I’m a bit late with this post, seeing as the Diamond Jubilee celebrations were a couple of weeks ago. But better late than never. Mrs P and I did go up to see the sights and soak up the atmosphere. And soak up even more rain. We were just in the right place at the right time at a street party in Piccadilly – Prince Charles and Camilla appeared from the doorway of a hotel and had tea. Just a few feet from us. It made Mrs P’s day.
A little later, during the river pageant, we found ourselves in just the right place at the right time again – in a French restaurant watching it on television. We were just metres from the Thames and could hear the boats and crowds. We had a great view and completely avoided the thorough drenching that afflicted everyone else.
We hadn’t planned to go all that way just to sit in a restaurant, of course. I had assumed that, as the pageant was to sail along seven miles of river, we’d find a decent viewpoint. I mean, seriously…how could we not, with 14 miles worth of riverside to find a spot? It turns out that 1.25 million people is actually quite a lot, and every vantage point was taken hours before it even began. That is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. By far.
We did get a nice spot for the concert on Monday night though – the video at the bottom of this post shows the finale – a bit of Paul McCartney, the national anthem, lighting the beacon and then a pretty spectacular fireworks display. We weren’t that close to the front, but we had a good view of a big screen, the sound system was excellent and the atmosphere was great. Best of all, it didn’t rain.
We really enjoyed the weekend. It made having a Royal Family worthwhile. Briefly. I have one thought on how it can be improved any future jubilees she may choose for us to celebrate. The next one, incidentally, would be her Platinum Jubilee in ten years time. Assuming she gives the 65th, Blue Sapphire, year a miss. Assuming that jubilees follow the same pattern as weddings, which they seem to be doing.
But back to my thought. In the UK, when the national anthem is played, we play just the first verse. That’s it. There are five verses, but we stick to just the first verse. Everyone knows the words to the first verse. Good save our gracious queen, long live our noble queen, god save the queen. Tra la la la la, send her victorious, happy and glorious, long to reign over us, god save the queen. We stop there. For good reason. No one has any idea what the words to any of the other verses are.
But for some strange reason, it was decided that two verses would be played throughout the jubilee celebrations. Which lead to awkward moments. Firstly, at the end of the first verse everyone would start cheering and clapping. And then abruptly stop, a little embarrassed, when it was realised the band had struck up again. Followed by an awkward silence. Followed by mumbling and miming. Followed by more embarrassed clapping at the end. So next time, dear Queen….just one verse. Please. I have a few photos on Flickr here, and a load more on Instagram here.