Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

Ahhhh! Today was the Trooping of the Colours. It happens every year for her official birthday, but this year is special of course because it is her 80th birthday.

Also, you can check the Official Monarchy website.

It has been a week-long celebration with a big service at St Paul's Cathedral, followed by lunch at Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London - the banquet itself having been chosen by the voting public watching the month-long competition between chefs from all over the country.

So after the Trooping in the Horse Guards Parade overseen by the Queen and Prince Philip on their dais, everyone trotted back off to Buckingham Palace and she appeared at the balcony to watch the Guardsmens' feu de joie, the 21-gun salute in Green Park (performed by the Royal Horse Artillery housed round the corner from me), and the big 49-plane RAF flyover. There were all sorts, including old Spitfires and a Lancaster from WWII, the new European Typhoons, and the Red Arrows.

It was exciting enough to see on TV the crowds were overjoyed, and even my heart swelled.

This particular Lancaster saw service in the Battle of Britain and although now restored, still bears a bullet hole in its tail. After they flew over, the commentator said they would now be heading back north. I thought nothing of it, but pretty soon I heard a hum which became a rumble and tripped over everything getting to the window. Shouting "Oh YESSSSS!" as the beautiful dark green planes, glinting in the sunlight, rumbled right over my window, I was frozen to the spot.

When I was living at home, Dad and I would drop anything to scramble outside to see things fly over. We saw Apache helicopters circling overhead on practice, NASA F-15s, and around 9/11, even Air National Guard jet fighters patrolling the Houston airspace.

The picture of the Lancaster is only in my head. Or wait...

How beautiful is this???


Anyway, on to other things. The above was a very large tangent.

I did my day at the National Gallery, in the Exhibitions department. Before any exhibition, they make scale models of the gallery to plan the hang, so what I did was prepare the scale model paintings - how did they know I do microscopic handwriting, and that I would take along one of my fine line pens?
I got title, artist and catalogue number on pieces of card ranging in size from your little fingernail to a postage stamp.

Anyway, my neck aches and I think before I toodle off to the party tonight, I deserve a walk-in backrub at Selfridges.

Enjoy your weekend!


Mr. B said...

Ooh! How can I be so irritatingly pedantic? Dare I? Hmm? Oh I think I must, so forgive me please. Here goes:

It's 'Trooping the Colour'. Singular. Only one colour (or 'flag' as is often incorrectly called)is 'trooped' (i.e shown to the troops so that they may recognise it); that of the particular Battalion chosen. I could go on ad nauseam about this. But won't. (Fortunately for you lot out there.)

Secondly, the Lancaster is not a veteran of the Battle of Britain. That battle (summer/autumn of 1940) was fought - on the British side - by fighter planes. The Lanc is a heavy bomber and came into front-line service in 1943. [Point of Interest (?): a very few British light bombers took part in the battle during the opening weeks, but this is of minor significance in this case. I only mentioned it to forestall any reply starting 'Actually...'] The Lanc is however part of the 'Battle of Britain Memorial Flight'. Glad you watched 'T the C'. I do, have done for years and know the whole thing off by heart. Probably shouldn't have admitted that last part. Will toodle-off now.

Steliano Ponticos said...

that's so hard what you did at the gallery, mais je pense que tu es minutieuse, non? Today's Bday is Stravinski, I love the firebird.

Mr. B said...

Forgot to mention. Congrats on what seems a successful day at the Nat. Gallery. I hope you remained headache free! You poor little 'un, you do seem to have had more than a few of late.

Enjoy the party tonight. (Where?)

Jia Li said...

ooh have fun and have that backrub

tooners said...

i can't even imagine having to do microscopic handwriting! my goodness... what skill that must take! how did they know you did this? did you tell the agency? or did they luck into it? i hope they keep you because it sounds like an exciting job.

re: the Article of the Day... I love four-leaf clovers. when i was little, i'd sit for hours in the grass trying to find one. my mom has one that she's had for ages and i always wanted to find one. never did, but i so enjoyed looking!

Olivia said...

Mr B - yeah, I vary between adding an S or leaving it out, even though I know it's only one colour, this year being Wales.

Also, either I was going by what the BBC commentator said, or I misunderstood.

I've been watching the Trooping for years too, but this is the best so far. I remember awful ones in the rain and sloshing puddles.

I DID remain headache-free, to my great relief, only I had a neck-ache from the fine work at the Nat Gal. Also to my great relief, even though I got a bit drunk last night, I suffered no adverse effects at all. My friends tell me I have a great liver, but you can be sure I won't take that for granted.

The party was in Reading.

Steli - tu me connais, et tu as raison: je suis minutieuse. It has been a long time since I did anything like that though, probably not since working at the lab, harvesting ripe mold spores!

JL - sorry to disappoint, but I had no backrub.
Maybe I will make it my mission this week, because I do stress a lot and tighten up too much.

Tooners - no it was totally by chance! It is the kind of work I used to relish doing as a child. Weird, I know.
But one day of it at a time was enough, fortunately I got the whole batch done spot on time. I told her if anything else needed doing, to be sure and ask for me as they always use the same agency.

Wow, I can't believe your mother found a 4-leaf clover! I wondered if it was a myth until I read this article.

tooners said...

my brother gave my mom the four leaf clover. she keeps it in a plastic envelope type of thing in her wallet. don't know if i'd say that its brought a lot of luck... but then again, maybe it has. :)

Leilouta said...

I love the new profile picture :)