So many things to do, so little time to do them. Why is that always the way – or is it an age thing? How many times, when you were little, were you told to wait until you’re older when the years will just fly by? Yes. Yes. Who listened?! No truer word spoken, though. Almost mid-May, now – try telling the weather that – and in just over a month, the nights will be drawing in. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. The Christmas cards will be in the shops (bet you!) and it will be time to unpack my famous reindeer, once more. Yes! Oh, and that tree stand which is still sitting in the hall waiting to go to the container – don’t ask – will rejoice at its renewed purpose. Meanwhile, last year’s tree, which I noticed the other day – tucked away beside the shed in the garden – has lost none of its needles; they’re just a golden hue of brown. Recycling. Might catch on!
It is scary how quickly the months have flown. Lots to be packed in before Christmas, though, and, in fact, in a matter of weeks, we will be sitting in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, basking in the evening sun – large glass of Cervaro to hand – being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli. Now, that’s what I call living! I cannot wait, forever appreciative of the need to have something to look forward to. For, it is all too easy to be dragged down by the mundane; the every day drudge. Sucks the oxygen from life! Like hamsters on a wheel … Nobody who has seen the magnificent, Oscar-worthy film, Living (check out my Seriously Good! page), could fail to heed its message. Life is a gift. We’re only here once and the short time we have is not guaranteed. Spend it not in the pursuit of money but, rather, in making memories – and taking photographs. Photographs & Memories. Learnt that a long time ago – in the womb, some would say! The title of one of my favourite songs, too, by Jim Croce. His life was certainly cut short, killed in a plane crash in 1973. He was only thirty. Somehow, though, listening to the lyrics of his beautiful songs – his lasting legacy – there is a comfort in knowing that he already knew what really mattered.
Photographs & Memories. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the large island in our old kitchen? I never wanted one but the design and layout dictated its necessity. Huge, it proved not the perfect surface for preparation and cooking but, rather, for my giant plant (no idea what it is, seventeen years later, but it wears the fairy lights well) and, more importantly, my array of framed photographs. The complaints from the other inhabitants in the house were endless but it was my domain and I loved it! More to the point, I never tired of looking at these memories, moments in time captured forever, as I chopped vegetables in the only corner remaining. It’s called priorities!
So, here I am, sitting at my beloved desk, looking over a sun-streamed garden. Only two days ago, I was driving with fog lights on! Anyway, the point is, my desk is an old, mahogany partner’s desk – and large! Lots of room for laptop, books and notes … Well, yes and no. It is covered in, you’ve guessed it, photographs! In fact, as I write – I’ve left enough room for my laptop – I have a model yacht beside me whose name I have just, successfully, added in Tippex. Actually, looks rather good amongst the photographs and, as ever, it represents a special memory. Cluttered? Some would say. Takes all sorts. To me, ‘clutter’ is an extension of one’s personality; an eclectic display. My paintings, my photographs, my books … everything around me is me! My story. No blank canvas and, hopefully, worthy of my chosen epitaph: At least she was never boring! Nothing wrong with being prepared …
The Coronation. My chosen subject for today – in two hundred words. Nothing if not brief is my motto – obvs! Do not overthink. In summary, off the top of my head, then … The ceremonial display, the pomp and pageantry, the spectacle, the theatre, the music, the history and tradition? Unrivalled. Magnificent. The Windsor Greys, so proudly pulling the Gold State Coach which, built 1762, has been used as the vehicle of Kings and Queens in coronations, jubilees and royal events ever since. The Household Cavalry, the pipes and drums of the Scots Guard, the meticulous marching of the foot soldiers, the bands playing en route through the historic city with its iconic landmarks; Westminster Abbey, in all its grandeur, the symbolic resting place of The Unknown Soldier and that of Edward the Confessor, Charles Dickens, David Livingstone, Thomas Hardy, the list goes on. Geoffrey Chaucer was buried in the Abbey in 1400, from which time that part became Poet’s Corner … It’s the history; the tradition. No other country lays claim to such wealth. There was speculation that King Charles, in his bid to appease the woke, may have gone one step too far with a ceremony foregoing tradition in favour of diversity and inclusivity. Granted, there was a Gospel Choir (and perhaps I was not the only one who did a double-take – just saying!) and the Commonwealth was more than represented but the authenticity of a ceremony more than a thousand years old remained untarnished. Shorter in length and fewer in number but paying due reverence to the past.
As for the main players – King Charles and Queen Camilla? I was struck throughout by his diminutive stature – he looked incredibly short – and his age. He looked so old! Of course, time waits for no man and he is, after all, now seventy-four. I don’t know. I suppose, for me, I was conscious of his lack of presence; a lack of majesty. To see him, virtually, stripped back to his underwear, too … a vulnerable, old man. As for Camilla? What of the glaring irony that, if it were not for the abdication of Edward VIII, this coronation would never be taking place? For Charles’ mother – our late Queen – would never have been crowned had it not been that her uncle was forbidden to marry a divorced woman – Wallis Simpson. He chose love over the crown, however, and, in doing so, altered the line of succession forever. Enter Camilla Parker Bowles, stage right. Oh, the irony … I thought it unnecessary, if not inappropriate for her to be crowned, acutely aware of Charles’ determination to the contrary. For I, myself, am amongst those – including Harry – who will never forget her part in Diana’s misery; her cruelty. ‘No man is an island …’. The damage continues to ripple to this day. She knew what she was doing – as did he – and, while, clearly, they are happy together, guilt, by its very nature, is insidious.
Harry? As he walked that lonely walk down the aisle, through the assembled congregation, my heart went out to him. There’s no denying the guy has guts! All I saw, though, was the little boy, lost, yet determinedly, exuding a semblance of arrogance; his mask, only concealing his vulnerability. Yes, he has lashed out at his family and made some terrible mistakes but he is troubled and weak and fell prey to a ruthless, ambitious, manipulative woman who saw him as her passport out of mediocrity. Estranged from his family, friends and country – his heritage – he is, now, completely disarmed and without back-up. Nothing more than putty in her hands. I hate it! The raw emotion and sadness in that family is there for all to see – in William, Charles and Harry.
‘Time wounds all heals.’
Tracy Letts, August: Osage County.
Some face their wounds head on. Some bury them. Some are stronger for them. Some are crippled by them. Some wounds are just too gaping to heal. The thing is, people deal with hurt differently and Harry is most definitely hurt. So, too, was his mother and, on Saturday, he had to witness the woman jointly responsible for that hurt be crowned Queen! I can only imagine and, while I cannot condone any of his recent actions, I can understand. He is, after all – unwittingly – just a means to an end.
So … that’s what I take away from the Coronation. Magnificent pomp and pageantry; a ceremony steeped in history and tradition but … at its very heart, a family broken. That’s sad.
Oh, and the most awful comment from the most ignorant woman reflecting what happens when one fans the flames of grievance. It breeds, losing all sense of proportion – and truth!
‘We have gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to a terribly white balcony.’
How dare she! The words of Adjoa Andoh, somehow invited to join the ITV commentary team on Saturday. Why? Was Ngozi Fulani otherwise engaged?! Perhaps someone should enlighten her as to the fact that Great Britain is – and always has been – a predominantly white country in which racism is not welcome!
‘Well, sometimes you can’t change and you can’t choose
And sometimes it seems you gain less than you lose.
Now, we’ve got holes in our hearts, yeah, we’ve got holes in our lives
Well, we’ve got holes, we’ve got holes but we carry on.’
This is Trish, signing off.