Fire Comes To Barnet

The Olympic Flame passed through our borough today, in a brief carnival of sponsorship. Interestingly, it didn’t actually pass through the part of the borough which gives the borough its name. It started at Wembley, went through Hendon – where, quite coincidentally, the Council are – up through Finchley and North Finchley. Granted, it was heading in the direction of Barnet, but at the top of the High Road in Whetstone it made a sharp right, down Friern Barnet Lane to the old Town Hall, then a sharp left, past the top of our road, and headed off in the direction of Enfield. As I write this, it’s in Tottenham, on its crooked way to Alexandra Palace, where it will rest tonight.

A lot of people turned out. I walked down from Whetstone about an hour before the torch arrived and the streets, as they say, were lined with people. It was a very hot day here today, and there was something of a party atmosphere.

This being the Olympics, we were not far from Sponsorship. The sponsors’ buses arrived first – I presume on the basis that if they’d come behind the torch, which is after all incidental, people might have started to go home and missed the chance to be reminded about Coca-Cola.

Finally, the torch arrived, along with its grey-clad minders.

The Flame was transferred to another runner – a procedure I’m informed is known as ‘kissing.’

And then it was gone. Forty minutes later, the street was almost empty. Odd kind of day.


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