Little Z has been in love with the Olympics ever since Hannah Whelan visited his school where they were all taught how to do super duper amazing gymnastic flips (half a cartwheel). He’s since gone on about the Oympics in Rio about 200 million times and how he can “run like Flash” to show me how fast he can go. He is a lover of sport and really enjoys football and running and climbing. I now have to run and climb with him and we spend a lot of time looking for walls in the park or fun indoor places we can go. So it was only right that we should go to the Olympic parade when it came to Manchester this week.
As his school wouldn’t let him out early we had to really rush to try to get across Lancashire to the city, navigate our way around a partially shut city centre, find somewhere to park, and then run like Flash to get to the 4.30pm Olympic parade start at the Museum of science and industry. We didn’t quite make the start as we ended up parking at the Piccadilly end, but we did find a very nice spot to stand near the Arndale and waited with the ever growing crowd. Little Z entertained himself with the union jack and one of those huge foam hands that you know is going to really annoy you after about 15 minutes of Z poking it in your face. In our rush we had completely forgotten the big camera AND the iPhone. I luckily at least had my very old work phone with me and it had a camera on it so it would have to do.
To complete the whole Manchester atmosphere, torrential rain started as soon as the parade came round so my photos on my already mediocre camera are shockingly awful, but I’m so glad I had at least that to snap some of the athletes. The atmosphere was just electric and I’ve never seen SO many medals (or Olympic athletes…or an Olympic parade!) up close in real life. There were at least 15 or so floats driving past and Little Z didn’t really know who 90% of them were and he couldn’t understand why Hannah Whelan wasn’t there, but he watched them all and waved anytime someone waved to him. Thankfully, all the spectators were really considerate and people resisted putting their umbrellas up so everyone got soaked through but everyone got to see the athletes go by. It was definitely a bit of a once in a lifetime moment…or once in a 4 year kind of moment…I’m not sure where the parade will be next time the Olympics come round so it was definitely worth getting drenched for.
By float 15, Z was a bit fed up of being wet, even with his hood on, and kept repeating how hungry he was. The Olympic parade ended and the athletes went on to Albert square for all the media coverage that got aired on BBC. We knew there was no way we’d get a good spot so we decided to wave goodbye to the athletes and treat ourselves to Pizza Hut. The staff were lovely and welcomed all the drowned looking rats from the streets as well as their gross soaked through foam hands and other bits of Olympic paraphernalia. It’s been years since we’ve been but it was just so good to have some hot food after the cold and heavy rain. For a city that was hosting around 200,000 people for the evening, they did such a brilliant job of cleaning it all up. By the time we finished our pizza it virtually looked back to normal. Of course, I’m not sure how long the party went on at Albert Square and the MEN Arena but it didn’t take too long to get back out of the city considering all the organised chaos and the sheer numbers of people. We traipsed back with the crowds to the train station where our car was parked and then, like a good mum, I dried the yucky foam hand with the car heaters. I’m giving it a few more days before it disappears of its own accord, but we’ll keep our rubbish pictures of the Olympic parade for good I think.