60 Loos for a Diamond Jubilee Celebration!

4 Jun

                                                                                                                                    Sunday, June 3, 2012 will go down as one of those days you will never forget!

 I woke in the night to the battering of rain against my hotel window. Got up and looked out to the street below. I could see water forming large puddles. Things weren’t looking good weatherwise, but..well, it could be SNOW!

We had decided to start this auspicious day by going to church at St. Paul’s. So as it was still raining lightly when we got up, we hauled out the ponchos and umbrellas and headed out. Pearl was dressed in layers, as she had brought light summer attire. Although people had started lining the river banks, the Tube didn’t seem that busy and when we got to St. Paul’s, there were only a few tourists outside. We attended the 10:15 Service so we could get back across the River and into our hotel. Hazel and Marlene had made their way in from their hotel out near Heathrow Airport and were waiting for us at the front of the church. The journey back was considerably different than the one out. The Tube was jammed. It was so hot and steamy, I thought I would pass out. People were wrapped in Red, White and Blue……hats, scarves and ponchos. Faces were painted with Union Jacks and nails were tri-colored. Almost everyone had a flag. .

The Hotel had given all guests wristbands and if you didn’t have one you wouldn’t be getting in. We went up to our room to set out the luncheon. We had food from the Italian Deli….fresh bread, cold meats, olives, pickles, cheese, several types of sweets, tea and coffee, Wine, Gin and Champagne for our toast to the Queen.

I had won tickets to Battersea Park where an all day event was scheduled. As the weather was still cold and rainy, my companions decided to stay in the room and watch the parade from the window. I wanted to go to the park to see what was going on. Turned out it was further than I had anticipated, so I hopped a bus and went upstairs where I would have a good view. On the way, I saw the decommissioned Battersea Power Station and the Battersea Home for Cats and Dogs. This was actually the stop I got off at, but NO, I didn’t go in to the shelter or you know what might have happened!!!!

The crowds were streaming to the Park Gates where a Security Check was in progress. Now this park is huge, probably something like Stanley Park, with areas for gardens, ponds, a small zoo, trails and I have no idea what else as I didn’t have time to explore. I do know that they were prepared for large crowds and this is the inspiration for my title……60 Loos for a Diamond Jubilee Celebration. They were all lined up on a curve like a piece of Modern ART!

Finally made it to the river side of the park where there were hundreds of people, many watching Big Screens which were all over the place. There was a real energy there. People of every age, color and background. The food Vendors had long line-ups, although many people had brought their own picnics. Beer and Wine appeared to be the drinks of choice. I watched till The Spirit of Chartwell with the Queen passed and then I headed across the vast expanse of lawn where they had set up kid’s activities, stages with music from different decades, a huge cake and food area. It was now almost 3:00 and I wanted to get back to the hotel to view some of the pageant and have some of the food. What struck me as I was out and about in the crowds was how happy everyone seemed. Not the usual pushing and shoving you often see at large events. It was a day to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years of service!

The skies opened up at I left Vauxall Bus Station and I still has a couple of blocks to walk. Back to the hotel where the party in front  was going strong. Up to the room where all were gathered in the viewing room, the BEDROOM, to watch the flotilla. After all the boats had passed, the TV provided us with coverage down at Tower Bridge where the Queen was watching as the boats arrived there. By now, it was a steady downpour, but brave and hearty souls carried on. The only thing that had to be cancelled was the Fly Past. It was almost 6:00PM when Her Majesty finally stepped off The Spirit of Chartwell. 86 years old and SHE had stood for the entire way.  As they say…..Brilliant, absolutely Brilliant!!!!  A day well celebrated and one for the ages!

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