Fair reader, here is what I have learned about the Diamond Jubilee:
1) The Queen (and all her fellow royals) is and are dead impressive, and do a very good job waving at stuff and standing about looking interested in things which are plainly very dull;
2) As a loyal subject, one should turn up and give their celebrations a shufty;
3) One can do this after having a family emergency and driving 400 miles in a single day: BUT ONE SHOULDN’T.
I say this third because unfortunately a family friend died on Jubilee Saturday. Because of the blog, we felt obliged to both say our farewells and watch the flotilla, and this was a bad idea, for all sorts of reasons. For the purposes of this blog, the main problem was that immediately after the 400 mile drive resulted in the poor beloved spouse coming over all peculiar. I took him home, where he proceeded to stay mainly bedridden for three days. So we did what most of the nation did and watched it on the telly. Unlike the rest of the nation, Spouse did this and built an R2-D2 in Lego, but that’s just the way he rolls.
Anyway, I have learned a lot about going to one of these events just from our abortive attempt to watch the flotilla, which in the run up to the Olympics I thought might be useful to share.
1) Goodness me, you’ve got to get there early. We set off at 9:30 for London Bridge so we could watch the Grand Finale at 4:30. We managed to get somewhere to stand, by luck as much as judgement, but we were damn close to missing it altogether.
2) You’ve actually got to do some planning. By which I mean, you need to find out what tube stops and walkways are going to be open. As a general rule, we found that any direct route that a normal person would take was firmly sectioned off and policed by volunteers who could only tell you where you weren’t allowed to go, not where you could. Thus, the centre of London began to take on the shuffling look of a mass refugee exodus.
3) Like a boy scout, you’ve got to be prepared. I’m talking packed lunches. I’m talking seating. I’m talking weather protection. I’m NOT talking any kind of fluid (what one imbibes one must eventually expel, and therein lies queueing). And especially, I’m talking practical and unattractive footwear.
4) One must expect as little as possible from one’s fellow man. I’m sorry to have to say this, I really am. But honestly, we both encountered a great deak if rydeness: pushing in, elbows out, general infringements of one’s personal space. Best to expect to be poked about with sticks throughout the celebration, and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen, I found.
5) In stark contrast to 1-4, have fun. Despite the driving rain, physical infirmity and general bad temper, actually, spouse and me had a right laugh. From eating “Queen Elizabeth Sponge” on the tube (“its what she would have wanted”, remarked a fellow passenger), to joining in rousing choruses of “God save the Queen” whenever the anti-Monarchist protesters were kicked into action by the press, spouse and I had a right laugh.
It was only when I insisted I take spouse home that I realised how ill he was. He was struggling to walk, poor love, and was still asking whether I had enough to blog about. Based on the four hours of exposure to the wind, rain and eccentricities of all those, foreign and domestic, who had come to salute the Queen and her lovely flotilla, we still managed to have a good time.
Anyway, apologies for lack of content on here over the last month of so. I propose to make June a royal themed month, with July themed around sport. And for any keen eyed readers who have wondered where the heck I was in May, here’s the blog I did for Anglo-info all about the Eurovision Song Contest.