Monday, 11 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee with Bananagrams, Rolf Harris and rotten weather!

Where were you over the four days of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations?  Did you decide to go the whole hog and immerse yourself in the full on experience?

...or were you trying to get as far away from it all as possible – expressing the sentiments of this banner?

We did a mixture by escaping London on Saturday morning for three days in Suffolk on the east coast – a rather chilling affair with extremely changeable weather all weekend – but joining some of the more laid back street celebrations and watching the Thames pageant on TV staying comfortable and dry.    We had a very warm family welcome which made up for the wind blowing directly off the North Sea accompanied by driving rain. We amused ourselves with good food and plenty of bubbly followed by a marathon of games playing.  Him-at-home hates games apart from crosswords and Soduko.  These don’t count as games in my book, so I am constantly on the lookout for others who share my enjoyment of them. The Suffolk part of the family fits the bill perfectly so I introduced them to Bananagrams. 
They all became quite addicted and I barely managed to drag them away long to play the odd set of Rummikub, to which they had introduced me at Christmas. As I have just discovered that there is a world championship contest for Rummikub, I need as much practice as I can get. 

The local Proms by the Sea almost became Proms in the Sea with the torrential rain and almost gale force winds but those sturdy Brits were not to be dissuaded from a good bout of Union Jack waving while jumping up and down to Land of Hope and Glory.  They turned out in force dressed appropriately for the occasion.

Proms by the Sea
As a lily-livered Oz accompanied by an opera-detesting Him-at-home, we waited until the rain slowed to a mere drizzle, the opera singing had finished and it was time for the last rousing choruses. We ended our evening watching the Aldebrugh crew putting the life boat away. This takes great skill; a tractor type machine with caterpillar treads has to manoeuvre the unwieldy boat on a trailer backwards up the shingly beach into quite a tight space.  Things get very exciting around Aldeburgh and we all held our breath until it was safely tucked up for the night without a single scrape on its immaculate paintwork!  I wish I could park my car that well.

On our return we found London still in a festive mood – full of tourists and children on half term. Walking through Soho, the bunting in Chinatown consisted of alternating Union Jacks with Chinese flags – an interesting mix! We visited the Old Vic tunnels to view the free pop-up exhibition Rolf Paints the Jubilee.  The night before we had watched a TV programme about him and Anneka Rice working with 60 artists creating works to represent the six decades of Her Maj.  I am a great Rolf Harris fan.  He is an incredibly skilled artist, musician and brilliant entertainer who never patronises his audience.

It took a while to find the tunnels tucked under Waterloo station but it was well worth the effort. It’s a great space - so atmospheric with bare brick walls and the occasional drips from the roof and the smell of … well … old railway tunnels!  I took loads of pics but then I found the BBC website had much better ones (  Rolf had done a large painting of Windsor Castle in the style of his “Can you tell what it is yet?” paintings that used to captivate me as a child watching his TV programmes.

Rolf Paints the Jubilee

Rolf's Windsor castle
He also painted a very atmospheric, almost impressionist, view of the golden coach in the 1950s coronation arriving in the morning mist. That painting was one of my favourites.

We wandered home after a very enjoyable afternoon that only cost us the price of our fares.
A week later and I am now ready to see no more bunting at least until the Olympics , so any of you out there with your bunting still up – please give it a rest.  Take it down!


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