diamond geezer

 Monday, June 13, 2016

The Queen was 90 fifty days ago, but the weather is supposedly better in June so the official birthday celebrations were held back until this weekend. On Friday she went to a commemorative service, Saturday was the usual Trooping the Colour plus a flypast, and yesterday saw a big street party along The Mall. Called The Patron's Lunch, its aim was to celebrate all the good works done by the hundreds of charities whose patron is the Queen. And it did this by charging each charity £1500 for a trestle table and some nibbles.

The Mall was sealed off overnight so that seventeen hundred tables could be laid out, with a central strip left free to allow the ceremonial to take place. Those with invites were asked to turn up from 10am, so they could all be bodyscanned before potentially meeting a member of the Royal Family, despite no part of the outdoor event kicking off before noon. Whatever they left the house in, by the time they arrived it was raining, and some were already regretting their choice of garb. One bloke in short sleeves and sunglasses dripped alongside his cocktail dressed wife, while others had been so intent to turn up in kilts that they'd given no thought to weather protection whatsoever. The organisers had decreed in advance that umbrellas were banned, presumably for reasons of visibility, so some guests had turned up in ponchos made from binbags before getting their hands on the officially sanctioned semi-transparent version.



For those not fortunate, or rich, enough to have got their hands on a ticket, an alternative means of celebration had been arranged. Were this a football tournament they'd have been called Fan Zones, such are the kind of hardened groupies these places attract, but here they were called Live Sites. And so the devoted found themselves either at the top of Green Park or in the middle of St James's Park, depending on which side of The Mall they were approaching from, with little chance of ever getting round the cordon to the other side. On their way they were greeted by the free Union Jack disher-outers, who are always present on these royal occasions, attempting to ensure that all the flags being waved featured the name of their glossy weekly celeb lifestyle magazine.

The early birds made a beeline for one of two places, either immediately in front of the big screen or round the edge of the seating area beneath a tree. Precipitation levels over the next two hours suggested that those who'd grabbed the limited under-branch space had made the wiser choice. Red, white and blue hats, brollies and jackets were much in evidence, while one middle aged couple sat in beach chairs wearing gold paper crowns as if they were on the throne themselves. A lot of those present were ladies of retirement age, in groups, but many families had also turned up en masse to bear witness to the magic of the monarchy.

There was nothing to watch on the big screen until the event began, nothing except a carousel of marketing messages disguised as information.



At the Patron's Lunch merchandising tent business wasn't brisk for souvenir teatowels or a £7 pack of branded paper cups and plates. All the Celebration Makers seemed busy talking to each other, perhaps because there was as yet nothing to explain, occasionally pausing to hand out a telecommunications-themed flag. The Green Tea Monkey was somewhere inaccessible, which was a shame for anyone hoping urgently for a hot drink. The Entrepreneurs weren't doing a roaring trade, which hopefully taught these youthful trainees about the substantial meteorological risk involved in flogging ice cream in summer. But the company with the most to gain, or lose, was Marks and Spencer.

M&S had taken on the responsibility of providing the contents of the celebration hampers handed out to all the paying guests, an uncollated version of which was available in their pop up shop. This sounded good, but was in truth a temporary room lined with chiller cabinets and racks of crisps, plus a central slalom area leading to the tills. Here you could purchase Four Nations sandwiches and crown-topped pork pies with piccalilli, as well as more ordinary sandwiches (naturally including coronation chicken). To their credit, the price of each item was the same as you'd pay in a supermarket, even down to the 3 for 2 offer on the sandwiches and the half price strawberry punnets. But it was the bottles of soft drink that were selling best, perhaps because the Pimm's tent hadn't yet opened.



As the rain continued to pour down, I left the revellers to it, fleeing past further hordes of charity representatives queueing in uniforms, plastic sheeting and red trousers. They'd need their standard issue ponchos once the event officially began, the precipitation only easing off shortly before the royal walkabout. And by the time the fuchsia pink queen trundled back down The Mall from saying her few words the sun had even come out, and for long enough to allow the parade to take place unsplattered. The spectacle was probably best seen at home on TV, where at least there was a functioning kettle if not the opportunity to shake a minor royal's hand, plus a red button option to turn off the obsequious commentary.

By 5pm the staff in Westfield's M&S were marking down the pork pies and the smoked salmon in the Patron's Lunch chiller cabinet to half price, and a herd of bargain hunters crowded round to grab some birthday swag for tea. The curtain has now come down on this weekend of official celebration, and ardent monarchists must wait some time for an event of similar magnitude. The Queen's 95th probably won't be celebrated with such gusto, if she gets that far, overshadowed by the potential Platinum Jubilee the following year. As for the possibility of reaching the birthday where she gets to send a telegram to herself, best not enter into undue speculation at this time. But let's hope it's hampers and carriages again next time, whenever that might be.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Saturday 10 December (1-3pm)
Bow Church Christmas Fair
Festive fair with mulled wine & music at St Mary's in Bow.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv