Monday, April 30, 2012

Reigny Day

I was supposed to see the Queen on Friday but she got rained off.

As part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, one of her ex ladies in waiting had opened the gates of her stately country home to the great unwashed, and had thrown some kind of industrial sized Garden Party in the Queen's honour. And seeing as the Duke of Edinburgh had made a passing comment about wishing to sample the local brew, we’d been dragged in to supply the goodies, and in my capacity as the Marketing Manager of a local brewery, I was to do the honours.

The day itself was, in traditional British weather, hammering it down with rain, and the great British people were, with their indomitable Dunkirk spirit, waving their soggy union jacks as their monarch drove by; all cherry and dry inside her state sponsored Range Rover.

Howy, my MD, urged me forward to get pictures of the Queen to accompany a press release I was to write later on that day and two minutes later saw me in prime position. Amazingly, Queenies car had stopped perfectly level to where I was standing. I had an amazingly clear shot of her and decided to time my picture to perfection. My plan was to get her just as she alighted from her four wheel drive carriage.

The door opened and she stood on the precipice of picture perfect heaven, cameras’ went off around me like a blitz re-enactment, my finger hovered over the release shutter and as I hit the button, she disappeared out of sight.

My mouth dropped open. Where had the Monarch gone? The body guards didn’t seem too perturbed, the St John’s Ambulance hadn’t rushed to our ageing Queens side and the Royal Navy seals, who had been patrolling the nearby river, hadn’t donned their diving gear to repatriate her from the puddle that had obviously swallowed her up. Then all of a sudden I saw her powder blue hat as it began bobbing along the crowd.

I stood open mouthed, my camera clicking impotently at my feet as she wandered through the crowd accepting bouquets of flowers like a demon florist before veering right and heading into an arts and crafts tent, presumably to ask all and sundry what they did for a living.

You see, although she’s my Queen, I’ve only ever seen her on TV and so I had no idea that she was, in actual fact, the height of your average performing stage midget.

Howy rushed over to see what I’d got. I showed him the twenty or so pictures of my feet and he looked less than impressed. But as luck would have it, as the Queen had been ploughing through her subjects, weeding them of their floral offerings, the Duke, her husband, had turned left and taken a different route and was now in his car, talking to a group of vigorous flag wavers who seemed to be having epileptic curtsying fits. Howy thrust a bottle of our finest ale in my hand, set my camera to close up portrait, and booted me off to present the Duke with it.

I ran over and arrived just as his car wheel span in the mud and shot off, leaving me standing like a lemon in the classic ‘on-behalf-of-the-alcoholics-of-Brecon-I’d-like-to-present-you-with-a-token-of-our-esteem’ pose--- my camera began clicking away and taking a whole new set of photos of my feet , and as it did, HRH sped off, doughnutting through the peasantry.
Defeated and soaking wet; the realisation that the whole day had been a waste of our time and that no viable press releases could be gleaned from such a day---no pictures of smiling MD’s handing over sparklingly refreshing ales to a grateful Duke of Edinburgh could be had. So dejected, wet and down trodden we began to dismantle our stall and pack up the van.

And it was on one of the many trips across the quagmire of a field and up the mud slide of a hill to the works van that I saw the only ray of light that the rain sodden day brought for me. For there, standing by the side of one of the hundreds of coaches that had ferried flag waving children in from all over the county, was a little ginger headed boy who was gloriously covered from head to toe in mud. He looked like he’d been picked up and dipped into the middle of a pigs wallow and then pulled back out again.

His teacher was berating him, asking him how many times he’d said that if he got in a mess the driver wouldn’t let him on the coach. The boy just beamed the smile of a child who knows the true meaning and attraction that clean clothes and a muddy field hold in the affection of the truly adventurous child, and he had gloried himself in the age old tradition of wedding  clean clothes and muddy puddles to glorious effect.

The irony of the situation was not lost on me. Here was a boy who was acting like a child would’ve behaved in the era when the Queen first came to her throne, being berated by the weak, pathetic and politically correct, health and safety monster of her modern reign.  And as I passed them both by, the little cherub turned and smiled at me, and the child in me beamed back at him with both thumbs raised in approval.

As I loaded up the van I realised that somewhere out there, there must be more wonderful children just like him---kids that create their own fun and don’t expect it to be supplied via a mobile phone or through the consul of a games machine. If this little lad was a product of the new era, then let Britannia rule the waves once more...the waves of rivers of gloriously, gooey mud, that is.


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  1. Thanks again. Lovely to see you here. I hope to both entertain and inform you a lot more


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