Monday, 7 July 2014

The Tour came to the Stow

Today was the long-awaited day when the Tour de France came through Walthamstow on its way to the finish in Central London.  As it went right past my daughter's church, it was a no-brainer to go and watch there.  The Swan Whisperer took the day off to watch it, and we set off, armed with packed lunch, at about 11:30, and got to Wood Street Station at 12:35, where the Daughter and Boy Too met us.  The Boy was at nursery, and the Son-in-Law working.  The Church is only a short walk from there and the "Caravane Publicitaire" was due to come past at about 13:15.
Sadly, the Caravane was very disappointing.  It roared past and didn't really throw anything except trouser-clips.  It was supposed to take 40 minutes to go past, but had finished in about 10, really not worth having to sit for two hours after it to wait for the Tour proper.  So we sat down and had lunch - I was found a chair - and we sat and waited and waited and waited.  I had my Kindle with me, so read for a bit.  The neighbouring club told us when things were finally starting to happen by stopping the loud and rather tuneless music it had been playing. 

And then the two who were in the breakaway, Barta and Bideaux:
 And very soon, along came the main peloton
 And went on coming
 And there were one or two stragglers.....

Finally it was all over, and the "broom vehicle" came past.   You don't appreciate how fast the cyclists are going until the team cars come past - they are going at practically  normal speed! 

We packed up our stuff and made ourselves comfortable, and then walked down the road to Whipps Cross Roundabout where there was a big screen and - it was raining - we stood under a tree and watched until the very end of the race.   Which was, as anybody could tell you, won by Marcel Kittel. 

And also by my friend Jilly and her team, who have been responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the Tour while it was in the UK.  They have done a superb job.  And I'd like to thank the staff of St-Peters-in-the-Forest for opening the church and allowing us to use its facilities.  This was the cycle they had decorated at the church gates:

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