The Tour de France coming to Leyton – a momentous event surely. The kids were even allowed a day off school – giving the Tour the same weight as the recent Royal Wedding.
I scanned the route for the best vantage point which by coincidence happened to be the closest part of the stage to home – the corner out of Orient Way into Ruckholt Road. The tour scooting over land owned by the Knights Templar and across the old manor of Ruckholts.
We sat by the roadside for 2 hours being pelted with cheap merchandise. My son was hit in the throat with a bag and my head was narrowly missed by an aggressively hurled box of Yorkshire Tea.
We’d been promised a good show. Somebody I knew even said the caravan was the best bit. A flotilla of 8 foot tall Fruit Shoot bottles hurtled by at breakneck speed.
There were some white rabbits – stares fixed straight ahead.
One van blared out Gangnam Style – “Still!!” exclaimed my 8 year-old son.
The leaders zipped past in a blink of an eye. Impressive.
Then the peloton was upon us like a swarm of angry hornets – a blur upon the retina, an optical illusion, we couldn’t even turn our heads to see them round the bend into Ruckholt Road. We didn’t get the hoped for pile up – darn it. There’d been a grape rolling around in the road moments before that we’d hoped would slide under the tyres.
“Well that wasn’t worth it”, my 8 year old declared.
“Oh well, it’ll be something to tell your grandchildren”, I attempted to console them, “the day the Tour de France came to Leyton”.