Monday, 4 June 2012
The Queen's Jubilee Thames Pageant
Well, what a party! We have just returned from the celebrations in London to mark 60 years of the Queen's reign. Here are two photos of some of the boats at Tower Bridge which took part in the Thames River Pageant. First is the tall masted STS Tenacious, the largest wooden boat to be built in England in the last 100 years. It aims to help disabled people to sail the seas and can take 40 able bodied and 20 disabled people who act as crew together. The second photo shows paddle steamers moored on the Thames, one of which carried the Middleton family. Pippa, sister of Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge was among those who took part, following the Royal barge. London was absolutely heaving with people. That one small area of the Thames between Hammersmith Bridge and Tower Bridge - about 7 miles - was the focus for perhaps the most amazing river pageant ever staged. The thousand strong flotilla of boats included a royal barge, Thames barges, paddle steamers, rowing boats, tall ships - you name it, if it sailed it was there. We stood on London Bridge on tiptoes and managed to glimpse just a bit of a pageant which took one and a half hours in all to pass by. The sounds were joyous, the tooting of whistles, the ringing of all the church bells in the city, people cheering, the whole day was a total sensory overload. After slow drizzle in the morning, in true British fashion as soon as the pageant was well underway the downpour was torrential. I cannot remember the last time I was so cold or so wet even though June is meant to be the start of the summer. Still, we waved our Union Jack with everybody else. Bought from Help for Heroes (a great charity) the man who sold it was pleased to tell me that the free ones being given away by 'Hello' magazine were second rate as they had been manufactured upside down! Apparently that's a distress signal. We were verging on the distressed after so much rain and wind but after what has been voted the nation's favourite meal - a curry from Brick Lane - we felt revived!