Two weeks on from the Royal Jubilee celebrations, and I can’t quite bring myself to turn off the red, white and blue fairy lights outside my house, nor to take down the bunting. I don’t want to lose that carefree sense of fun that took over the nation’s lives, for all but the most hardened Republicans.
Cards on the table: I’m not especially a Royalist, but I do have a profound admiration for those Royals who work hard and tirelessly to do their duty for the country. I certainly wouldn’t want to swap places with the Queen. During the Jubilee period, it’s been a treat to see our national flag restored to its proper use of celebrating our national unity, rather than indicating right-wing tendencies or National Front affiliations. I hung the biggest flag I could find from my bedroom window. (“Are you doing that just to irritate Daddy?” asked my nine-year-old daughter, too perceptive for her own good of my husband’s revolutionary tendencies.)
Admittedly, the weekend of celebrations was not quite what I expected it to be. First of all, the very British but very uncooperative weather meant I didn’t get the chance to wear the long, light cotton sundress that I’d bought for the occasion in the colours of the flag. Secondly, our village decided to have a party in the recreation ground, rather than the street. To my mind, you can’t beat a street party. But we did have a jolly good time.
My best memories will be:
– laughing at the egg-catching competition on the rec (we were having so much fun that we didn’t realise the showers had turned into torrents until it was finished)
– snuggling under a blanket in front of a log fire with my daughter Laura, slightly steaming as we dried off after said village party, as we watched the Royal Flotilla (also in pouring rain)
– a frisson of pleasure watching the Queen and her inner circle start jigging up and down to the sounds of the Sailors’ Hornpipe played by the floating Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
– being astonished by the colour and imagination of the Jubilee-themed Flower Festival at the local church
– trekking up to our village’s Beacon Bonfire and spotting the next one at Uley, 10 miles or so away
After all, the whole point of a Beacon Bonfire is to be seen from afar, and send a kind of Mexican wave of bonfires across the length and breadth of the nation. And for a moment there, the nation felt just like a close-knit village. It was a fabulous feeling, and I really hope we don’t have to wait another 60 years to feel that way again. God Save The Queen!
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