Friday, June 08, 2012


The Diamond Jubilee. A chance to wave some flags, put up the bunting and enjoy a very long weekend. For us it involved a trip to the family caravan in North Yorkshire, where we had enjoyed ourselves so much for the Golden Jubilee ten years ago.

Before we left for Yorkshire Meredith had been to a Jubilee party at her nursery, and had been given several explanations as to who the Queen actually was and why the Jubilee was taking place. She was very excited at the thought of a party for a Queen, though it did need some clarification that the Queen wouldn't be coming to our party in person. We even came up with a Jubilee chant that she could sing as she shook her red, white and blue pom poms.

It was all set up very nicely, but unfortunately the weather had something to say. As it rained on all those boats in the Thames Pageant, so it rained on our little caravan in Yorkshire, and we began to regret not taking more warm clothing. We even had to pop into Ripon to buy an extra jumper for Meredith, such was the icy chill! Thoughts of a pleasant summer weekend spent in the garden sipping cold drinks began to morph somewhat into a reality of peering out into the drizzle and wondering if the bunting would survive the winds that night.

Nevertheless we still had a great time and, thankfully, it all began to dry out on Monday, which was the day we had set aside for celebrating the Jubilee in the traditional Amberry manner - with a surfeit of food and drink! Michelle did us proud with a superb table full of buffet food, including a deconstructed (child friendly) coronation chicken.

After the food we watched some of the concert at Buckingham Palace, having made the decision to keep Meredith up late. We wanted her to see the beacons being lit, as if there was anything she would be likely to remember from the celebrations it would be something on that scale. So, as it approached 10pm we left the van and headed out through the village, where the local Jubilee party was in full swing, towards the open ground of Roomer Common, above Masham. It was nearly dark when we arrived and joined a few dozen locals waiting for 10:15 when the beacon would be lit.

A deep orange moon hung full in the sky and we watched the pinpricks of distant beacons flicker into life across the Vale of York. The moment came and the torch met the base of the beacon. The beacon went up in a matter of moments, bringing a definite warmth to the chill Yorkshire night.

We stood and enjoyed the spectacle, though there was something missing from it all, namely a big shout of 'hurrah!' or a resounding three cheers. I suppose the British reserve is at its most reserved in deepest Yorkshire, but it would have been good to acknowledge the beacon a bit more than we did. In the end everyone sort of drifted back to their cars and disappeared off in their own directions.

We stayed on the Common for a bit, talking about our weekend and waiting for the fireworks to begin over Masham in the distance. Meredith was still wide awake and as we watched the little flashes of light from the comfort of the car. It could have been a bit of a washout, but in the end the Jubilee lived up to expectations - a long weekend of bunting, flags and relaxing with the family - and a very memorable one at that.

God Save the Queen!


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