I don’t drink.
And when I do I wobble and sway and can’t walk a straight line.
I don’t drink and then Betty Windsor has a 70th anniversary and we had a street party and I wobbled and swayed, couldn’t walk the straight line and fell asleep on the settee the minute I bumbled through the door.
So as an anti monarchist, Republican and descenter for all me sentient life, I found myself indulging over the four day ‘Do’. The party in the park gripped me. From ‘Queen’ to ‘Ruby Turner’. The running order, the spectacle, the light display, the yunguns and the oldies was extraordinary. It didn’t mean that the old git and I didn’t throw slanderous insults at the telly, but from ‘Paddington’ to ‘Ms Ross’, I shed a tear and wondered where my life had gone. I’ve been working as hard as Her Madge but nobody lit fireworks in my front yard.
The Queen has been here, there and everywhere-shaking hands, receiving flowers, being curtseyed at and bowed to, and there she was at home, taking tea with a bear, while the rest of us waved flags ( well I didn’t) sung GSTQueen ( well of course I didn’t) and generally enjoyed he hullabaloo. ( Well some of me did)
So on Saturday after ‘Hans Zimmer’ and ‘Diversity’ it was to me bed to get up early to make cucumber sandwiches. I live in a ‘Publet’, a clutch of houses with a pub at the end, and the community decided to honour our Leaderine with our very own celebratory street bash.
We are comprised of Christians, Jews and retirees. We have ‘Blow Ins’ from London, South Africa and various places south of Watford. We have upwards of a dozen little people who chased balloons, ate the sausages and brought ‘Wolfie’ the Staffy who sniffed our heels. We have a new family who helped me when I tried to walk up the hill. The wobble had become a veritable sailors hornpipe.
Our little Publet is jammed between orchards and farm land. New developments are popping up, not two miles from us, springing up all over the place so from rural to urban is on the cards, although I think there are enough of us to stop the spread of the green belt massacre. It’s not about being ‘Nimby’s’ it’s about the preservation of trees and old woodlands, ancient hawthorn hedges and – well you get the picuture.
Anyway a few weeks back eleven of us, who identify as women, sat in the front garden of the old gits’ birth twin. There was a delicious steaming cafetier of coffee, a big plate of very crumbly, buttery biscuits and the sun. Loads of us weren’t eating sugar, but one of the younger attendees ate the cookies on behalf of all of us. We allocated cake making, including the platinum trifle which went to our South African contingent, nibbles, booze and salads. I offered cucumber sandwiches.
On Saturday I shopped for cucumbers and cream cheese, spreadable butter but left the soft white bread to the last minute. I looked up ‘Fortnum and Mason’ sarnies, and printed a recipe for a fancy doodle buttery spread. The old git bought me those three loaves of soft white bread and delivered them to me late on Saturday night. He was doing the music.
So early yesterday morning I cut the crusts off the soft bread, mixed together 280grams of creamy cheese and the same amount in spreadable butter. I used my special peeler and swiped the skin of the cucumbers. Sprinkled them with salt and set about making enough cucumber fingers for our hungry parishioners. I polished off the thick ends of the loaves with a huge dollop of creamy filling and at least twelve slices of very thin cucumber slices, by the time I arrived I was pogged.
The old man went down to set up the PA – which in the event wasn’t working on the right side, so we only had half an ear of music which he had taken him three days to select.
Then One of the neighbours whisked out his squeeze box, another set up a keyboard, anther played a dulcimer with wooden beaters and we were invited to take a partner and fuckingwell do-si-do. Twas real folk dancing. I held on to various partners as my eyes looked right and left at the same time. I tried to bend down to pick up my napkin and the world spun as did the other dancers. I sat and quaffed too many Pimms, I ate more than enough for any Monarch, I downed even more Pimms until I realised that
I don’t drink.
Somebody brought a life size cardboard cut out of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, wearing a white coat and carrying her handbag. They stood her behind my cucumber sandwiches and some egg and cress on granary, and we all had photos taken with her. She kept falling on her cardboard face but the patriots amongst us kept propping her up.
And then we had a quiz. We were part of ‘Pond Life’, questions varying from how many grandchildren has Betty got to where did the word ‘dungaree’s come from. I like to think it was a nod to me. Well of course we won. I might not be able to drink but I am so old I was around when the questions were invented. Me and Kate and Sally and Matt, Caroline and the old Northerner cheered our victory. They bagged the winning wine because
I don’t drink.
Jim dismantled the PA, and everybody helped with folding table covers and wiping sticky trifle off the tressle tables.
As Platinum Junbeliee celebrations go It was the best. I enjoyed everyone of our neighbours, especially the folk that stood me upright, I loved the dancing, the chatting, the food the atmosphere. We were on our very own road. There were seats and deck chairs, three piece garden suites and gazebos, the weather could have done what it liked we were covered. In the end there was no rain.
People honoured the red, white and blue theme, I wore a red sweater, white dungarees, blue garden shoes and a big blue charity, hand-painted Mac that had been bought for my birthday.
We started at three and we finished at 6.00. We heaved ourselves up the hill as Paul played music from his telephone on a speaker. Billy Joel crooned as I danced with Gary – although I kept calling him Kevin cos I had a Pimms mouth.
This morning I woke to a thinly veiled hangover. Had a salad in the garden but had to cancel Yoga because I don’t drink, so when I do I’m left with about as much balance as a one legged bombardier who is trying to play the drums whilst trooping the colour in 100 degrees.
And now its all over. Tonight instead of cheering the Monarch we’ll be sat around the wireless, socks in mouths, waiting to hear what the governing body will do with that Boris bloke and their votes of confidence.
If he goes who will replace him?
If they manage to turf him out which one of the weedy, feeble will take over?
If he goes I may just celebrate with a glass of something except
I don’t drink.
So I’ll have a cuppa, think of Paddington and make myself a marmalade sandwich.