Day 52 of the Olympic Torch Relay

Monday, 16 July 2012
The Olympics Torch Relay dates back to the ancient games.  A traditional ceremony would be held at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece where the flame is lit from a mirror and the sun's rays. This tradition carries on in the modern games, with a series of torchbearers carrying it first around Greece (1,800 miles) before passing it to the host city.

The torch arrived in London on 18 May to be carried by a series of 8,000 torchbearers on a 70 day journey around the United Kingdom. On the morning of 9 July the Olympic torch passed through Milton Keynes on it's way to Oxford. To celebrate the occasion, work gave us the morning off (although I think most of my colleagues used the time for a lie in).

I joined the crowd of red, white, and blue supporters on Silbury Boulevard, finding the perfect spot right up front. We had a little while to wait but there was a great atmosphere to soak up. While some children were quite content waving their little Union Jacks, others were not as patient. It seemed whenever the parents would finally pacify the impatient ones, right on cue someone would walk by trying to sell flags, medals, or inflatable torches. The poor parents would then start all over again trying to calm down their children.

Waiting for the torch.

The procession finally reached Silbury Boulevard. The police drove past on motorbikes giving the children's outstreched hands a high-five (this was a particular favourite of the kids). Coaches with torchbearers who had either already done their duty or would be carrying the torch later in the day. Coaches of the London 2012 sponsors like Coca-Cola and Samsung. And finally the torch itself, carried by the surfer Gabriel VillarĂ¡n.

Gabriel VillarĂ¡n carrying the torch.

Although my glimpse of the torch was only brief, I'm so glad I saw it and am able to say that I took part in the celebration! You can find out more about day 52 or follow the rest of the route by visiting the BBC website. The last day of the relay is in 11 days time when the last torchbearer lights the cauldron and the games officially begin!

Erin x

Independence Day

Wednesday, 4 July 2012
This is the one holiday that truly makes me miss living in America. Who wouldn't miss a hot summer day spent by the pool sipping cocktails, listening to music, and having a bbq. To not enjoy the day would be well, un-American.

This year has me particularly homesick for the Fourth of July festivities and the Vegas summer. The weather outside makes it hard for me to believe it's July. Instead of the bright blue summer skies I'm accustomed to in England, all I see are grey clouds accompanied by a constant drizzle. If I didn't know any better I would think I was in the first chapter of the sixth Harry Potter novel and that this constant drizzle is in fact Dementors. The few rays of sunshine we've seem today make me remain hopeful that the summer weather will appear soon and I can then have my long awaited barbecues. Until then I must be reminiscent of barbecues past.

Every fourth of July of my childhood, as far back as I can remember, we would get together with the Schreiber and the Jones families, usually at our house. The adults had all been neighbours and newly-weds before having us kids come along at relatively similar times. Those childhood bbqs changed slightly over the years. As we got aged less accidents involving sparklers occurred, rivalry in pool games like 'Marco Polo' 'Colours' and 'Shark' intensified, and did accusations of cheating. 

But some things didn't change like Pat could always be counted to be seen at the barbecue preparing the hot dogs and hamburgers. In fact that might be the main image I remember from those childhood barbecues, Pat at the grill. As soon as it got dark we'd rush outside to light off the fireworks, before ending the night watching the fireworks go off across The Strip.

As I got older I began to spend Independence Day with my friends. We would still bbq and play games by the pool but now the games were 'Beer Pong' 'Flip Cup' and 'Kings'. After a few rounds of drinking games we would then sing Team America songs at the top of our lungs, which I'm sure the neighbours absolutely loved. I hope that some day the theme song from Team America becomes our new national anthem, but somehow I doubt it.

Explicit Content Warning: If you are easily offended do NOT watch this video.

It is only today that I realise the last fourth of July I spent in America was four years ago. Since then I have been in either France or England. Which makes me think I'll have to make it back to America for a 4th of July real soon. I'm sure Luke will love the banter he receives from my family and friends. I just keep telling him things like 'this is the day we invented freedom'.

Happy 4th of July to all my lovely readers!

Erin x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...