Red, White, and Blue – 2 June 2012
Scroll down for photos of Mallow Park’s preparations.
Those three colours: red, white, and blue. They’re everywhere, from newspapers to lampposts. Two weeks ago, they were in the skies as the Red Arrows flew over Windsor, and you can’t go anywhere without seeing a Union Flag displayed in a window. Adopted 200 years ago, it’s cooler than ever now, as the country celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend and continues to follow the Olympic Flame’s route as the ‘cheese grater’ torch travels around the country.
Only the most churlish of republicans could suppress a little delight at the sight of junior school children in patriotic outfits and handmade crowns, marching proudly yesterday morning. Some of my peers posted photos of their younger siblings dressed up ahead of picnics on their school fields, while one London teacher took to Twitter to express her own delight at the wonderfulness of teaching on such special days.
“The looks of joy & excitement of all my kids at school as they tucked into the party food for the Jubilee-magic-the best bit of teaching :-D”
— Sandra Lerman, Twitter post, 1 June 2012
But the Diamond Jubilee weekend is only just getting started. Here in my hometown of Maidenhead, the area’s annual free party (a fraction of its former size, now wholly on the main central park) has been moved back by a week, to coincide with the national celebrations. All weekend, the Maidenhead Carnival will offer entertainment, amusement, and fun, along with a brilliant opportunity for local charities to raise thousands of pounds. The stage, on which I performed last year, was being set up in a new location as I walked through Kidwell’s Park on Thursday morning, and other preparations including the construction of the dodgems were also under way.
Tomorrow (Sunday), I’ll be running the PA system at the Mallow Park Street Party, though I’m hoping to pop down briefly to my church’s celebration on Norfolk Road. It’s going to be a busy day, but one that will be extremely enjoyable. Outside my front door, we’ve 500m of bunting, multiple marquees, and plenty of food, not to mention an amazing raffle and a good number of games planned, all to help us celebrate 60 years of reign in style. Though ‘Heavy Rain’ is forecast, nothing (short of any real danger presented by the weather) can stop us having fun: if anything, the precipitation will only add to the British authenticity.
Meanwhile, my mate Jake will be on the banks of the Thames in London, witnessing the River Pageant, which will see a thousand craft – both grand, large boats like the Royal Barge, and Britain’s own “Tupperware Navy” of people messing around – take to the water. It is set to be a truly awesome event.
Looking ahead to the start of next week, and I’m excited for Gary Barlow’s concert in front of Buckingham Palace on Monday night, which will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC One HD, and Radio 2. Then on Tuesday, the Queen will travel in the Royal Carriage through the streets of London in a procession route that will, for sure, be watched from the roadsides by thousands.
I have, however, still a large amount of work to do today – due to revision for other subjects, I haven’t touched my History books despite my exams in that subject being a week on Tuesday, and though it’s half term next week, I’m doing a canoeing / kayaking course during the main part of the week, so I won’t have as much time to revise a century of European history as one may at first imagine.
But to everyone, may you all have a very happy and safe (if soggy!) Diamond Jubilee weekend.