Posted in Personal life, Writing

Queen, Cousin, Bishop – My Topical Take on Rock, Paper, Scissors

October cover of Tetbury Advertiser
The esteemed editor draws attention to my column on this month’s cover with a patriotic shout-out for HRH

In my October column for the Tetbury Advertiser, I invented a topical equivalent to the traditional playground game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”

Was I the only person holding their breath last month till the moment the Queen officially became our country’s longest serving monarch? Knowing my Scottish husband’s Republican tendencies, I kept to myself my anxiety that the Queen would fall at the last fence (a metaphor of which she would surely approve), until my daughter (12) piped up out of the blue “So exactly what time did the old King die? I don’t want to celebrate too soon.”

No matter what your political beliefs, you’d have to be hardhearted not to feel pleased on Her Majesty’s behalf. I always love feeling that I’m living through a historical landmark moment that will be chronicled by historians and taught in the classroom to future generations of schoolchildren. No monarch is an island, and her achievement surely touches us all, in the same way that we can’t help but feel a little fillip of excitement (no, not that sort of Philip) and ownership when our country wins a major sporting award, even if we take usually take no interest in the game.

Cousin Trumps Queen

Nina and Laura together
My grandma’s cousin Nina, now 99, with my daughter Laura, sharing the family smile and pose

But the Queen’s longevity was dwarfed a few days later by our visit to my late grandmother’s cousin Nina (99). On our journey to her elegant seaside apartment (I think HRH would feel right at home there), it occurred to me that at the time of the Queen’s coronation, Nina would already have considered herself middle-aged, having been born during the First World War. Greeting Nina feels like hugging history. (Thank goodness that modern standards have shunted our definition of midlife to a much older age. I’m in my prime, I’ll have you know!)

Bishop Takes Cousin

A few days later, a local historic landmark put even Nina’s longevity into perspective: the consecration of Rachel Treweek as the first female Bishop of Gloucester. I caught an interview on BBC Woman’s Hour with her ecclesiastical garment designer, Polly Meynell, who observed that at her enthronement Bishop Rachel will become the first woman to wear the bishop’s cope (cloak), which has been worn exclusively by men for the last 1,000 years. I just hope she gets to launder it first.

Queen, Cousin, Bishop – there you have it. 

Cover of issue celebrating Queen's AwardIf you enjoyed this post, you might like to read my tribute to the Queens-Award-winning journal in which it appeared:

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English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

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