Thank you for your sympathy during our few days of phonelessness! Once the annoyance and disbelief had worn off (how can someone get away with stealing probably hundreds of metres of copper cable from under the ground?) we actually made the most of the peace and quiet.
The garden is looking colourful and much tidier, and we re-discovered the temptations of our local garden centre and nursery. On Sunday we went down to Leeds to see Verity and Chris, and their cute little Ponyo. Readers of The Hazel Tree will recognise Ponyo because she is an occasional guest star in Purdey’s column, ‘A Room with a Shrew’.
I had wanted to go and look at a beautiful Norman church on the outskirts of Leeds, which was the setting for a wedding where Verity and Chris were the photographers. It is described as “one of the best and most complete Norman churches in Yorkshire”. Sadly, it was also one of the most locked – there were three doors and we tried them all, but apparently admission is limited to Wednesdays, Thursdays and times of worship. It was also tipping with rain, which didn’t really help!
Last night we indulged in a little bit of patriotism and watched the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert on TV. I don’t think we’ll see the likes of that again any time soon… the Band of the Scots Guards parting to reveal Robbie Williams (genius!) in uniformed splendour, electrifying everyone with ‘Let Me Entertain You’; Madness belting out ‘Our House’ from the roof of Buckingham Palace; Tom Jones rocking the crowd with ‘Delilah’ and proving that his voice has stood the test of time; Peter Kaye, dressed as a Beefeater, making everyone clap along to ‘We Are Family’ (mad, but inspired); Elton John dancing around with Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey as Paul McCartney yelled ‘Ob La Di, Ob La Da.’ Really, where else?!
I must admit I had to take a break on a few occasions (what happened with Sir Cliff? – not good!) and some of the so-called comedians were a bit like rabbits in the headlights. By contrast, Prince Charles showed a pretty good command of a mind-blowingly big crowd in The Mall and captured the mood of the nation. The roar that he raised from the audience in support of Prince Philip, who is recovering in hospital, must have been felt from the top of Nelson’s column to the depths of the underground stations. It’s rumoured that the Queen was wearing discreet earplugs, but I can’t say I can blame her.
British people aren’t known for outbursts of patriotic fervour. When it happens, however, the results can be spectacular. This last weekend has made me – and millions of Brits worldwide – proud of our heritage.