Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Southern Jubilee

The Southern Jubilee 

It mattered not that the tea shoppe ran out of scones well before half past noon and, though disappointed, the enthusiasm of the crowd remained high when the last fish and chips dinner disappeared not long after.  The insurmountable challenge of our geographical distance from authenticity was not once mentioned.  We came to celebrate and for one bright, sunny, and blessedly cool afternoon we were all British, and happy to be so.
The grounds of the picturesque old college teemed with attendees in extravagant hats and costumes.  Bentleys and Rolls were parked curbside and The Beatles were blasted from speakers.  It was an event best enjoyed by giving humour free reign while at the same time keeping one’s sense of irony firmly in check, a feat difficult to master when Southern drawls could be heard emanating from kilt-wearing souvenir hawkers and meat pie sellers alike.  The Commonwealth was well represented by Indian dancers in colourful saris and Tonganese twirlers in grass skirts and bone necklaces.  There was an egg and spoon race, as well as a three-legged one and the announcer sounded suspiciously like Jonathan Ross.  A cricket match was played in the stone seated arena after which versions of the same sentence were uttered over and over like a mantra, ...
 “I simply cannot understand that game!”. 
 But at least we tried.
The Welsh tent had the friendliest workers.  The Scots had bagpipers.
The Indians gave us free mango juice.
The Irish had the best tea towels.
And at two o’clock on the dot we all lined up, some fighting back giggles, as a polished black car rolled up to deposit “the Queen”, a most surreal sight to be sure. We watched in amazement as an elderly lady in an embroidered gold dress negotiated her way down the grassy hill between two rows of pipers lustily playing Scotland The Brave.  To the discerning eye, the look on her face revealed she had been vigorously talked into this, but she managed a frozen smile and an unpracticed wave as she passed.  In her wake came several lovely ladies in princess dresses as well as, quite inexplicably, two tall creatures in microscopic blue skirts who were immediately dubbed, The Bond Girls.  A mother was overheard leaning down to her little boy and saying, “Look!  There’s the Queen!”, at which point the father sputtered and said, “For God’s sake, don’t tell him that!!  He’ll grow up thinking he actually saw The Queen!”.  
Like I said, surreal.
I am sorry to report that we left before this Southern version of Her Majesty made it all the way down the promenade to her throne, but as I was told it consisted of nothing more than a red folding chair and a couple of ferns, I don’t think we missed too much.
True, it was an event that enabled even those devoid of wit to conjure a bon mot or two.  It was silly, perhaps, in the extreme.  But in its own way, it was also a celebration of a marvelous sixty year reign- a day full of good will, a day with more than its fair share of smiles and, despite ourselves, we rather enjoyed it.
God Save The Queen.
Both of them.


  1. a nice giggle for the end of my day...thanks Pamela.

  2. Sounds delightful, oh to be a fly on the wall at that shindig.

    Thank you both for your lovely visit Pamela & Edward.


  3. That sounds lovely! It's so nice to hear that people everywhere are joining in the fun. I hope that elderly lady enjoyed being Queen for a day!

  4. What a fun event and such good sports participating in the festivities. Did Edward get to come?

  5. I was glued to the television yesterday and watched the CNN and BBC coverage. What a splendid event! The flotilla looked like something from the age of Queen Elizabeth I. I was so inspired by all the history. Congratulations to the Queen, 60 years is truly impressive!

  6. oh you are so good!
    i was there.
    well. i was reading your blog. but because of you, i felt i was there.
    best line...
    "for God's sake...don't tell him that! he'll grow up thinking he actually saw the queen!"
    still laughing.
    cheers duckie!
    tammy j

  7. I missed it -- so I doubly appreciated this!!

  8. ahhhh- only in the South, and you know what I mean. God Save the Queen! pgt

  9. It sounds as if your Jubilee celebrations were great fun. Certainly less wet than the London ones !

  10. Its the details of our lives I think that in some respects make the impact. Its only once in a while the big picture matters. I loves these photos of the details.
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  11. I have watched most of the celebrations on the television as it has been a cold, wet weekend here. I must say I was impressed by HM's stamina - I do hope she hasn't caught a cold. Very impressive here I can tell you Pamela.

  12. Love hearing about everyone's jubilee celebrations!

  13. Very cute account of the day, Pamela and another wonderful portrait to pin!!


    Art by Karena

  14. Fabulous! I loved the Jubilee celebration!

    Thanks for the good wishes for our trip - on our way Fri. and hope to capture the beauty that is southern Africa to bring back and share with all.

    Hugs - Mary

  15. It sounds a lot of fun - how nice to think that people in the US are joining our celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee:)

  16. Very cute account of the day, Pamela and another wonderful portrait to pin!! xoxo Karena Art by Karena


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