Posted by: lindsaygoes | June 8, 2012

Spending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London

Watching the Jubilee flotilla

A four day weekend is an opportunity to be taken advantage of, particularly when you have the spectacle of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to celebrate. So, with a long weekend, I headed into London.

On the Saturday I caught up with a friend (when they eventually got to London…but we can blame the buses for any delays) and we saw the Lion King, which was fantastic. Amazing costumes and dancing, plus songs that took me right back to childhood (I’d forgotten I had even played a Lion King game until I started getting flashbacks during some of the songs). Then we wandered around for a bit before heading into Chinatown for dinner. I’m always on the lookout for someone to share some crispy duck with me (basically, if I drag you to Chinatown, you have no option on your entree choice!) but we ended up getting one of those banquet meals with far too much between the two of us. At that point we decided an early night was in order, so we headed back to the hostel, getting there just in time before it started pouring.

The next day the Jubilee flotilla was travelling along the Thames, and as our hostel was on the waterfront we got a good view of people standing around. At about 10am it was decided that we (well, I) should grab a spot so we had waterfront views. By that stage it was already getting pretty busy and we had to settle for a spot obstructed by a few branches, but pretty good considering.

As we were there so early we got the brief excitement of watching some of the boats going to the flotilla starting point, including some with orchestras. Then it rained for a bit. And then we waited…and waited. We ended up meeting some other people in the crowd so we had some conversations about flags, and learned more about the Union Flag (only the Union Jack if it’s on a boat). Our new friends were seriously out-nerded. We also taught them the subtle differences between New Zealand and Australian flags, and the high chance of self inflicted casualties due to flag confusion if there is ever an Australia-New Zealand war. Thankfully, a very unlikely scenario.

After waiting about five hours the flotilla finally began. Hoorah! Flags were waved, whistles were blown and photos were taken. I even saw the Queen, a tiny dot dressed in white in the distance, walking around her special boat. I even have blurry overly zoomed photos to prove it. I found all the human powered boats the most interesting, the Thames was filled with hundreds of tiny boats, all moving at a surprisingly rapid pace.

After the Queen’s boat had passed we started noticing the cold a bit more (it had been five hours!) and by the time the narrow boats were approaching the desire to go inside was starting to outweigh the stubbornness of seeing the entire flotilla. At that point it started raining and going inside won. Ended up watching the Queen arriving at Tower Bridge on television in a nice warm pub, surrounded by strains of ‘God Save the Queen’ punctuated by various conversations about how people didn’t really know the words. I don’t know the words, but then it’s not my national anthem.

The next day I headed to my cousins house and went to a street party. There were lots of games for the kids, face-painting, a raffle and food. It was a bit cold though, so after wandering around for a bit, we ended up watching most of it from inside. I’m sure that’s not really cheating though.

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