Don’t Rain on My Parade

London has been on a bender.  Like all good things, it has come to an end.

It was a long four days of jubilant celebrations happening all around us.  Living in the midst of it all, I was overcome with vicarious excitement.

On Sunday, I was in the middle of things as I stood at the Thames and watched the flotilla from my pub perch.  I had walked along these streets just a few weeks ago when I went out for my night photography shoot.  Then, the streets were clear and the river was empty.  Glowing bridges, not glittering royalty, were the main attraction.

I passed Buckingham Palace last Friday on my long walk to Borough Market.  I watched the scaffolding and bleachers being installed for the great concert on Monday night.  It was a remarkably large installation of seating, framing the semi-circle in front of the palace.  The stage was being assembled, and the lights were being tested.

On Monday night, I sat on my sofa watching a DVD with Katie and Jeff.  We had to raise the volume to hear over the dramatic fireworks display that marked the end of the public concert at the palace.  It was a thunderous bombast of booms that nearly shook our walls.

I walked through St. Paul’s with the girls several weeks ago and followed the same trail as the Queen and her posse on the Tuesday of services for the Jubilee.  I wondered what sotto voce utterings could be heard in the Whispering Gallery upstairs…you know Harry must spew one-liners under his breath at solemn events like these!

I visited Great Westminster Hall in Parliament, the very place that the royals, the Lords and Ladies, and the other folks gathered for lunch on Tuesday.  All I could think was how cold all those people must have been while eating their meal.  The great cavernous stone hall is cool on the warmest of days.  I can attest that it is frigid on the coldest as I left shivering with numb fingers after my visit.

On TV, I  spied the Jubilee stained glass windows that will adorn the great windows of the hall once installed after the celebrations.  I had touched them just weeks before.

On Tuesday afternoon, I walked down the streets of St. John’s Wood neighborhood and witnessed the Big Lunch celebrations that took place all over England in every city, town, village, and hamlet.  People gathered at huge tables to enjoy lunch together in the spirit of community and celebration of the Queen.  It was like an American block party on steroids, replacing burgers with roasts.

Today, I was planning to walk down to Buckingham Palace to try to gain a glimpse of the final royal wave from the balcony, but I couldn’t bear to fight the crowds and wait in the cold all day for a mere glimpse.  The throng of people that I watched on TV discouraged me.  Yet, I know that all this was taking place just three tube stops away.

The rain was intermittent throughout the celebrations, making an appearance every day.  In the end, it did rain on Her Majesty’s parade.  But it didn’t dampen any spirits as the Brits were as resolute as Fanny Brice.  I’ll march my band out, I’ll beat my drum…!  Bands marched, drums rolled, planes flew, crowds cheered, and the Queen kept calm and carried on…

…as she has for 60 years.

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