I don’t know about you, but I’m all Jubileed out. An average time of 7 hours a day over four days in front of the telly watching the Royal Family, the crowds, the bunting, the rain, with drink or snacks in one hand and the other one free to enable me to count how many times I saw the Queen smile – it was all very exhausting.
The general goodwill towards the sovereign was plain to see, my only beef being the way the commentary was tackled by the BBC. There was no doubting the keenness of the worthy broadcasting corporation’s team to outdo each other with enthusiasm, both in the studio as well as at the many chosen locations where they kept popping up to tell you how EXCITING it all was.
A pattern was quickly established on the day of the pageant on the Thames, where it was obvious that some of the commentators – the ones who spoke the most - had brushed up on a few superlative adjectives and expressions which they flogged to death, but not on their UK history.
Thus we had Admiral Horatio Nelson’s hat being made specially for the battle of Waterloo instead of Trafalgar; incorrect information on the warship HMS Belfast; the monarch herself given the wrong title; the 79 year old Princess Elizabeth Locomotive referred to as a steam train, and very ancient boats specially spruced up for the occasion with nary a mention of their history.
At times enthusiasm gave way to excited hysteria and the rich and varied vocabulary for which this marvellous language is known, disappeared in the wind and the rain…
Studio: “And so this iconic occasion is rendered even more exciting by the presence of so many boats on the water – I couldn’t POSSIBLY count them, there must be well over ten thousand out there. Such a wonderful atmosphere, and JUST like the Canaletto painting...
Canaletto's painting and last Sunday on the Thames
(With thanks to facebook.com#!_SocietysChoice)
...I hope you’ll all go to Greenwich to see it, it’s so superb, so iconic, to see all those boats on the water today just as Canaletto painted them in – er, all those years ago. And we see the flags proudly flying on all the buildings today, all wishing our iconic Queen a happy Diamond Jubilee. On this historic occasion which is so atmospheric it’s an honour and a privilege to be speaking to all of you today to tell you how excited we are to be seeing this wonderful spectacle. Now over to you Anneka, how’s it going on Millenium Bridge?
Anneka (with a finger in one ear): “Yes, here we are on Millenium Bridge – or as I like to call it the “Arts and Crafts Bridge” (toothy grin). “The Royal Barge is some way away yet, but we’re busy here with lots of artists painting their Canalettos of this wonderful iconic day. Ooh dear it’s beginning to rain – back to you Sophie.”
Studio: “And now over to Fred who is on a boat near the Houses of Parliament.” Fred – how’s it out there on the water?”
Fred (from a wobbling boat): “Well, here we are in the rain, but we’re not going to let it get us down, oh no, this is too iconic a day for that. There are some boats nearby, er, not sure who they are, oh yes, I see now, they’re sea cadets. Well done. Such an atmosphere…” (turns his back to the camera) “ – back to you Sophie.”
Studio: “I’m afraid the weather is getting rather wet – well out there anyway. And there we see the Queen looking radiant and smiling (Wot? Have I missed something?) She’s obviously really enjoying this atmospheric day. There’s the Royal Standard proudly flying over the Royal Barge, such a historic occasion, 350 years since the last Thames Pageant. It looks just like the Canaletto painting, doesn’t it? At least, except for the rain that is. Back to Anneka on Millenium Bridge.
Anneka: (now covered almost completely in waterproof gear). “Well we’re all a bit wetter, but there’s a wonderful atmosphere here on this iconic day, and here we are on the Millenium Bridge, or as I like to call it the "Arts and Crafts Bridge”. (Toothy grin) Here’s Barry, who’s painted a lovely picture – ooh Barry where’s your picture?”
Barry: “I’ve had to put it away or it’ll dissolve…But it’s been such an honour and a privilege to be here on this atmospheric day…”
Anneka: “Absolutely. How about you Marie?”
Marie: “Well I’ll show it to you, I’m sure I can rescue the wet bits when I get home…”
Studio taking over: “So we leave Anneka there, and go over to the Royal Barge with its proudly flying Royal Standard, and where the Royal Family are enjoying some choirs singing from another boat. Singing in the Rain, presumably?”
All terribly iconic and atmospheric. Canaletto would have been proud.
Well, that’s my highly disrespectful take on it. Truth is the organisation and the clockwork precision of the whole four days was astonishing – I think the UK do it better than anyone in the world.
The Queen and Prince Philip (aged 86 and 90 respectively) stood for the 4 hours on the boat, despite beautiful plush seats being provided for them – and the following day the Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to hospital with an infection probably hastened by the conditions on the previous day. They’re both stoics, no doubt about it, and thoroughly professional. I’ve even forgiven Her Majesty for wearing a giant teacup on her head.
(from Google Images)
Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's digital archive
May 2012 - a brief visit to Ireland
Statue of Jim Larkin
Book of Kells, Trinity College
Statue of Molly Malone
The Merry Ploughboy Pub, Rockbrook,
specialising in folk evenings with singing and Irish dancing
We watched some wonderful and stirring Irish dancing...
... and a wacky one to finish.