The Balcony People.

It has been a while since I blogged. Almost too much has happened. I have been to Turkey for the day – four aeroplanes, a very fast BMW, a ferry across the bay of Izmir and back home at 2am the next morning with AN IDEA. One that I am not going to tell you about.

Since then there has been a garden party where I met the new Mayor from the office next door, a new tyre, days at the office and days at home, a Grandparent’s Day at Manby Lodge School, an extraction and new dentures I can’t wear yet, sunburn and a soaking, a bank holiday, an attempt at the Jubilee Pageant and the Surrey Country Show . Life has been very, very busy and I havn’t given the blog the priority I need to. Events, events, events. Maybe I’ll call it research. At the same time I havn’t used Twitter or Facebook as often either. There have been fewer photographs taken. Perhaps I’ve been in a little downswing, what with the pain from the extraction and the renewed popularity of the Monarchy. Time now for an upswing and tonight I can feel it.

It wasn’t just me though. The major topic on the “Connexions Services Need To Unite And Fight” Facebook page during this peculiar period of hiatus seems to have been the question of whether we should allow users to post adverts to recruit other people to Multi-Level Marketing Schemes. Not exciting but the beginning of a theme that has emerged over the Jubilee weekend. A sort of “this is what we’ve come to” theme:-

  • Skilled, experienced, graduate professionals being recruited as into someone’s Downstream sales team. That’s the sales team whose members rarely make money unless they also recruit their own Downstream sales team (or mugs as we used to call them) to sell the slightly overpriced goo to their acquaintances. Sooner or later you run out of friends, work colleagues, neighbours or fellow church members. I remember someone trying to sell me Canada Life Insurance when I worked at The Biggest Shoe Shop in the World. I still had to be dead to collect. Didn’t seem sensible at 20 years old. Is this what we’ve come to?
  • The Queen waving to a parade of old boats. The weather didn’t co-operate and I’m convinced Phillip said “Bugger this” the next morning and booked himself in for a course of antibiotics to flush away when no-one was looking. A sort of Royal sickie so he didn’t have to attend a Jubilee concert three-quarters full of naff has-beens. (They know who they are but if they are offended I’ll tell them they were in the other quarter). Is this what we’ve come to.

Daughter Number One is in the History Business and wanted to see some so we went to the River. We met at the Tate Modern Cafe (where they don’t seem to use butter and put toast instead of fried bread on your Full English) with Daughter Number Two and Son Number One at 10am. We took up a great position on a slight rise upstream of the Wobbly Bridge That No Longer Wobbles. It was cold and wet and already there was no paper in the Portaloo. Son Number One was on pretty good form. We watched the artists set up their weasels (private family joke) on the bridge. Daughter Number Two didn’t really want to get any colder or wetter. My absence of teeth was hurting and I really did feel quite alarmed at the rapid build-up of Idiots behind us.

We were too early. It was already midday and it looked like it would be another 5 hours before we might see someone waving not drowning. A man should never be where a man does not belong. Maybe it was the overdose of Nurofen Plus but I felt really weird.  I made a decision to be really assertive (not aggressive) and honest and..walk back to Waterloo. The Offspring were concerned about me but off I trudged past more Idiots. More flooded off the train I boarded at Waterloo. More waited at stations I passed on the way home. These people have the Vote.

I felt I had let the Offspring down. As I entered my home Queenie was just climbing into her first boat. I’d made the right decision.

I phoned The History Daughter later to be told The Offspring had watched it on TV and that it had been a disappointment: less colour, more rain, bigger gaps between the types of craft than in the Canaletto that had inspired us to go and eat at the Tate Modern. Health and Safety and unpaid security staff.

The Balcony obviously needs a bit of scaffolding if it wouldn’t hold the rest of the family. William and Katherine were so worried they appear to have been dieting heavily for the last few weeks. For some reason that will upset those who would like to think it was time we stopped going on about the War they sent a flypast of Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Lancaster. Queenie became more animated than we’d seen her all day; smiling and pointing the machines out to the crowd. Merlin’s do make a wonderful sound. The RAF sent the Red Arrows for a quick whiz-past and we all had tea. Where are all the Eurofighters we are paying for?

My position on the monarchy might surprise you. I’m not as rabid and tasteless a republican as some of the groups I subscribe to on Facebook. If we are going to have a Monarchy we might as well have the Balcony People as anyone else. Mostly Harmless and less expensive than they used to be, I believe. My father was a Grenadier Guardsman. Some of it rubs off.

The Balcony scene was interesting. Here were Elizabeth II, Charles (who seems more generally competent and maybe likeable these days), Camilla (who seems to have been Forgiven), the aforementioned Thin White Duke and Duchess and The Boy Who Doesn’t Resemble His Father Or Grandfather But Whom We Like The Best. A good few years of monarchy to come right there then.

In these times of global terrorism I half-expect an outrage at every major public event and imagine the spooks and other people who hold up the umbrella the rest of us live under must be very busy right now. Well done whoever you are. Do keep it up!

Maybe there were so few on the balcony because they didn’t want to risk having the entire Royal Family wiped out by one Rocket Propelled Grenade launched from a hotdog stall in St James’s Park. Maybe someone is keeping their powder dry for the Olympics. Paranoia is a terrible thing.

It is what we’ve come to. Let’s go somewhere else.

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