Today, 3 June 2012, millions of words will have been written by journalists, magazine writers, columnists, Facebookers, tweeters, bloggers and others about the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the flotilla of a thousand vessels sailing along the Thames from Chelsea to Tower Bridge. So, I’ll describe the event from our own perspective instead. At about 11am, we camped on the north side of the river between London Bridge and Southwark Bridge. Thanks to crowd control officers and City of London Police, our little area was soon roped off, limiting crowd numbers around us.
A sea of union jacks confronted the eye. Union jacks were draped around shoulders, there were flags, union jack bowler hats, rain coats, and the odd person’s total attire was the union jack. Lengthy bunting flapped up and down with the wind, often matching the union jack Mexican waves flowing from right to left in front of us.
Young and old came, mothers pushing prams, and, a very British thing, people brought out their spaniels and other canine friends. Revellers snapped up coffees and hot food from the McDonalds at the top of Laurence Pountney Lane, while others whipped out their pre-packed fruit and sandwiches. One witticism I saw on a pram of all things said ‘Singing in the reign’. It did rain steadily, making the event even more British.
Afterwards, Jean and I ended up in the Mudlark, a pub with raucous revellers tucked away beneath London Bridge on the south side of the Thames, in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral. Noisy, packed, we swallowed Carling as well as Pimms & Lemonade and had a ball.