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The Queen’s Garden Party!

Several months ago I received word from the Uni that the Principal had put me forward for the Queen’s Garden Party at Holyrood in recognition of my work at UWS. Specifically my promotion of social media. Today we travel to that Garden Party!

It’s been an interesting few months getting organised. The Garden Party falls right in the middle of a weeks holiday in Norfolk, the reason for going being my Aunt’s 90th birthday. So after travelling south last Friday, picking up Mum and travelling to Norfolk on Saturday, we have had some family time before deserting them all for a two day trip up north.

The other issue of course is what to wear. Unlike last month at the Red Cross garden party at Buckingham Palace, the invitation stipulates a hat. I don’t do hats! So a fascinator maybe? But at Ascot, in the Royal enclosure, apparently, the fascinator used instead of a hat has to have a four inch base. Mine does not. To buy or not to buy? Disinclined to buy for a one off occasion, being a poor pensioner! 😉 But I had a brain wave! My cousin Jill worked this amazing fascinator a couple of years ago at her son’s wedding and I thought it might be the right pink. So, a quick text and she brought it along for a look see. Will I be the bees knees in that!

So we are sitting again in First Class travelling from Norwich to Edinburgh for a three hour gig!

Next day
Only standard class on the train today. Ian did pass comment enquiring how much more first class would be. It was a lot. We are fine though. Nice table seat in the quiet zone. Just have to pay for our own food! Heading back to Norfolk to celebrate Molly’s birthday with her.

Yesterday was great. The weather was perfect. Lots of sunshine but not the 26 degrees in London. Although it was still nice to get in the shade.

We arrived in Edinburgh with plenty of time so we changed my original plans to change in the station and took the bus up to our B&B. Quick freshen up, glad rags on, dumped all unnecessary gear and took a taxi through amazingly busy Edinburgh. Eventually dropped off in stationary traffic as close as possible and went to join a long queue til a policeman informed us there was a shorter one round the back. There was! Only five minutes til we got through security check and we were in. Along with 8000 other guests, we heard later.

The dresses were beautiful. Well. Most of them. We walked past the tea tents to see what there is to see. Not a lot. A pipe band performing and a brass band at rest. But we did join the throng waiting for her majesty to join the party. She came via steps at the rear of the Palace so everybody could see her. What an amazing lady. Two hours she spent, much of it walking down a corridor lined with HRM Royal Co of Archers speaking to various people who had been chosen to be presented. Beautiful cream dress and hat etc. And the Duke tall, regal, in morning suit and top hat. (There were a few of those in the crowd too!) The Duke wandered along a separate corridor speaking to people and occasionally dipping into the crowd as well and those awaiting presentation. He looked really fit and carried one of those walking cane type of things that look like they contain a sword. A proper gentleman he was! We did not hang about to watch all this. Being vertically challenged I have no chance seeing much so lost HRM once she descended the steps. We went for tea instead and spent time people watching. Same kinda tea as Buck House, but the fruit cake was not as nice!

So the afternoon passed….. We listened to the music, I kept an eye out for two people in the 8000. Never saw either of them.

Over heard an … Interesting conversation. A woman was trying to glimpse the Queen. Her husband was teasing her. You’ve seen her before on the ten pence piece. I’ve one of her pics in my pocket cozily tucked up next to my……!!

Walked round the gardens which are not very big. Visited Holyrood Abbey, a ruin. Snuck in some photos, after we saw others doing the same. Then returned to the ceremonial square to say bye, bye to HRH. A nice man allowed me and my rather intrusive fascinator to stand in front of him and I got a good view. The Bow men were then stood down and dismissed.

These are interesting guys who have been the king/queens body guard in Scotland since the time of Scott. He designed their uniforms. Anyone can be one but you have to be nominated and get through the vetting process. The one we had a long conversation with earlier has been one for 20 odd years and his father and grandfather before him!

So the end of a second garden party! Unbelievable that the weather was so good at both. I spoke to people who had friends who had had three hours of rain, with little shelter, and ruined fascinators!

We wandered out, chattered to some Czech tourists who wanted to know all about the occasion, then walked up the Royal Mile to find dinner. We went to the Royal Mile pub. Can you imagine the sight? Usual bar folk and me in fascinator and posh frock. I did enjoy the stares! Food was lovely too. Then back to B&B by free bus pass, lol, to rest my feet and let Ian watch the footie. In peace!

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I’ve got a little list!

Four months retired and I am at last feeling more settled in this new role. It has been so ‘disconcerting’. The lack of discipline in my days has not suited at all. I still get up nice and early. And have loads and loads to do. But getting down to getting things done has alluded me often. It has been crisis management mostly. And things with an ill defined deadline have been totally left. Like my book. And my article on social media.

However….

I hope I have moved on. Would you believe it the way I am sorting myself out is to have a to do book. Thanks Raymond! Each day I am writing a to do achievable list for the next day. And the pleasure of crossing things off is unbelievably sweet. Doesn’t mean I achieve every day but I do more often than not. Sunday I decided to try baking scones. A first for me. Turned out perfectly edible. It was also Mothering Sunday and I got unexpected visitors in the afternoon. So almost nothing got crossed off. The title of that list changed from Sunday to Monday! Yesterday was a lovely Spring day. I spent quite a bit of time doing what I had always anticipated I would do (when I was actually old enough to retire) – I sat on my garden swing, let the sun warm my skin and knitted!! But I crossed lots off my list just the same because I felt a sense of discipline and considered those to be my coffee and lunch breaks.

So my intention to blog about retirement has to date not happened. But it is on my perpetual list and hopefully this is the beginning of that diary!!

I’ve got me on the list!!