It most certainly has been a week remembrance in more ways than one…….particularly as Queen Elizabeth became the longest reigning queen in Britain. She is beaten by King Sobhuza 11 of Swaziland who reigned for 82 years!!!!! It was an interesting day and one which the queen wanted to be just like any other day, but everyone ignored that and there were the most amazing spectacles all over the country and indeed all over the world! She herself was opening a new railway in Scotland, something she enjoys doing and did in her speech thank everyone for their good wishes and congratulations. Just so you have a few facts, she has worked so far with 12 prime ministers, 12 US presidents and 7 popes. She has hosted 110 state visits, visited 129 countries during 256 visits, has sat for 129 portraits, has had 23 waxworks made for Madame Tussards in London, has 237 roads named after her, given 62 Christmas messages, missing one in 1969, sent her first e mail in 1976, her first tweet in 2014 and has been married for 68 years….. phew!!!!!!
And so we had the Thames full of wonderful sights, the BT Tower scrolling a special celebratory message and television programmes back to back showing wonderful footage, a day to be proud! And in the junior schools here, all student received a commemorative coin.
And it is going to be the centenary of The Women’s Institute next Wednesday, a great institution started in Canada, which has had a resurgence here in England since the TV programme ‘The Great British Bake Off’ made making cakes popular again. The WI had become rather dull and its reputation had been of women making jam and cakes and doing little else. But now, WI groups have waiting lists, the one I belong to called Southend Sisters has a membership of 150, we have somewhere in the region of 90 – 100 at Each monthly meeting where we have speakers, learn crafts, debate, always have a huge raffle, have quizzes, go on trips and generally have a great time. And so next Wednesday will see an array of items made by us……artefacts, cakes, the usual raffle, competitions and wine!!!!!!! I will report back on that one next week.
I am having the best fun with the little free library…..making new friends, being very busy collecting completed competitions and puzzles from children and returning envelopes with prizes when they get them all right. One gentleman called round with a huge box of books which are all recent, not a cobweb in sight so I think they will go down well. I even got thank you cards form some children along with some sweeties for myself…………and recipes from people who obviously know I love to cook!!! I have just completed ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ a Times bestseller and a wonderful book which made me smile and cry and reminisce, all at once!!!!
Last week I told you about my trip to The Albert Hall in London to see the Proms, number 69 to be precise……and the wonderful last Night of the Proms, number 75, took place on Saturday and led by the wonderful Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Orchestra and the only woman to have conducted the proms, and I might add, conducted it twice, she is amazing and such fun!!!! She has a rousing reception from the prommers, who sing and clap and wave flags and stamp their feet……a fabulous tradition which I try not to miss if I can help it. The occasion is beamed to screens around the country where people picnic and drink champagne and have a thoroughly good time.
The weather has been lovely and at last our grass is green again, we had so long without rain I was beginning to wonder if the grass would ever grow again! The wonderful thing about living near the coast is that we have great walks along the seafront, stopping at restaurants or cafes to drink tea or wine, depending on the time and the company. I cycled along the seafront for around 5 miles the other day and it was delightful, there are always people walking, or on skates or skateboards or scooters with children chasing the huge seagulls which swoop down from time to time and look as if they are having the time of their life by coasting on the wind and suddenly flying upwards as if playing a game with friends. To stop and sit with a cup of tea and a good book which is difficult to read because people watching is so addictive, is so pleasurable and there is invariably a friend or friends will come along and stop for a chat……..bliss!
We have had a huge regeneration here in Southend and that is brought home to me every time I have visitors to stay and they love it and point out all the interesting things that I take for granted and wish that they also lived here……..restaurants are one of those things that have got better and better, we can find almost any type of eating place within a short distance from our home and when my brother came last Thursday we visited the newest one, Oyster Creek Kitchen (OCK)…….a brilliantly decorated place which has transformed a very old but beautiful, Victorian shelter which was used for people just to sit and reflect in years gone by but which had fallen into disrepair of late. Food is amazing, local caught fish (as befits a seaside town), service was good and surroundings absolutely fabulous.
And so until next week I say goodbye…….only another 3 weeks before it will be hello! Have a fun week, full of lovely happenings………….