De retour en Engleterre……..flight time from France is only 75 minutes and given tang we were an hour ahead in France we arrived home 15 minutes after we left. We had plans to go to Buckingham Palace the day after so early. I guy was I order and we were fresh for London on Wednesday. And of course you might know, Buckingham Palace did not disappoint. Every year when the Queen goes to her Summer residence, the palace is opened to the public, not all of it but enough to give a flavour of what life is like in the royal household. This year the theme was state banquets and revolved around the visit from the Singapore royals. The effort, planning and hard work that goes on for weeks before one of the state visits is incredible. There were mockups of the kitchen and pantry, with voice overs talking about how there is not a dishwasher for use with the irreplaceable china which is used, it is exquisite and the kind of china that you would be terrified of scraping your fork on for fear of scratching the design….each piece has to be hand washed and you cannot even wear rubber gloves, apparently so you can feel the design! Imagine being in charge of that department, I don’t think so….I would be perpetually anxious.
The banquet table itself is a work of art with each place setting measured to the millimetre, eight different shaped glasses sit beside you place setting in order to accommodate the variety of drinks that accompany each course. The cutlery is beautiful, polished to perfection and again each piece meticulously placed.
What I absolutely loved were the flowers which were gorgeous and displayed in magnificent containers, each flower and grass standing proud and tall and looking as fresh as if cut that very second. They stretched along the centre of the table in a design that allowed no guests vision to be blocked…amazing!
And so it went on to show dresses worn at state occasions and how the royal dressmaker works, everything matching perfectly, not a thread out of place. And the jewellery, breathtakingly gorgeous, every colour seeming to show in the diamonds which sparkled and glittered from every angle………
It is protocol to present gifts and some of the gifts were on show, sculpture from Mexico in beautiful bright colours showing the Queen herself, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and other landmarks cleverly woven into the intricate design. Porcelain, paintings, furniture….there was every kind of gift you could imagine on display.
Apart from the exhibition we always take the the sMe route through the palace and no matter how often we go, there is something new to see that somehow we missed previously.
You know from previous blogs that I love to go to London so from the Palace we walked down the embankment mingling with the tourists…..a lovely day!
Back at home, I have been busy completing my little free library, it looks fabulous and will be installed sometime this week, the stand is in the ground securely and I would be surprised if it moved a millimetre in a hurricane, I see neighbours watching but I have not told them about the project yet, without the library on the stand it looks for all the world juts like a bird table, I keep expecting to go out and find a crust of bread left on it for the birds. Unfortunately in a cost cutting exercise there are many libraries here that are being closed so the more free libraries that we can have springing up the better.
This weekend is a holiday weekend which means that we are back at school next week and this weekend has seen many festivals and traditions activities taking place.
My favourites are The Feastival, a great 3 day festival and as the name suggest is predominantly about food as well as music. It is organised by Jamie Oliver, a great English Chef and Alex James, an ex band member who now makes fabulous cheese on a farm in The Cotswolds, an absolutely stunning part of our country. Next year that festival has my name on a ticket! we have the famous Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival where with a Caribbean theme, the streets come alive with music and colour and smells, a huge party to which everyone is invited.
Amazing floats and costumed performers create a sea of magic….Sunday is the family day and today sees the main parade….tonight the floats leave the streets in procession and the Today the round the world yacht race sets off from the end of the pier, a whole year of sailing awaits these intrepid travellers as they set off on this wonderful adventure. The only professional sailor on board each boat is the captain, the crew are volunteers from all walks of life and ages that span from 18 – 75!!!! I will try and get photographs for you from the pier…..I have some from the boats moored in London, a truly magnificent sight.
The Foulness Island Bike Ride was yesterday, I have completed this event for the last five years, unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to give it a miss but will be back next year. It is a great fundraiser and the only way in which you can get on the island which is owned by The Ministry of Defence and a glorious will island with few houses but spectacular views.
And, as I mentioned earlier school starts this week and in my capacity as school governor will be there for the Staff day on Wednesday where we will be filled with enthusiasm about the coming academic year……..
And so, I will finish wishing you a hurricane free week and drier weather!
EDitors note: There was a transatlantic glitch and the post arrived on Monday but I was having difficulty. The photos this time came in and I got to enjoy them but the text of 1,o07 words came in as a photograph. Oh well. Hope you enjoyed reading Chris Gostlings account for her week at home prior to school starting.