I had an excellent couple of days watching the Tour de France. On Saturday we stationed ourselves in Otley, staking out a prime spot on a corner and a mini hill before 8 o’clock, with the sole disadvantage of some bongo players opposite. The police were swiftly trained by the crowds: drive past without acknowledgement, and you get nothing. Entertain us in some way and you’ll get a cheer. After the racers themselves, by far the largest cheer went to the lorry distributing small packets of Taylor’s tea. Scaffolders have clearly done well out of the weekend, with lots of people putting up small platforms in their gardens to raise themselves above the crowds or a wall. Sunday was a dash to a roundabout on the A59, five minutes before the peloton came through. Here it is on Saturday:
There were a lot of helicopters about. I rather liked the man shouting ‘It’s an invasion!’
All in all, full marks to the team who brought the race to Yorkshire and delivered splendidly, nul points to UK Sport who recommended that no government funding for it at all should be provided (in the end they got £10 million), even after it beat DCMS-backed Scottish bid, and VisitEngland who tried to take over the marketing. No doubt Gary Verity has been thoroughly enjoying offering them large servings of humble pie. Getting multiple farmers to dye their livestock has got to be a strong indicator of success even before you start counting the crowds, and there were a lot of crowds. I'm going to be watching the full broadcasts while doing the ironing over the next couple of weeks.
Back to work tomorrow afternoon – well, tomorrow morning, when I am going to be working on the train. But first I am off to Beryl at the West Yorkshire Playhouse for more cycling-themed entertainment.
*Surnamed Lascelles, pronounced to rhyme with tassels.
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