About Me

"Setting the world to rights"...one blog at a time! Plus anything else that comes to mind

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Little beasts!

As a family we're very fond of runner beans so I grow them and I try to be organic about it.

Sadly, blackfly are very fond of runner beans too so I've planted marigolds round the beans this year because blackfly don't like the smell of marigolds. Sadly, those voracious little beasts, slugs, are very fond of marigolds and they've stripped the marigolds back to a central stalk.

So I've been looking up an organic solution. The best one seems to be to surround susceptible plants with chives because slugs don't like the smell of chives.

So, I plant a barrier of chives to protect the marigolds, within that I plant a barrier of marigolds to protect the beans, within that I plant ...er... the one bean plant I've still got room for!


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The party's over

It's over. It's been a hectic and exhausting four days. Lots of work and oh so worth it. I'm incredibly proud to be British but this little Brit needs her sleep ready for work tomorrow. I'm going to forget the snarky remarks from the the anti-Royalist party-poopers I've just read online and get my head down.

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Great British motto: Always Have a Plan B

Yesterday our family joined in the nation's Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a little do of our own with a few friends. It was more sedate than past celebrations.

I celebrated the Silver Jubilee as a teenager working in London. I remember walking along Knightsbridge arm in arm with some friends, singing. In my tone-deafedness there's a part of Streets of London that leads naturally, for me, into the 23rd Psalm and such was my enthusiasm I took the others along with me. We'd started out in a couple of local pubs and were heading back to the bank we were working in for some serious partying.

For the Golden Jubilee our family hosted a formal meal. I decorated the house in red, white and blue, we dressed up in red, white and blue and I cooked a sit down meal for eight of coronation chicken starter followed by crown roast of lamb and ending with cherries jubilee.

For the Diamond Jubilee we aimed for something more informal and relaxed, a barbecue! No-one can say we're not optimists but we had a plan B. If it was dry we'd barbecue the meat and serve it with salad outside. If it was wet we'd grill it and serve it with salad inside. I've spent hours in the garden over the past few weeks getting it looking good for just this occasion so I was keeping everything crossed for fine weather to eat outside.

Come the day it was pouring all morning but it dried up by midday and although it was too cold to sit out we had hopes of barbecued meat. The barbecue was lit, with some difficulty, the meat cooking away nicely and then...OF COURSE, it started to rain. Gently at first, ok...then the heavens opened and we participated in another great British tradition...barbecuing under an umbrella! My brother manned the barbecue, brolly in hand, and I dashed between him and the kitchen transferring the meat to a warming pan in the oven as it finished cooking. It was a hoot! It gave us all a good laugh and didn't detract one iota from the fun we all had.

I'd had the foresight to put all the decorations up indoors, just in case, so we were surrounded by red, white and blue bunting, spinners and a wealth of balloons. Not to mention the Union Jack flying outside the house, another pinned over the fireplace and Union Jack tablecloth, plates, napkins and cups on the table. Totally and completely over the top and no doubts whatsoever as to what WE were celebrating!

It was great, we watched the Thames Pageant on television, laughed over our barbecue and the vagaries of our weather, enjoyed our meal and toasted our Queen.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

HM Queen Elizabeth II

So, here we are, the Jubilee weekend. There's been a lot of royalty-bashing over the years but I'm not alone in finding comfort in the continuity our royal family brings to our lives. Presidents come and go, politicians are power-hungry, self-interested...oops, sorry, getting sidetracked. Anyway, the fact is I like them, well, most of them, no family's perfect.

Considering there are only a few of them and millions of the rest of us it's rather surprising that my family has seen or had contact with four of them, even if the contact was only second hand. Or maybe not, considering how much work they do.

When I was in my 20's, working in London, I was about to cross the road when the lights changed from red. As I paused there on the pavement with another girl, a stranger, we both noticed the big black car just about to drive off. Sat in there was the Queen Mother! As soon as she saw we'd spotted her she waved and smiled at us, just the two of us!

About the same time a neighbour of ours was working as a camerman. One of his jobs included a special about Princess Anne. He was full of praise for her, she started work earlier than the crew, went out of her way to make sure they got what they wanted and was still working as they knocked off for the day.

Many years later my mother was strolling down a country lane with a friend. A horse came towards then and they stepped to one side to let it pass. It was Princess Anne and she gave them a smile and wished them a good morning.

A few years back Mum spotted Miss Zara Phillips at a spa. She says she seemed a really nice person, smiling and taking time to pass the time of day as she wandered around.

The point is, if they were more available, meeting them, seeing them just wouldn't be special. Because they're apart, live a life so different from us, belong to a family known to all of us but not part of our daily lives it's thrilling to have sight of them, to have the chance to say with pleasure and surprise 'she was really nice, she was just like everyone else!'.

This weekend our family's going to celebrate our Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Unashamedly British, proud of our Queen and thankful for someone we can respect on the throne.

No, I've not forgotten the fourth person. Last but not least was the Queen, Mum & Dad were thrilled to receive an anniversary card on their Diamond Wedding anniversary last year.

The Queen and the Queen Mother's dedication to their roles is legendary, Princess Anne carries out her duties quietly, doing more than people are aware, the younger members of the family are growing into their roles, taking their lead from the Queen and becoming fine role models. So, no matter how tenuously, we feel lucky to have had 'connections' to four generations of our royal family. A family headed by a lady who has commanded our respect for so many years.

Long Live the Queen!