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Diamond Jubilee

Since I'm living in a monarchy, I definitely want to enjoy the spectacle.   My abstract view of monarchy as a system is not uncritically approving, but I feel that switching to anything else at this stage would have many downsides.  And there's no question that our current incumbent is a tough old bird for an 86 year old. 

We aren't having a Jubilee street party in the village where I live - philmophlegm & I had actually  planned to be away anyway, and only changed plans at the last minute.

 But I felt that as the country was jubilating, some joining-in type gesture should be made, and I so I made a Jubilee cake.    It was a ginger and walnut cake.  I made it with golden syrup, which made it very light and fluffy. Possibly I should have cut the crystallised ginger up a bit more.  The icing was a bit blobby as I didnt' have any drawing icing but just mixed up water icing with a little blue & red colour - and I have no experience in icing art anyway.  It seems hard!  But I think you can more or less see it was intended to be bunting.   And it is delicious, which is of course the main thing. 
Jubilee Cake

We watched the Thames river pageant on TV today. It was brilliant.   So many different shapes and histories of boat!  I thought it was a bit unfair of the BBC commentators to say that the 'wow moment' (the flypast of planes and helicopters) wasn't happening at the end because of the rain - what more of a wow do you need than a thousand boats on the Thames?    And for heaven's sake, stop moaning about the weather and just get a proper coat and wellies, why don't you, you soft commentating types!  It's Britain!  It rains! 

There are details of all the participating boats and ships here.   I think some of the TV commentators would have been a lot more interesting if they had just read out details from the PDFs.  Or indeed, if they had just stopped wittering on and let us listen to the music.

I even slightly regretted that we hadn't thought of actually going to see it in person (and that is saying something because normally I am second to none in my hatred of both crowds and the Great Wen.)  

I particularly liked the brilliant red footmen on the Britannia launch, who stood perilously balancing right on the edge.  I was rather hoping one of them might be swept overboard and have to be fished out with a boathook, but alas no. :-D  

Also, it added an interesting new dimension to 'Rule Britannia' that the poor singers perched on top of their Musical Boat were by that stage absolutely wringing wet with the heavy rain, and therefore looked like they were less ruling the waves than emerging from them as a sort of Merpeople Choir. 

We were looking out for the Cotehele Cornish gig team who train on the Tamar a couple of miles from where we live, but didn't manage to spot them for sure.  There was one boat with the most gigantic St Piran's flag which kept popping up all over the place though. - Aha!  It was the Cornish lugger 'Barnabas' - apparently they had a special mast set up just for their monster flag. :-D

This one, the oldest boat there, may be my favorite of all the boats.   It made me think of this poem by James Elroy Flecker which probably most of you know anyway, but here it is for anyone who hasn't come across it:

I HAVE seen old ships sail like swans asleep
Beyond the village which men still call Tyre,
With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep
For Famagusta and the hidden sun
That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;
And all those ships were certainly so old—
Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun,
Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
The pirate Genoese
Hell-raked them till they rolled
Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold.
But now through friendly seas they softly run,
Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green,
Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold.

But I have seen,
Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn
And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay,
A drowsy ship of some yet older day;
And, wonder's breath indrawn,
Thought I—who knows—who knows—but in that same
(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new
—Stern painted brighter blue—)
That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
From Troy's doom-crimson shore,
And with great lies about his wooden horse
Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.

It was so old a ship—who knows, who knows?
—And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
To see the mast burst open with a rose,
And the whole deck put on its leaves again.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
4th Jun, 2012 06:02 (UTC)
Lovely cake and lovely poem. N.
4th Jun, 2012 06:35 (UTC)
That is a wonderful poem. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend!
4th Jun, 2012 09:57 (UTC)
Given my allergy to bunting, I find your cake strangely attractive. Yum.

LOL at the Merpeople Choir... Traditional British weather, that is. People watching the broadcast in far off countries will have had their expectations fulfilled.

4th Jun, 2012 23:45 (UTC)
Cake is still cake, even with bunting on. :-D
4th Jun, 2012 12:13 (UTC)
Thank you for the flotilla information. It's enough to almost make me wish I watched.

Cake is lookin' good.
4th Jun, 2012 14:05 (UTC)
I was about to say that water icing was the only feasible option for a yesterday cake, then I remembered the existence of royal icing, then I remembered the cold sogginess of all those poor singers, and, yup, back to water icing as the only choice.

So many interesting boats; so few attempts by the commentators to tell us a single interesting thing whatsoever about them. Grr! I didn't want anyone to fall in, because then they'd be embarrassed and might cry for the rest of the lives.

Also, I was waiting for your happy mercyclists to burst from the waves, with shrimps, and do some sort of synchronised cycleyswimmy thing behind the soggy merchoir.
4th Jun, 2012 23:51 (UTC)
Oh I know, weren't the commentators awful? They really didn't seem to have done any homework at all and had no idea what they were commentating on: really embarrassing!

Now I have a dilemma: I was going to have a go at a flotilla painting, but I had planned something relatively realistic. But maybe mercyclists would add a pleasing tint of urban fantasy :-D

Are your lungs recovering yet?
5th Jun, 2012 12:24 (UTC)
Lungs are a lot better this morning. Annoyingly, my throat got jealous of my lungs getting all the attention, and got very sore indeed on Sunday morning, but even that is a bit better this morning. So I'll probably be entirely better in time for work tomorrow, having ailed my way through the four day weekend. Grump!
4th Jun, 2012 22:49 (UTC)
Brilliant cake!

I too thought the boats were wonderful but the commentary left much to be desired. We miss a Dimbleby or two for this sort of thing!
4th Jun, 2012 23:54 (UTC)
We kept switching from Sky to BBC and back in a vain quest for someone who actually knew what they were looking at...

The BBC had one chap who had been brought in as a boat expert: he was good. They should have dumped most of the rest of them and just have him talk us through the boats, that was the kind of coverage I was hoping for!
7th Jun, 2012 03:03 (UTC)
thank you for the link to that wonderful old barge--and the poem! like it even more than "All I ask is a tall ship" and maybe as much as "the golden road to Samarkand". Love poems about boats. <3
9th Jun, 2012 14:22 (UTC)
Ah, I'm almost sad I missed it - the idea of the merpeople choir is splendid!!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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