Perspective: Olympic torches are hot property

I’VE been having one of those funny feeling moments. You know what I mean: something happens and one just knows that the subject will surface in one guise or another time after time.

This one involves the Olympic torch. I was in Cornwall last week when the symbolic torch set off from Land’s End on its journey around the UK.

Very quickly the local news was all about a row over whether the torch should be carried over the Tamar Bridge by a relay runner or taken across in a van to avoid snarling up traffic.

The powers-that-be decided on the van option but that sparked a storm of protest and they changed their minds.

Soon after that, the flame went out as the torch was carried by another runner and had to be hastily relit.


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Then I arrived home to find there were mutterings of unease over some of the people chosen to take part in the national relay offering their torches for sale to the highest bidder on eBay – usually with their Olympic uniforms thrown in – even before they had done their stint.

Someone was said to have made more than �120,000 from the sale of their torch – although the money had yet to be paid – while others were looking at making gains of a few thousand or even only a few hundred.

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As more and more torches were going up for auction, their earning power was plummeting.

I can’t make my mind up whether it is simply the good old capitalist system at work and good luck to the people seeing an opening to make a quick buck or they are a greedy bunch of money grabbers who should do the honourable thing and not cash in but keep their torches as mementos of an historic event.

Perhaps my feelings might be influenced by the fact that I did not attempt to get myself on the list of 8,000 people chosen to carry the potentially valuable torches on the flame’s journey towards London. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I’m now waiting for the next unscheduled torch event to happen.

I notice that a new acronym has been created thanks to the Olympic torch. It is TST which stands for Torch Security Team, made up of around 70 police staff and officers specially assembled to help protect the flame and the people carrying it.

Half of them are ‘runners’ whose job it is to form a protective bubble around the torch bearers whenever they are on the road.

And for these protectors it will mean running up to 30 miles a day, so they could end up as real flatfoots.

I’ve always thought ‘elevenses’ to be a clumsy word, but it may not be around for much longer if some so-called ‘experts’ have their way.

Apparently, a lot of people are starting work earlier than they did a few years ago so those mid-morning hunger pangs are coming along earlier.

And that has prompted some people to advocate abolishing elevenses and instead having energy boosting ‘tenses’ – which sounds even worse to me.

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