an hour before the relay was due. The Cenotaph was already well staked out and the café opposite was doing a roaring trade. The profits would certainly be up on Torch Relay Day. I enjoyed an excellent coffee myself and then staked out my pitch, even finding a convenient bollard to rest backside upon. Sir Willams’s park gates were decked in flags; the sun beat down and the crowds just grew and grew; flag waving and cheering everything that moved. It was a really wonderful carnival atmosphere as anticipation grew as the the time of arrival of the Torch got even nearer. A man with all the photographic gear plonked himself in front of me cutting my view much to my annoyance. I then recognised him as John Butler, a keen historian who specialises in films of local life and events which are kept for following generations to enjoy. He captured an anniversary of Hawarden affairs some years ago which is now in a time capsule ready to be unearthed when most of us are dead. “Hope you are allowing me a glimpse of the action”, I quipped. “This is the best place to stand”, he confided & then asked me to say a few words into the camera which also captured sound. I burbled about the luck of having the torch in Hawarden, famous enough in its own right but today will be a further feather in its cap. I said it was good to have something to take minds off the economy and double dip recession and just enjoy participating in a tiny piece of the Olympics. Man on stilts as a crowd warmer and various vehicles were beginning to drift into sight. Vehicle after vehicle rolled by and then high above the crowd, passing the fountain, the torch could be seen in the melee. The Met officers in grey chugged along side the torch bearer on foot. He was dancing and waving to the delight of the crowd. Fired off three shots on my little digital & it was over in a flash. The large bus that followed closely behind the torch bearer, soon blocked further views down the High Street. Six or so sturdy Metropolitan Bobbies heavily decked out with handcuffs, radio and flak waistcoats brought up the rear. The website dedicated to following the whole torch progressed showed that 4 runners would be taking the flame from Daleside nursery to beyond Hawarden Institute. One bearer was in a wheel chair and although out of my sight, the push by his carer up the hill to the Hawarden Cenotaph must have been a real effort on that scorching afternoon. There were too many people to follow the torch through to Hawarden Institute. This was to be the place when the flame was put back into its lantern & where everyone got back on board and headed for Chester race course. Slowly, crowds and traffic began to drift away and the traffic jam to get back to Ewloe took a while to clear. Despite the delay in getting home, it was well worth the effort I thought and my cynical swimming friend had surely missed a real treat. 2012 Olympic Torch in Flintshire

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