I arrived in London a few days ago, and it has already proven to be quite an exciting time to be in the city! I arrived just in time to enjoy the celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee and just in time for enjoy the ramp up for the London 2012 Summer Olympics! I’ve started settling into my flat, having moved in two days ago, but couldn’t turn down an invitation from an old friend in London to go participate in the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee by watching the Flotilla down by the river.
What is the Jubilee? Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952 making this year, 2012, her 60th of ruling in England. This weekend in the United Kingdom was a four day celebration of the Queen. There were several major events throughout the city: Flotilla on Sunday, Concert at Buckingham Palace on Monday, and the Procession on Tuesday.
All of the celebrations have been televised, and I’ve been able to catch up on a lot of it via the TV. But there’s nothing quite like joining the British on a dreary day to watch the Flotilla and soak up the atmosphere of the celebrations. Therefore when a friend invited me out to watch the Flotilla I was eager to get out and go.
And it was an experience.
We met up and then fought the crowds. It seemed the other members of the public had shown up to also see the Flotilla. Not even the drizzling rain could stop the Brits from heading down to the River Thames to celebrate together. Any excuse to buy overpriced Pimms and beer while outside in the rain. Before we could even make it to the embankment we were turned around 3 different times at different areas approaching the River, but eventually found entry to an area along the banks of the River Thames.
Once we arrived I realized that I personally had something of a challenge with this setup – I’m quite short (only 5 foot tall) and could not see even a glimmer of the River from any angle I could manage. Though large screens had been setup so that the flotilla could be displayed for all to see, I had hoped to catch a first-hand glimpse of the river. Once we figured that we didn’t have a chance to see the river we opted to find a spot on the pavement to claim as our own within view of the screens.
It was drizzling, we had no view of the river, but we did have a jug of Pimms and several glasses to share between the small group we had brought together. We embraced the British Spirit, zipped up our waterproof (mine was not nearly waterproof enough) jackets, poured a glass of Pimms and shared a toast in name of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Afterwards I returned to my new flat soaked through the layers of clothing (by nothing more than a fine drizzle), and chose to watch the rest of the weekend’s events on television- the procession and the concert. But I did manage a glimpse of the fireworks over Buckingham palace by stepping out onto my street and looking up – just to catch hints of colour and a few bursts at a distance.
The entire event was a sight to see.
I had arrived just in time and loved having been here for it!