Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

If every picture tells a story, then I don't need to caption the above one.

Well yes I do, otherwise you might just assume that this is the route that my mum and I took around the Lake District today, on the fourth and final full day of our holiday here.

In fact, the above diagram is not even in the past tense. It is a plan.

And it wasn't a plan for us, but for the Olympic flame.

I am always saddened at the aloofness that emerges whenever a fun thing becomes popular, as people unilaterally remove themselves from proceedings by promoting themselves above the rest of the populus as somehow more intelligent. Some refuse to even celebrate their own birthday.

So it's been this week, as I've heard a few people smilingly mention in an off-hand way that they weren't interested in London's forthcoming hosting of The Olympic Games, and didn't understand what all the "fuss" was about. Fuss? Really?

Likewise, when my mum and I went to visit the town of Cockermouth this morning, we found that the residents there hadn't let the expected visit of a world-famous icon at 15:50 affect their daily routine in the slightest either.

Yes, by the afternoon, even the local pet shop was getting in on the act!

Wow, I'll bet the local tourist information centre is all over this.

Oh. You're still on that whole diamond jubilee thing then. Sheesh, that's so last month.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing (it turned out Cockermouth Castle isn't open to the public much), Mum and I headed back down Main Street (aka Rain Street). We passed a crowd of children being led in a rendition of that traditional English ballad Search For The Hero Inside Yourself by M People. There were still a couple of hours to go. Perhaps they were planning to get through a few albums there.

Then, where Main Street became Crown Street, we located the house where William Wordsworth grew up. (the "I wandered lonely as a cloud" guy)

Now I've never understood the appeal of a famous person's birthplace, because surely it's just an ordinary house like any other? Well, here that was kind of the point.

Instead the National Trust have really gone to town with presenting the building as an example of what we reckon English life was like two centuries ago. They don't know what each room was used for, so they've guessed and gone with it. They don't know how it was furnished, so again. "We know other houses at the time had x and y, so this one would have done too." Even the toys. Ultimately what we had here was a generic 1800-ish house, using Wordsworth as a hook to draw in visitors, despite the fact that today he would probably feel like a stranger here. But that's beside the point. I still have no idea how his house looked, and neither do they, but it was still very interesting.

Out the back the gardens were beautiful, and even the persistent rain couldn't dampen our packed lunch.

Out the front again, neither could it dampen the gathering crowd of spectators for the approaching flame either.

We waited. It rained. My mum went inside the souvenir shop. I waited. It rained. She returned. We waited. It rained. The Union Jacks were appropriate. This was so British.

Eventually some vehicles showed up, however they turned out to be just the adverts before the main feature.

After all, Olympic standard athletes represent the peak of human fitness - a level of health and excellence that we all aspire to. So who better to sponsor the 2012 Olympic Games than the world's most nutritious health drink?

I don’t know whether the people on the back worked for this company regularly, or were just today's locally hired temps. However if whoever was running with the flame somewhere behind was swigging Coke, then they were full of air.

As the lorry passed, I was having no part of this, and turned to tell my mum exactly what I thought of such consumerism.

What the…??!!? Had she just leant forward and stolen that as it passed??? This might prove to be a more profitable plan with the next float, which as you can see was that other name synonymous with natural health…

… Samsung!

Or, as they were calling themselves today, "Team Samsung".

Have you ever seen any edition of The Simpsons featuring Duffman? (the super hero who promotes awareness of Duff) Ever wondered where he, or even one of his doppelgängers, works between episodes? Well wonder no longer. He's filling out his timesheets for Team Samsung. (and has a bit of a Kiwi accent)

As the thumping dance beat approached several seconds before the vehicle itself, Duffman, sorry I mean Samsungman, declared over his radio mike that the Olympic torch was just five funky minutes behind him. Ohhh, yeah.

Yeesh, what super-appropriate sporting legend would they have next, a bank?

Until, finally… here it came!!!

If it was still raining now, then no-one was aware of it.

I have no idea who this guy was, and at time of writing, surprisingly, neither does my internet. Maybe he was a stand-in? Though you couldn't see it at the split-second when this photo was taken, the expression on his face spoke volumes. He was astounded at his good fortune to be carrying the flame. He was humbled to be sharing it with us. He was so pleased to see each and every one of us.

He whooshed on past at a pace that did the 'run' justice, but enabled us all to see it.

And then he, and it, were gone.

But the euphoria left in their wake was still going strong.

Hot on the runner's heels was the photographer above, getting everyone to cheer for the camera straight afterwards, capturing the joy before the moment had faded, and keeping it going. This guy wasn't just taking advantage of the atmosphere, but also giving it a second wind.

If you were standing in Cockermouth at around 15:50 today, then it was a great day to be a member of the human race. There might be no God, there may be disaster elsewhere in life, and vultures out to get you at the first opportunity. But whoever we are, whatever we are, this was a moment when it felt like everyone was on the same side. Even one of the cops was riding past on his motorbike hi-fiving the crowd. After all, what else was there for a peacekeeper to do here?

It was a bit like Wordsworth's house. The focus that the whole show had been built around was just not what it was all about. But of course, you wouldn't know that if you'd decided to stay away and carry on normally.

As the crowd dispersed and presumably started going on rides and things, my mum and I began our search for where our bus stop had been relocated to.

Back at base, it seemed that those who had earlier downplayed the idea had gone to see the flame after all! We'd all been spread-out through various towns in this part of Cumbria, and now we were excitedly comparing notes and enthusing about what a great feel-good experience the whole thing had been!

And the moral of today's post is this: Enjoy life. And while you're about it, maybe give some thought to also enjoying the rest of the human race.

Yes, even Samsungman.

Ohhh, yeah.

Days out in Cumbria this week:

1. Keswick
2. Carlisle
3. Penrith
4. Cockermouth

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