I feel moved to try and capture some of the spirit of this fantastic Diamond Jubilee weekend with a post, but fear I shall fail miserably. It has been too lovely by far to put into words, although I shall still try.
There are so many reasons why I, for one, have had such a jolly lovely time, and as soon as I try to separate them from each other they all lose something...I think this weekend the whole really has been far greater than the sum of all its parts.
It has felt almost like Christmas, where the whole nation, and beyond, has been focused on the same thing, on the same joyful celebration. The atmosphere has been truly amazing, it has really taken my breath away and has been absolutely lovely to see and to be a part of.
There's been flag waving and bunting, pork pies and fireworks, good old British spirit in the face of driving rain, good cheer & merriment all round. We've always said us British know how to throw a good party and I think we've certainly proved it this weekend.
But I think what I have been most moved by is the outpouring of affection for the Queen herself. Including by me.
I don't really think I'd stopped to think about what the Jubilee was really all about in the run up to the weekend, or to contemplate what it involved. It wasn't until a few days beforehand that I really understood what the running order of the weekend was and what was going on. So I was totally taken aback by the sheer scale of the thing. By how many people came out in force both in London and further afield to celebrate. By how people really came together.
It really did feel like something from another age, with crowds of people lining the streets spontaneously breaking into chants of God Save the Queen. I have never seen anything like it and likely never will again.
I have also been absolutely mesmerised by the Queen herself. I have been glued to the television watching every moment, every wave, every smile. I have loved all the footage of her through the years and listening to all the stories of her times gone by. Even her standing up for so long at a time over the weekend was remarkable enough! There are so many things about her, her role, her family and her background I didn't know before and never really felt inclined to find out. Now I could sit and watch her all day, and have done!
We didn't travel into London, we didn't go and line the streets ourselves, we didn't arrange our own street party (does a small house party count?) or even really attend one (although we went and looked at several!), we didn't watch either of the two beacon lightings near us. But we joined in in our own little way and it felt very, very special indeed to be a part of something so huge and so wonderful.
It is lovely to see such spirit across the UK given the doom and gloom we've been surrounded by in recent times. Whether it be double dip recessions, financial collapse, political disillusionment, war, terrorism, fighting, rioting and so on. It feels as if the combination of last year's Royal Wedding, the Jubilee and next the Olympics are bringing a new dawn of hope, renewing our faith, lifting the mood and reminding us of all the good stuff again.
For me, this weekend has been very, very special. And I'm aware that I've now said that twice but I can't say it enough. It has been truly humbling and inspiring in many ways and it has made me very proud to be British, amongst many other things. It has been much too big a deal for me to even get anywhere near to capturing here.
Over the last 4 days we've had compassion, community, good cheer, faith, dedication, affection, optimism,celebration, pride, being a part of something, giving back, gratitude, resilience, emotion, direction and meaning.
In bucket loads.
And that sounds like a pretty good recipe for happiness to me.
Long may it continue, and long live the Queen.
Hip Hip, Hooray! Hip Hip, Hooray! Hip Hip, Hooray!