Saturday, 4 August 2012

Next weekend the Olympics are here!

OK, so I don't live in Stratford or overlook Houseguards Parade but next weekend we get an Olympic event down here, at Hadleigh Castle, it's the mountain biking event.  If you live in this corner of Essex you will see the cyclists out each Sunday and know at which cafes they eat their bacon sarnies or in the case of the Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club, part of the Olympic legacy which wine bar (Ten Green Bottles, since you ask) that they meet up at on a Monday evening... these chaps and chapesses are hardy souls who go out in pristine lycra and return muddied but with an amazing glow for their pints or cups of tea... it is really tempting to join them as they cycle around the castle which is on Hadleigh farm owned by the Salvation Army.
As you can see the castle has actually fallen down due a fault which runs along the coast here and is responsible for some of the subsidence along the coast but it is such a pretty spot looking across the Estuary, especially when the cows from the farm are grazing there.
The prep for the mountain biking has been gathering apace, first there was the logo of the cyclist on the floor of the ticket hall at the station, flags up the road appeared, each morning from the train the tented village and stands grew.  Next came the signage... yes, we all giggled when we saw them but we all seemed to walk a little taller when we spotted them.
Then the sculptures began to appear... firstly the one on the roundabout near the farm.
Next and possibly my favourite, the statue opposite the Salvation Army Citadel (who own the farm) which has bricks from the brick work they once ran and features a little girl on a tricycle... much like my red and blue Triang trike which I used to ride to terrorise the residents of Prince Avenue.
Then it was the wicker sculptures... the kayaker at the top of my walk up Belton Way from the station.  She was sporting a bonnet the other evening...
The amazing Paralympian Tennis player at the local swimming pool where Tom Daley and the England diving team have been training.
Finally more mountain bikers along Marine Parade heading home from the action at Hadleigh Farm.  All the willow statues were made by Agata Mantaj with willow taken from local parks.

And now it seems that the Olympics really are coming.

This post is dedicated to my mum, who thumped several bells out of our sofas over the years watching sports.  She rode her bicycle from 12 to age 83 and would have been thrilled to think that the sports were coming so close to her.  She loved sports in any guise, listening to boxing on the radio in the middle of the night, drawing curtains to reduce glare on the TV when she watched the tennis and my favourite memory of her watching her beloved athletics whilst ironing... and yes, that is why I iron for England.  Thanks Mum!


KC'sCourt! said...

Hadleigh castle hasn't changed much, I remember in the early seventies when the excavated it, not sure what they found though.
I used to catch the train from there to Fenchurch Street for work.
Julie xxxxx

Wendy said...

Wow - it's amazing how sports have inspired artists. Wonderful to see the amazing work. My dad was a very keen cyclist and on his 70th birthday rode from Warrington to Norht Wales and back for a morning out. He's now 84 and unfortunately has memory problems, but he is still very much enjoying the cycling events on TV.

Christmas Pie Crafts said...

One of the most exciting parts of the Olympics is how it has been spread around the country and has given so many people the chance to see events that they might not otherwise have been able to go to. The wicker sculptures are amazing - so clever to be able to manipulate this material into such fabulous shapes/designs.

Unknown said...

Update! The Olympic flags have now appeared on the Broadway, so I now have flags fluttering at the bottom of my road :)

Fiddly Fingers said...

Some fantastic sculptures in your neck of the woods! I must admit to rather enjoying the Olympics despite not being a fan beforehand!