Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Now you see it . . .

About 18 months ago we scribbled a list of Olympic events we wouldn't mind seeing, then we got distracted and missed the boat . . . to be honest I wasn't that bothered, I'm not a huge sports fan and hate big crowds and queues in confined spaces. But I'd love to see the architecture and meadow landscaping and after reading Curlow Country's blog this morning, I'm now kicking myself for assuming that you could only get in the Olympic Park with a ticket to see a sport event and deleting those email reminders about tickets without a second glance!

Yesterday we had an invite to a party; nothing to do with the Olympics, just a gathering of friends which had been arranged at Christmas just because we hadn't met up for 6 years and thought we ought to. No-one checked the date of the Olympics, it didn't occur to anyone that the Men's Cycling Road Race route would make the venue for the party into an islet cut off from the rest of the universe . . . ooops!

We checked the route of the race and consulted maps . . . we conceived a cunning plan, "if you can't beat them, join them" – when we eventually made it to just within the SW London curve of the M25, we parked the car in a leafy woodland lane near Claygate and set off on foot. It was obvious that we were on track as people looking like extras from a garden fete scene in Midsommer Murders were purposefully marching along heading towards the sound of occasional cheers and clapping.


We reached a road block at a major road intersection, there were thousands of people; it seemed most had arrived by bike . . . the opportunity of cycling safely along traffic free roads was not to be missed!


Everyone was waiting patiently in a very British way . . .


. . .  some had staked a place in prime position and put out the flags!


Maybe it was the surge of national pride after watching Danny Boyle's spectacular the previous evening, like a sound and visual sherry trifle of Britishness to get us in the mood; or maybe it was Bradley Wiggins pedalling his way to victory in the Tour de France? Whatever the cause, it had gone to our heads!


I soon realised that without a kitchen stool or stepladder (dammit, I hadn't got one with me!) I wasn't going to see much; so I set my camera to 'sport/action' mode and held it aloft, when the crescendo of excitement rippled along the crowd and the helicopters came into view I knew it was time to keep clicking the shutter as fast as possible.

Cheers, whistles, horns, sirens and a kaleidoscope of blurred colour shot past – I took lots and lots of photos . . . most look like this . . .


One or two look like this . . .


One snapped a Norwegian cyclist in the leading pack (I have no idea who he is) . . .
I've just got a message on Twitter to tell me this is Alexander Kristoff who went on to win the Bronze Medal.


And, amazingly, one photo caught the action in the peloton very well!

 

Then it was all over . . . the race sped off into central London, Team GB didn't win but as an opener to the Games it was a spectacular success, the full results are here.


Everyone walked made their way home and we went to a lovely party.


Celia
x


18 comments:

  1. Nice shot of the cyclists :) I enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies greatly. My favorite part was when the torch was passed from Sir Stephen Redgrave to the next generation of athletes.

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    1. I'm pleased you enjoyed the spectacle! I loved the design of the cauldron... it's by the very very talented, Thomas Heatherwick.

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  2. Excellent reporting, Celia!

    I liked seeing your unexpected close encounter with the Olympics. It great that the weather was fine for both the racing and the garden party.

    xo

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    1. Thank you Frances! You would have loved watching and photographing the spectators!

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  3. Hi Celia! You still saw lots more than me of the bikes - it was packed in Green Park and I just glimpsed the team cars whizzing by, great atmosphere though.

    Thanks for your lovely comments, glad you liked the picture,s i took loads! Yes the tickets for the Park were free too, you have to stipulate a day and not sure you can still get them but definitely worth a shot, particularly as they send you a free Travelcard too which I thought was hugely generous.

    If you could get them for when the athletics start I bet the amtpshere will be great and you'd see lots of athletes. We just saw the family of Ryan Lochte (the USA gold medal swimmer). Hope you manage to get some!
    Have a smashing Sunday
    Stephx

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    1. Sadly it now seems unlikely I'll get a ticket/pass into the Olympic Park... your photos are great and I'm so pleased you were lucky enough to see it for real.

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  4. What a lovely treat! Sounds like the party was fun too!

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    1. Yes the party was very good... a very late night (not sure I've recovered yet!)

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  5. It's the atmosphere that surrounds these events that makes it special too, even for those who otherwise would have not given it a second thought.
    What fun!

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    1. Gosh, the atmosphere as we watched the helicopter get nearer and knew the cyclists would soon appear was electric! We were so lucky to time it so we only waited about 10 minutes!

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  6. I watched the men's road race on television - we're big cycling fans here, having a couple of tri-atheletes in the family. How lovely that you could get so close. And party afterwards, even better!

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    1. You would have loved it!!! I hope the cyclists enjoyed it too, I think the whole route was lined with crowds in the sunshine :-)

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  7. What a great unexpected opportunity to catch some of the action and atmosphere and I love your description of the opening ceremony as a 'sherry trifle of Britishness'!

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    1. I'm sure if I watched the Opening Ceremony again now I'd see lots of things I missed - it was quite a mixture wasn't it?!

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  8. Your description reminds me of when I saw the tour de France in Brighton several years ago! Crowded, over in a flash. But I bet the atmosphere was brill.
    I found you could feel the heat off the peloton as it arrived then the wiff of sweat as it left :-)

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    1. I remember the Milk Race cycling time trials on Marine Parade in Brighton - and still have the sketches I did.

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  9. Well done for catching a glimpse of the action - what fun!

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  10. My only 'live' experience of London 2012!

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