Jubilee schmoozilee #fail

I’m not sure what happened between the Diamond Jubilee and me. Somehow we failed to communicate. It’s not as if we drifted apart. We just didn’t connect in the first place.

Perhaps it’s being out of the workplace and being less focussed on the blissful goal of a public holiday or perhaps it’s being out of London. For whatever reason, the event failed to register. In the last week or so I spotted comments and photos on social media and but locally no flags appeared. Nothing pinned to lamp posts to identify potential road closures for parties. My preparations amounted to looking at the price of bunting in the supermarket. Slowly the Jubilee weekend rumbled towards us with nothing in place to mark an occasion that will not be seen again in my lifetime.

I describe myself as a Guardian reading leftie. Actually, I shouldn’t even favour the monarchy and while I can’t think of many reasons, tourism aside, to keep the it. Neither can I dislike The Queen, in fact I like most of the Royal family. I even have a top 5.

In 1977 we ate food at a trestle table down the middle of the street with our neighbours. It was a big deal.  My son will have no memories of such an event. I’ve failed as a parent in the boxed marked historic events.  On Saturday he went to the park. On Sunday we all went to Debenhams in the rain and returned to watch the River Pageant on the TV, a slight niggling feeling that perhaps I should have made the effort to be there.  The BBC shared pictures of happy faces having parties in grim weather and overly repeated the words ‘British’ ‘spirit’ and ‘weather’. Children madly waving flags while an adult in the background wore a Prince Philip mask.

By Monday I was desperate for a slice of Jubilee and so headed to the grounds of our local royals/aristocracy. Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The Devonshire family have titles and wealth. I imagine they exchange Christmas cards with the Queen at the very least. Chatsworth had placed a 100 ft table in the garden with a red spotty paper cloth. People without a street party could recreate the experience of sitting at a trestle table and eating food (brought at the kiosk or bring your own picnic). It was nice but not very Jubilee. I admit that by now I was grasping at red, white and blue straws.  It seemed that everyone else, everywhere else was at a Diamond Jubilee party.

I began to accept that for us this historic event was participation by remote control only and switched the TV on again. I wished I was a concert watching musicians I didn’t particularly like and wondered why I didn’t even know there was a ballot for tickets. Was it only advertised in the London Evening Standard? The Guardian never mentioned it.  As for the picnic in Buck House – hello?? Where was that golden ticket?

Increasingly, as the weekend has progressed I have become more emotional about the whole event. Any footage of the Queen now brings a tear to my eye. I am really not sure what is wrong with me.

I began today by again browsing the internet for local tea parties and events, again being disappointed. Defeat was accepted and we spent the day by a lake looking at ducks. I did see a swan. The Crown has ownership of all mute swans. I waved. It simply glided by.

This evening Nicholas Witchell the BBC Royal Correspondence tells me the Diamond Jubilee has been celebrated (past tense). It’s over. Platinum. I must be more prepared. I bet Elton John has it in his diary.

The Queen on my telly.

So how was it for you?


  1. Perfecting Pru

    I enjoyed the jubilee. We went into London and walked along the embankment and down the mall, we had a buffet to watch the concert too and I decorated the living room, but I know wish I had ventured into London this weekend. Roll on the 65th or 70th so that I can make amends!

    But there was no party down our street or the neighbouring streets either.

    1. Perfecting Pru

      Oh, and I wouldn’t feel badly about it – I just have too much time on My hands. I reckon if you had lived in London still then things would have been different (although the weather dampened everything)!

  2. super amazing mum

    I do think it is a London thing…the school had a big street tea party on the field on Friday afternoon, we were at the derby on Saturday and then London on Sunday (felt the urge to be there to soak up the atmosphere) and then went to Coldplay yesterday….everything was very patriotic and lovely!

    Probably not what you wanted to hear???

  3. Ali

    Yes I remember 1977 tressle tables, I also remember the Queens visit as a little girl. Lining the streets outside our house, the car passed she was waving, well just waving. I was waving my flag thinking is that it with the rhyme ‘I am going to London to visit the Queen’ running through my head!!! It was dissappointing, did I fail my two by not doing anything, honestly no!!!

    If you are into it yes, if your children love that sort of thing, yes but if most of the year you don’t give a cr*p about the Royal’s then it’s a bit like going to Church only at Christmas isn’t it!!!

    We used to nearly always go to Cirenster Park on a Sunday to watch polo, Prince Charles and Lady Diana were often there and sometimes the Queen. Did we go because they were there, no we went to watch the Polo and run around Cirenster Park!!!

    Though all that took part I hope they had a fab time, I am looking forward to getting together just because it’s a sunny weekend 🙂

    1. helloitsgemma

      Ali, your comment is so true – we don’t give a monkeys most of the time. I guess its about creating something memorable for an occasion, the unity of the event. Which is why they are celebrated and we are all given an extra day off etc.

  4. jfb57

    I’m so glad you are my friend because that is EXACTLY the emotion I felt through the whole thing. I put it down to being old but obviously not! I don’t like bank holidays & you are right it is partly to do with not working so not feeling I’ve deserved the break. They are always about get-togethers too & it is usually just the two of us despite having family.
    As for the Queen, I found myself wishing that I had been more dutiful over my 60 years (on earth that is). Like you, tears appear at will ATM.

  5. Notmyyearoff

    We didn’t do much to be honest and I did think I should have at least bought a flag for Z to wave but we enjoyed it on the telly. I love the royal family so I was very “Ooooh” and “Aaaaahhh” all the way through it.

  6. mutteringsofafool

    To be honest the past 2 weeks with a newborn have kind of blurred into one day so it passed me by also. I am pro royal but to be honest couldn’t really be bothered to make the effort with 2 babies to do anything. I wonder if it had been hot and sunny if you’d have felt different?

    1. helloitsgemma

      You have the perfect reason and thats the beauty of newborns – they are the Kings and Queens of everything. It’s all about them.
      I think had it been hot and sunny I would have felt even more that I’d missed out – especially the River Pageant.

  7. Ally Bean

    Oddly enough I was in Devonshire England for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It was such fun. A huge party. Everyone out in the streets.

    I remember lots of bunting [of course] and lots of food. There were musicians everywhere– and a big arts & crafts show where I bought a mug made by a local potter. [I keep the mug, filled with pens, on my desk now.]

    Sorry to hear that this Jubilee wasn’t quite so dynamic. Times change, I guess. Maybe the days of partying together are over. Or maybe the weather put a damper on the event. Who knows?

    1. helloitsgemma

      Thanks for your comment Ally. I do think as a Country we seemed to have pushed the boat out more for the Silver Jubilee and yet a Diamond is such an unusual event. As you say times change, but if the effort is there as it was for your experience of the Silver Jubilee its a really special and memorable occasion.

  8. Suzanne

    I loved this post, So thought I should comment! I wrote a post myself about the Jubilee and the hype over the silver jubilee in 1977….I pretty much let this one pass us by cos we went camping, but we took our union jack! We didn’t even watch any of it on tv! My saving grace was that the kids’ primary school spent all week learning about the royal family and making memorabilia, thank the Lord!

    1. helloitsgemma

      thank you for lovely words. I think, as other people have pointed out, times change – the Silver Jubilee was such a huge, unescapable event and this time round, I don’t think my local council even acknowledged it. Different economic times maybe? Hope you enjoyed camping.

  9. Alexander Residence

    Spot on post lovely. Exactly how I felt. We went to a firework display only to find out the fireworks didn’t go off til 10.30 and the kids were already knackered at 8. But my nephew was born on Monday which was far more exciting!
    Sorry I brought cold tea to our picnic and wasn’t very Jubilant either, it was lovely to see you x

    1. helloitsgemma

      I guess in May a firework display isn’t going to work till fairly late but given the appeal is mostly to small children seems strange. Congratulations on your new nephew. It was lovely to see you and you were great company.

  10. Michael Cargill

    I probably shouldn’t laugh at this, but I sort of couldn’t help it.

    I quite like the royals and stuff, but I just sat in my pants and watched it on TV. The stuff with the boats along the Thames seemed to be full of British people desperately doing their best to pretend that it wasn’t raining.

    1. helloitsgemma

      Am very happy for your to laugh at it – thank you. I appreciate celebrating the jubilee in Debenhams probably isn’t what the Royal Family had in mind. Glad you kept your pants on, no pants would be disrespectful.

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