Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Well, what a lovely long weekend that was!  After four days of celebrations and a public holiday to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, I am still feeling very patriotic (back to work, in red, white and blue, complete with the lovely new bag that I won on In The Heyday last week - thanks Shona!) and dare I say it....I am now rather excited for the Olympics!

The pageantry that took place in London over the past few days was so expertly organised and well executed, that it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement.  Throughout it all, the Queen demonstrated real poise, and elegance, even in the face of adversity, when Prince Philip was taken ill, and had to be admitted to hospital.

Now, even if you are not a monarchist, let's face it - it was lovely having a four day weekend, and I for one, really enjoyed seeing London covered in bunting!  The spectacular flotilla along the Thames really was a sight to behold, and whilst I did not see it in person, I enjoyed watching it on TV.  Loverboy and I were actually booked to dance at the Brent Jubilee celebration by Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon, so whilst the rowers set off down the Thames, we were swing dancing!

Unfortunately the cold and damp weather meant that there was not a huge turn out in Wembley, but we still had fun dancing (and in my case, continuously flashing my undercrackers, due to spinning around in a circle skirt, in windy conditions)!  We even managed to return home just in time to miss the rain, and watch the rest of the flotilla from the comfort of our nice cozy bed!  I must say, I'm very impressed at the stamina of the royal family, standing for the full five hours, to watch the river procession.  I'm not sure that I could have stood in place for that long, without getting ants in my pants.  Yet, Her Royal Highness and the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 86 and 90 respectively, stood unaided, and with perfect posture, throughout the whole thing.


On Monday I baked a Victoria sponge to take along to a street party, which was taking place two blocks away from where I live.  My mum also made a cake, and loverboy.....well, loverboy stood around looking handsome, whilst we did all the baking!

I was keen to get involved in a community event, yet I did not have particularly high hopes.  How mistaken I was!  The party was really well organised, with bunting zigzagging across the street from house to house, tables and chairs were set out for the length of the whole road, food and drink was extremely plentiful (with a myriad of union jack cakes!), and there was a huge turn out of friends and neighbours from all walks of life.  It was brilliant!

I particularly enjoyed meeting local residents, and seeing that community spirit is alive and well.  Having seen photos of numerous street parties, it would seem that the Jubilee was a great way of bringing people together and encouraging a right royal knees-up across the country.


On Monday night I awoke the hubs from his street party induced food coma, and we ventured south for a night of 50s music and dancing at Rock n Roll Old School, which was put on by our friend Jim (DJ Big Kahuna) at the Hand in Hand pub in Streatham.

Upon arrival the place was buzzing, the dance floor was jumpin' and we were greeted by the smiling faces of many of our lovely friends.  A dance floor was set up, and numerous DJs took it in turns to hit the decks.  The pub itself looks like a throwback from around the time that the Queen was Coronated, which I find to be strangely charming.

The night was fun, with a great atmosphere (long weekends make everyone really happy!), lots of laughs and sweaty dances.  We left the pub in good spirits - made even better when a friend gave us big bag of delicious home-made Swedish toffee!  Yum!

On the final day of our long weekend, we woke to televised scenes of fanfare and celebration in central London.  In a spontaneous moment of longing to join them, and wave my union jack flag around, we headed to Trafalgar Square.  How foolish to think that we could arrive in the afternoon and watch the procession, when there were people who had camped out for 24 hours to secure their spot!

Needless to say, we could not get past the barricades to see anything, so we wandered around for a little while before heading off.  I'm disappointed that we didn't get to see the Red Arrows fly by, as the photos I've seen have been very impressive - especially with the red, white and blue trails that the planes left in their midst!  A sea of Union Jacks lining the Mall was also a striking image to behold, and I have to say, it left me with a lump in my throat, as it's rather emotional, and fairly rare, seeing so many people from different generations, come together with so much enthusiam, hope and pride in our wonderful country.  


  1. Oh my, it looks like you had a wonderful Jubilee weekend! And your victoria sponge looks yummy! xx

    1. It was a very fun weekend, indeed! This was my first attempt at a Victoria sponge, not something I would normally bake, but I thought it appropriate! :) How was your Jubilee weekend? xx

  2. Being a child of the civil rights movement and considering the misunderstanding between our countries during 1775-1776, I grew-up considering your monarchy to be archaic at best and pompous at worst.
    But the jubilee through the eyes of this American was an incredible spectacle of pageantry and national pride. I realized that for some, the longevity of your monarchy reconfirms the long and colorful history of your nation.
    I must say, England, especially London really knows how to throw a party!!
    I couldn't help being moved by Great Britian's pride and unity. It was amazing watching a whole country relish in it's existence as one voice and one heart. The only time I can remember feeling such national pride and unity in my country was in the aftermath of 911.
    I am honored and humbled by my connection and experience to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

    1. What a well thought-out and well-written comment! You should start a blog... ;)

      I am glad that you enjoyed yourself - I worried that perhaps, as an American, you would feel a bit detached from the whole thing. As it happens, you were an active participant, and imagine in years to come, we will be able to look back, and say, 'remember when we danced as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations?' :)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! xxx

  3. Now that was a street party! How flippin' wonderful. I do like it when we Brits have a get together...we know how to do it. I love that shot of you with the cake.

    1. Thanks! :) It was a great street we just need an excuse for another one! xx

  4. As an American, I've rather been envious of all of the vintage-y Diamond Jubilee celebrations I've seen on various blogs. I can't think of anything America has that could possibly compare to such a celebration! Each British blog I've come across has had fabulous pictures of the events. I love yours especially the pennant cake!


    1. Thanks! Yes, England really knows how to do pomp and pageantry! I suppose the nearest thing would be your July 4th celebrations, perhaps?

      By the way, I have been reading over your blog, and love it! It's especially great, since I recognise many of the places, now that I have visited Portland! :) xx