On the way down to the barricades on Thursday afternoon, I learned there had been a distinct lack of action on the bull-running front, and that while the overcast conditions might have suited bovine activity, the light wasn’t going to be too good as far as filming was concerned.
When the clouds began to lift around three o’clock, the word went out - tentatively at first, since nothing had been confirmed - and there would have been a flood of mobile phone calls and text messages sent advising acquaintances of possible action.
When Security started moving people well away from the area where the cattle would be running and the vehicles parked in George Street were gradually being moved away, things were looking good.
Then came the complication. There was a silver car parked near a traffic island, and Security had been unable to locate the owner, so that put the kibosh on Plan A.
Plan B, which involved a smaller number of cattle moving around the Grand View corner was invoked, but if dramatic impact called for a herd moving around the corner at a fair clip, it seemed likely that there would be another attempt the following day.
Arriving onsite around ten-thirty on Friday morning the light looked promising, but there seemed little likelihood of Pamplona till much later in the day. Most of the cars parked in yesterday’s problem area were, according to Volunteer scuttlebutt, vehicles associated with the film crew, which removed one potential stumbling block.
Around twelve, the crew broke for lunch the watchers dispersed for refreshment, and the place was practically deserted. At around five past one I was quietly minding my own business on the Bowen Furniture corner when I overheard one of the Security guys speaking into the two-way. They’ll be around in forty minutes.
Crossing the road, to warn the rest of the Volunteer group about the prospect, I noticed a woman who seemed, for some reason strangely familiar. It took a while to figure it out, but since she turned out to be the mother of a student I taught for about three days in 1976 being able to put a name to the face was, in my humble opinion, a pretty fair achievement.
At least that activity gave me something to occupy my mind while the countdown continued, and when one forty-five rolled past without incident, frequent inquiries regarding an ETA were invariably met with Ten minutes.
In the end Ten minutes stretched to some time around three-thirty and someone nearby was expressing the opinion that we were set for another disappointment when I noticed heads appearing over the crest on the other side of Jochheim’s Pie Shop. Within seconds the mob came into view...
As they rounded the Bowen Furnishing corner the whips were cracking and the last couple of photos in the gallery were taken just before they hit the red dirt beside the Grand View and the dust machine kicked into action.