Thursday, 5 May 2011

Happy and Glorious.

As I write there are only hours to go, by Saturday morning it will all be over. The bunting will be drooping, the balloons deflated, children will have been lost and hopefully found in various crowds, military members will have breathed a sigh of relief that they no longer have to bull and polish, the outfits and who wore what will have been scrutinised by countless fashion police forces and ‘the dress’ will have been metaphorically taken apart, stitch by silk threaded, stitch.
At the moment though there are just a few hours to go and I am very excited. I can’t wait to pour my first flute of pink cava and nibble the first, of what I hope will be a many and varied, bridge roll. Hubby has given up rolling his eyes and instead of asking “but why?” just Sky Plusses any Will and Kate type programme. I have studied Hello, Ok, Country Life and a plethora of newspaper articles regarding the nuptials with more dedication and zeal than my son has shown towards his ‘A’ levels – but then that is not a good analogy to illustrate commitment to a cause. My more republican friends, of whom there are far too many, all think I’ve gone potty.
“You’ve lost the plot Alice; all that recent studying has made you a little bonkers”, they say.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about”, I reply imperiously as I simultaneously re-arrange my tiara until it is just so.
“What a waste of money”, they continue.
“How so?”, I answer them, “The mood of this country has been nothing but doom and gloom for over a year; all we ever hear about is war, natural disasters, government cuts, redundancies, fear, cancer and heartache. I’ve had it up to here.”
“But the taxpayer?”
“The taxpayer will always pay tax. The powers that be will always find ever more ways of making us pay it. I am not in the slightest bit bothered that some of it is going towards paying for a show that only we Brits know how to put on. How can you be so dour about pomp and ceremony and cavalry-men and military bands and golden carriages and princes and princesses and frocks and morning suits and wedding breakfasts? How? Isn’t it so much better than hearing that yet another business has gone into liquidation or yet another poor sod has lost his job or that planned equipment for a hospital has been shelved?”
They look defiant.
“I for one”, I continue, “am looking forward to a reprieve from what has come to be the norm of pessimism. A few brief hours of fun and frivolity. All that serious stuff will be just as serious next week.” And that is all I have to say to these party-poopers. Miserable gits all of them.
On that note, this afternoon was fabulous kick start to the festivities. My youngest daughters’ school PTA decided, like many schools in the area, that it would be a lovely idea to hold a street party for them complete with queen, party frocks, bunting, sausage rolls and wedding cake. Now, when you are sitting in the pub, chewing on the end of a pencil and coming up with ideas for the PTA’s involvement, bright ideas are just that and I got quite carried away with the notion of cakes and jelly and balloons and bunting and, “Oh and we could wear hats and make bridal favours!”, I remarked.
“This is not your wedding Alice”, added the secretary. Oh yes, I forgot. The point is, sitting in the pub making lists and being creative is a far cry from the actual doing. I should have learnt this now given that I have been involved with the PTA for eons. And whether is it the Christmas or Summer Fair, the coach trips or indeed a Royal Wedding, it is always the same faces that one sees cooking, carrying, ferrying and cleaning up. The children would not have had anywhere near as much fun if the PTA secretary had not schlepped around Wilkinson’s and stuffed her car full with paper plates and bunting and cups and flags and god knows what else. It would have been a meagre party without the help of another member and her husband inflating dozens of helium balloons or another full-time working mum who made hundreds of individual jellies or the Chair, who with four children and a part-time job, found time to bake three wedding cakes and me, who ran around Plymouth this week like a headless chicken, buying icing and ribbon and little silver balls and little silver horseshoes to decorate the cakes. I may never be Jane Asher, but they turned out rather well.
This morning found me up to my neck in cocktail sausage fat which clogged up my sink and sausage rolls that burnt my tongue – well I had to check they were properly cooked. I made a thousand and one trips back and fore to my car filling it up with all the stuff I’d either bought or made.
The Chair and I then spent ages weaving the bunting in and out of the school fence, before the cavalry arrived by way of other staff to help us heave tables and chairs, make gallons of squash, lay tables with red, white and blue napery and arrange the balloons, the flags, the cups and the plates. The school playground looked suitably resplendent and as the children paraded outside in their Sunday best with the Head as the queen in a very fetching gold crown, we were all moved to tears. We had toasts and best men speeches, the Queen cut the cake and prizes were handed out. I doubt they’ll ever forget it.
“Not much chance of forgetting it anyway”, whispered the Chair to me.
“Diamond Jubilee next year. We’ve got to do this all over again”.

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