Over the weekend the weather throughout the country has been universally wet and dreary – with really extreme conditions thrown in for some areas, too. The beginning of June has not been auspicious: truly, it must be nearly time for Wimbledon, we cry! Up here in the north east a sea fret has clung to us relentlessly, producing a drizzle which wets you to the bone, while fog inland has caused accidents and pile-ups, even causing someone to career off the road, through a fence and plunge more than 80 feet over a cliff on to a beach in South Tyneside.
Today, up here at least, the sky has gradually cleared and the sun has smiled once again, perhaps in time for Royal Ascot, to which our Queen will have been so looking forward as it is one of her very favourite annual events. Over the celebratory weekend, she was seen peeking out from a window in Buckingham Palace at the rain inundating the Mall before she headed out to join the 10,000 picnickers for her 90th birthday parade. In characteristically British fashion all attending – monarch, family, friends and dogs alike – braved the inclement conditions, determined to transcend momentary dampness in order to garner lasting memories. The Patron’s street party – for the 600 charities to which Her Majesty lends her weight – was the culmination to a very special weekend which also took us to Pall Mall and the Palace by way of St Paul’s Cathedral, for the Service of Thanksgiving on Friday, and Horseguards Parade where the Coldstream Gaurds trooped their colour before the Queen on Saturday.
The Dickens Dogs love the Queen and especially the fact that she loves dogs and horses so. She has served this country and its people selflessly from the day she assumed the responsibility, though she was not born to bear it. Her dutifulness and perfect manners, the tact and thoughtfulness bred deep within her bones, are a model for every prince – indeed every humble creature – who would strive to serve others, just like me. Kemo Sabe herself recalls clearly the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation: as a little child seeing the new Queen drive past in an open-topped car to show herself to the people of London on the afternoon of the ceremony. And from that day to this, our Queen has held fast – in good times and bad – her popularity waning from time to time, but always doing what is expected of her. She has been a constant and unifying presence in all our lives for all our lives and we salute and thank her.
It’s a celebratory time of year, whatever the weather, and along our lane there will be bunting as well as some England flags (the triumph of hope over experience, they say) for some time to come. Next week is the EU Referendum and the following week Wimbledon begins, so let’s be cheery and reflect on the things that make us happy, like the new Icelandic yogurt which I alone was permitted to try!