Monday, 30 July 2012

Olympic Weekend - Friday - Steer it like Beckham...

Friday afternoon saw us heading into London by train. We were going on a trip with Indigo Dream on Saturday morning to Barking Creek- and, to catch the tide, we were locking out of Limehouse at 5:15am, so we had to be there the previous night! Richard and Sue were kind enough to let us stay on board. Richard was volunteering at the Olympics opening ceremony, and was due to return late that night.

After attending the briefing run by St Pancras Cruising Club, who were organising the trip, Amy and I went to the local Tesco for provisions- bacon and sausages for early morning sandwiches, pastries, and other delights to offset the horror of the 4:30am alarm clock!

Water Taxis and Olympic water buses in Limehouse basin.

We walked along Limehouse Cut for a bit, and saw this trail of smoke, left by the Red Arrows, as they passed over the Olympic Stadium at 20:12 exactly.

Once provisioned adequately, we returned to Indigo Dream to watch the opening ceremony on television. It was, as expected, an amazing spectacle. Although we thought the opening part was a bit too twee, it soon livened up when Brunel came on the scene!

However, at 9:30, we left the television and walked across the basin to Limehouse Lock.

Why? Well, the lockkeeper at the briefing had said that "a boat" was booked through the lock at 9:45pm. He hadn't been told what the boat would be, but we all realised that a) the Olympic torch was on Gloriana on the Thames earlier that day, b) that it had to get to the Olympic Park, and so there was only really one route it could take....

We headed down to the lock to find very large numbers of policemen and security guards, all of whom were completely deflecting, in a practiced deadpan way, any questions from the public about whether the torch was going to come through.

However, we took up a strategic position, and waited....

Lights fast approached on the Thames, and soon three RIBs came into sight. They drove quickly into the lock, but we were all disappointed to see that the Olympic torch wasn't lit!

We didn't see, at the time, who was driving the white RIB, but looking at the TV later, saw that it was (supposedly) David Beckham. There were, however, certainly more than two people in the boat, as you can see from the picture above, unlike the pictures shown on the television later!

After they sped off up the cut - no doubt annoying the moored boaters around the corner - we headed back to Indigo Dream to watch the rest of the ceremony.

Although we turned off the TV and tried to sleep about half way through all the athletes entering, we were woken up by circling helicopters, fireworks from the Olympic park - very loud - some drunken singing of "Hey Jude" from a neighbouring loud party, and at about 1am, by the mother of all firework displays when the cauldron was lit. Richard returned to the boat at about 3am - and, despite his best efforts, woke us both up - and so we had very little sleep.

But it was very much worth it!

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