When it’s announced that Le Tour de France will be passing almost past your doorstep, do you think a farmer would:
(a) complain that they can’t get into certain fields because the road is going to be closed for the whole day to keep it clear for some cyclists
(b) decide that if the biggest cycle race in the world is coming through, then maybe they could forget farming for the day and watch the race?
Naturally, first of all our farmer chose (a) and a few weeks later succumbed to (b).
Yesterday, as Le Tour gathered outside the magnificent surroundings of Kings College in Cambridge we bundled into the Land Rover, drove down the fields and scrambled through the hedge to find the best spot to watch the spectacle. On the green, gazebos had been put up, garden chairs dragged to the verge and an elevated viewing platform had been made on the tailgate of a horsebox. People arrived on foot and a variety of bicycles from sleek racing cycles to old bikes still dusty from storage; one couple cycled up on a tandem and Mrs Egg arrived on a tricycle with her two dogs sitting in a box attached to the back. It was all very British.
We ate our picnic and waved to the caravan of vehicles that preceded the cyclists (our policemen on motorbikes waved and beeped but the French ones were far more serious) and finally the helicopters were spotted in the distance.
Soon the cyclists came into view and we clapped and cheered
as they whizzed past in a blur of lycra and spinning wheels. Thirty seconds later they’d all disappeared.
Somehow it didn’t matter that it was over so quickly because we had such a good time and quite frankly, I don’t suppose anything this big will ever happen around here again.