Friday, 13 July 2012

Karma Chameleon - Culture Club

It was thought appropriate that the photographs taken today should be published today instead of those taken yesterday which were intended for today which will now be posted tomorrow leaving any images taken tomorrow to be published the day after tomorrow. So, now that's been cleared up we can get onto the Olympic Torch Relay.
The weather forecast had pointed to a better day than the last 2 or 3, but things could hardly have got worse, so at 06:00 awaiting the bus to take me to Portland it was a blessing to see the sun rise over Weymouth Inner Harbour and into an almost cloudless sky.
It's a 20 minute walk from the bus stop to the Lighthouse and already the sky was being covered by threatening looking clouds as the convoy of vehicles started to roll down Bill Road. It was 06:40 when the rain started. Luckily, it stopped raining at 06:45 and not a drop has fallen since!
Included in this were the logistics and passenger carriers seen here passing the Portland Bird Observatory and heading towards the 'active' lighthouse in the distance.
Then came the Police, 'mob-handed', 16 motorcycles in all and about a dozen cop cars. Nicknicknicknicknicknick!
The first people I met were 4 of the Stewards, without whom the event would not run at all smoothly, standing outside of The Pulpit Inn. For those with better eye-sight, the Landlord Danny Fox can just be seen on the pub steps waiting for the first £ of the day to arrive.
Time for a scout around and poke my nose into everything as the crowd started gathering.
Some of the Coppers I soon discovered were from the Met so what an 'Away Day' for them to get out of London for a while.
Lots of music, dancing and general frivolity around the 'sponsors' vehicles, while at the lower end of the car park
hundreds of people (mostly youngsters) were heading for
Pulpit Rock from where this leg of the Relay was to start. 
While the various young people's organisations
including the Combined Cadet Force, Girl Guides, Bot Scouts et al, sorted themselves out,
others were seeking a vantage point to get the best view.
With the terrain here being so undulating with hillocks and piles of Portland Stone, it is almost like a natural amphitheatre so everyone could see.
Next came these 3 Torch Escort Marshals who probably needed organising as well,
that's why I joined them!
Of all the Marshals only 2 have undertaken the full 56 days thus far, so by definition VICKY WALKER and PETE EDGINGTON have been all round Great Britain in the past few weeks. Well done to them all.
and so the show got on the road led by Police Outriders then this mini bus carrying
members of the OLYMPIC SAILING TEAM.
Sponsors SAMSUNG,
LLOYDS TSB followed up leaving a 
CHEERING CROWD welcoming the first Torch Bearer who ran just the few hundred yards from Pulpit to the main road.
From there it was handed to a firm Portland favourite David Darby who, ever since we met in 1970, has been an accomplished long distance runner and has shown more young people than perhaps he can remember the ways of the Sportsman/Woman!
Dave carried the mantle a far as the Pulpit Inn, under the watchful eye of
the World, National and Regional media.
The 'flame' was past to the next bearer who, on being ignited
 held his Torch aloft before setting off himself along
Bill Road
and onward to the crowd waiting outside of the Portland Bird Observatory. Those who know him, may just be able to pick out Martin Cade the Warden of the PBO.
The clouds were still darkening and looking closely among them the Police Helicopter can be seen as a small dot,
but ever watchful over all proceedings. I had wanted to be back in Weymouth for the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron on the beach. It was touch and go if traffic would allow, but the bus got me close and well in time.
However, I was not to know of the delays that would await me, the first being an encounter with DAVE HAMILTON, one of the Torch Bearers, doing photo calls in front of the Portland Stone Olympic Rings Monument outside of Weymouth Railway Station.
This young lady, obviously from the Orient, then struck a pose and said to Dave something like "my friends in Taiwan will be pleased to see this shot". Now, who do we know who is recently returned from Taiwan?? I needed no further coaxing
as I introduced myself before getting my hands on an Olympic Torch. The absolute HIGHLIGHT of my day was when 
SYENNY (Shenny) LEE accepted my invitation to lunch and a potted tour of that part of Weymouth. A University Graduate who has studied in Taiwan, China, the USA and Italy is now in Weymouth for 10 weeks to further her knowledge. We dined together at The William Henry where Syenny was keen to sample traditional English food, so what better than Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and thick, thick Bisto Gravy? From there she got the Cook's Tour of the White Horse on the Hill, Punch and Judy, Weymouth's Georgian architecture plus King George III himself, albeit his statue, plus his Batheing Machine. I have no religion but believe whole-heartedly in KARMA (what you do to others will be done unto you) which visited me today. Regular readers will no doubt remember the warm welcomes I was afforded by Vicky Cheng, Bruno and Emily Walther and many others in Taiwan, today was the day to reciprocate in the hope of more to come. Watch This Space!