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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!

4 comments:

Kate Jackson said...

Great pictures, Cara, and lovely to see a different perspective than watching the pageant on TV.

Chris Stovell said...

My friend's sister and hubby were in a rowing boat in the pageant... I haven't heard if they've dried out yet or not. I would have liked more detail about the boats on the TV commentary so enjoy reading your observations. I hope you've warmed up now!

Rena George said...

I love boats, so this river pageant was a real treat for me, even if I did only get to watch it on the telly.
The stately procession of 1,000 vessels – especially those brave little Dunkirk boats - along the historic Thames brought a lump to my throat.
It must have been even more emotional being there, Cara, and viewing it all from the river banks amongst that amazing crowd.
And what about that wonderful choir at the end, singing their hearts out to Land of Hope and Glory, as the rain pelted down? Fabulous!!

Cara Cooper said...

Hi Kate and Christine - wow, wonderful to have people you know in the Pageant. What an experience for them. The choir were great Rena, just as well they were young and could cope with the cold and wet although it's not fun at any age!