Just Going For A Walk

I had been planning to blog about our earliest form of transport for a while, then walking took on yet another aspect last week with the royal funeral, the various processions leading up to it and of course The Queue. But first back to basics.

Have you heard people comment, or perhaps you have said it yourself…

I don’t do hills. I don’t do walking. I don’t like walking.

I was once watching a comedy in which the teenager daughter greets her mother’s return home. ‘I didn’t know where you were, I thought you’d gone for a walk.‘ Mother replies ‘Walk! I’ve never been for a walk in my life.’

Someone describing how the heat was not a problem in Singapore with the air conditioned malls… I asked ‘What if you want to go for a walk?’ He replied looking puzzled ‘Why would you want to go for a walk?’

Why would you not want to walk, the most natural activity for humans, exercise that costs nothing and a handy way to get where you want to go. During Covid lockdown it was one of the few activities allowed and non dog owners discovered new delights. I love walking, but I have no desire to trek to either pole or up to Everest base camp; solo or with companions, who I would be intensely irritated with by the third day… But ordinary walking, enjoying the fresh air, scenery, perhaps photography and probably ending up at a nice cafe or pub is fun for everyone… What do non walkers do when they go for a day out or on holiday? You may think National Trust Houses have large grounds because the original owners owned all the local land; no, it’s so we can have a nice walk before having lunch in the restaurant and looking round the house. No holiday is complete without a walk along a cliff path or a steep ascent up a hill to enjoy the view.

Modern technology, from super electronic wheelchairs to state of the art artificial limbs allow many who are disabled to get out and about with their friends and family who are fit and able to walk. Walking is freedom and not to be taken for granted; those under repressive regimes or living in dangerous areas cannot just go out for a walk. If you are used to walking everywhere it’s a reminder of the privilege when you ‘do something’ to your back or knee and suddenly can’t walk. The leaflets we were given when having chemotherapy suggest that ‘going for a short walk will help combat fatigue’ – this turned out to be a joke as most of each three week cycle it was a struggle to get to the front gate or up the stairs. It was an insight into the chronic fatigue that people with Long Covid and other debilitating medical conditions have to cope with.

So back to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth 11. Whatever your views on royalty or television ( blanket ) coverage of the events, there was a fascination with both the formal traditions and the spontaneous acts of those who came to queue to watch a procession or for The Queen’s lying in. There is something dignified and humbling about the men of the family and others close to the royals walking slowly behind the coffin. Princess Anne joined them, as she did for her father’s funeral, a token man for the day? Presumably it is tradition that only the men walk. If any of the chaps didn’t like walking they were in for a tiring time. I like a brisk walk, walking slowly at a measured pace is much harder, I have tried it round the house. Nor did I go up to London to join The Queue, almost a pilgrimage. They had a long distance to cover at a very slow pace, I wondered if there were escape points for those who changed their minds and just wanted to go home.

There are environmental benefits if everyone walked on short journeys and for writers it is one of the best ways to see real life, but those are topics for another blog.

Are you a walker or non walker? If you enjoy walking what is your favourite sort of walk?

Tidal Thoughts of an Idle Scribe

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Whatever your thoughts on monarchy, wherever you live, if you are in a safe and comfortable spot and not dealing with war or natural disaster, you will be well aware of The Queen’s death and either following or avoiding the lead up to the funeral tomorrow. Though a sad time, it is also one of the greatest shows on earth, full of human interest from the folk in The Queue to the many royals, world leaders and assorted dignitaries arriving. If you get in a panic when you have a family gathering or visitors coming to stay, imagine the preparations for this get together. Of course plans are always in place for big events, but have to be tailored at the last moment down to the finest detail of diplomatically deciding who will sit next to whom.

I think most humans love some pageantry and colour in their lives; history, art, music, beautiful horses and dear little choir boys all come together and lift us above the seedy world of politics and the mundanity of everyday life. The monarch and the government have a responsibility to defend their country and their people. The monarch is the chief of the armed forces, hence the wearing of military uniform by so many royals; no, I don’t know how they manage to acquire quite so many medals! Alas we know that a peaceful world is still unattainable, we need our armed forces and they are proud to be marching.

However, the solemnity of the occasion does not stop me having irreverent thoughts. When will the Lego or Playmobil Royal Funeral sets be coming out? Think of all the colourful characters to collect.

Where do the royal family and all those other officials who dress up, keep all their uniforms?

Dipping in to the endless chat on the radio I heard a presenter talking to some important military person about the funeral procession. When he mentioned the Royal Canadian Mounted Police taking part she asked him if they were bringing their horses and he said he wasn’t sure! How would they bring them, but how could they not bring them? Would they have to borrow ponies from the local riding school?

It was feasible that I could have jumped on a train at Bournemouth, up to Waterloo Station and sauntered down to the South Bank to join The Queue, a long walk to the end of the queue, but not as long as the slow walk to finally cross the River Thames and approach Westminster. I am impressed by those who have gone and it seems most were making new friends and having quite a jolly time. When they interview those who come out after their few moments passing by the queen’s coffin they all seem to have found it an amazing, solemn experience that will stay with them forever. But I didn’t go, I never have gone to London for the big crowd events, I have enough trouble deciding what to wear or take for a normal day out.

If any of you have been to pay your respects in any part of the country during The Queen’s journey from Balmoral, tell us how it was. Or will you be watching the funeral tomorrow at home or perhaps on one of the big screens local authorities are putting up so people can watch together?

The Queen’s final resting place will be at Windsor Castle.

A Strange Week.

This is where many of us feel we have been this past week.

For many the summer holidays are over and a new school year has started. After having all the family visiting, not quite at the same time and being away helping with tiny Tidalscribes last week, I am keen to start my autumn term in the blogging world.

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Strange goings on at Chez Tidalscribe

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Children should be neither seen nor heard.

But as Prince Louis and my youngest grandson both started school and my eldest grandson became a teenager, there were far greater landmarks about to happen.

The death of Queen Elizabeth 11 on Thursday September 8th seemed to come suddenly. It was only on Tuesday that our new prime minister, Liz Truss, had been pictured meeting The Queen, who as tradition demands, asked her to form a new government. She looked frail and the meeting took place at Balmoral to spare Her Majesty the journey to Buckingham Palace, but it was only when we heard news later of her family rushing to Balmoral that her health was obviously worse than the public knew.

A drama and a moment in history that no script writer could have made up. The only monarch most of us have ever known had lived to see her platinum jubilee and just long enough to ‘see off’ Boris Johnson, as he put it.

King Charles 111 spoke movingly and seems so far to have people’s support. Whatever your own religious beliefs, the Queen took her oath sincerely to serve God and her country and Charles spoke of God Almighty and his faith. It is surely welcome that royals, unlike politicians, acknowledge a higher power. I always envy those people who brave the crowds, bring their flowers, chat to the press and make memories that will last. Many more of us have been following on television. It is a sad occasion, but also full of drama; from the many people of all sorts on the streets, to the interesting traditions, mostly involving colourful uniforms, coming into play as we lead up to the funeral.

I see no reason why Charles should not be a good king and perhaps at his weekly audiences with our new prime minister he can steer her down the green and humanitarian route we so badly need. My grandchildren will hopefully live to see three kings in their life time.

To round off a strange week this single rose had appeared in my garden when I got home on Friday.

Silly Saturday – Quexit

Buckingham Palace announced today that Britain will be leaving The Commonwealth. The news shocked many of the 53 member states who believed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and The Commonwealth of Nations would last forever. A spokesman for Charles, Prince of Wales, who in 2018 was appointed The Queen’s designated successor, said holding a referendum on this important change would have been too divisive for the United Kingdom; learning lessons from Brexit the exit will be swift. The spokesman denied that this monumental decision had anything to do with yesterday’s news that The Royal Family will be leaving Britain.

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Although commentators initially believed The Queen was influenced by Prince Harry’s recent emigration, the shock news was later revealed that The Royal Family are not actually British. After receiving Ancestor DNA kits for Christmas, members of the family discovered they were 99% related to Europe Royal, a unique and entirely separate genetic group whose origins date back more than a millennium. One possible theory put forward by geneticists is that the kings and queens of Europe could only marry each other.

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No statement has been issued about the future of the royal family, but it is believed Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja have issued a warm welcome to any royal wishing to take up residence in Norway. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not commented on reports that their new Canadian home includes a granny flat.

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The Windsors will not be the only family leaving the United Kingdom. The roll out programme that started with all residents not born in Britain has now been extended to all Britons who cannot prove the ownership of four British grandparents. Shocked Leavers vented their worries on social media.

No one told us this would happen, we wanted to leave the European Union, not Britain.

Hang on… even the Prime Minister wasn’t born in Britain…

I wouldn’t have voted for Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson if I had known his 5x great grandfather was King Frederick I of Württemberg!

I’m going to get one of those Ancestor DNA kits and prove I’m British.

I don’t even know who my father is let alone who my grandparents are.

If Leavers were also worried they put on a brave face.

Didn’t we say Brexit would be a disaster?

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Silly Saturday – Baz Fixes Brexit

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Few of you will remember Baz the Bad Blogger, most of his blogs sink without trace, his words not mine, I would not be so rude to a guest. His winning of the Unread Bloggers Award gave him a boost in confidence and perhaps drew the attention of the powers that be.  Today I am thrilled to be first to interview Baz since his sudden rise to fame. Let Baz tell his own story.

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Hello Baz, happy Saturday. Did you always have political aspirations?

Well I do sweat a lot.

Had you met members of the Royal Family before?

No thank goodness.

Would you call yourself a republican?

I do like a drink, real ale.

You don’t have to answer this question, but did you vote Leave or Remain in the 2016 referendum?

I didn’t bother voting, I had no idea what it was all about, still don’t.

So being neutral, neither Remainer nor Leaver, makes you the perfect candidate for the new position.

If you say so.

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I think we are all keen to hear how it came about that, after Her Majesty the Queen dissolved Parliament late on Sunday night, you became a member of the new parliament and were quickly appointed a minister by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.

Oh Charles you mean. I have to be modest here. Members of Parliament were to be chosen from among bloggers with the most Likes, but most of them didn’t want the job.

But to be chosen for The Cabinet as well, that was a surprise.

Not when Charles heard my Big Idea, Baz’s Big Idea he called it, wondered why no one had thought of it before.

Can you reveal it?

Weelll, do many people read this blog?

No, hardly any.

Okay then; this is my plan to please everybody. We leave the European Union as soon as possible, tomorrow… Leavers are happy. Then on Monday morning Europe joins us and Remainers are happy, not only are we still part of Europe, even better, Europe is part of us. The European Union will become part of the United Kingdom, The United Kingdom of Europe.

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The Game of Life – 22-1-19

Warning: Do you dare to play the game of life? If you don’t want to read about illness and death or you dislike dark humour please avoid this blog, but I hope you will continue to visit my Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday blogs.

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 The Waiting Game

General outpatients is a pleasant place, light colours, sometimes quiet, today busy. Our oncologist is here and not at the Jigsaw building because she is from the other hospital. A mute television with subtitles is playing afternoon programmes and we are just in time for Doctors! We already  know one result from last week’s scan, Cyberspouse had a couple of blood clots so will have to have daily injections for six months; a choice  between a district nurse and DIY propelled him to have a go and it’s quite simple.

We progress to the chairs outside the little rooms, all the chairs are full. As he has been well and eating well we are feeling positive and prepared to be positive whatever. Results are mixed, different chemotherapy, but as his health is good he can start immediately.

At the Jigsaw it is always jolly, the reception desk has a friendly greeting for everyone and the whole place is very calm, we never seem to wait long. Each patient has their own bay with low walls, there is background music.

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The Retirement Game

Life goes on for Cyberspouse much the same as it has since he retired not that long ago, recycled teenager days. Out with the chaps or out and about with other couples ( the cosy world that not all get to enjoy ). Can you spend a whole day  at Ikea? Yes. ‘Did you get the two for one voucher for fish and chips?’ Yes…

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The Number Game

Everybody seems to be talking about the nineties, not the 1990’s but the tenth decade that some reach. My mother is the same age as The Queen, though she doesn’t get out and about as much, her mind and hearing are as sharp as Her Majesty’s. A lot of bloggers have been talking about their mothers of a similar age, my friend is a full time carer for hers. On our RVS Books on Wheels round we have four visits, five very different folk but all in their tenth decade. Mr. and Mrs are in a tiny retirement flat, different taste in books. Our next lady reads a book a day; we take twenty library books every three weeks and she only likes murder mystery. She lives by herself, has had times in hospitals, but ignored their warnings of dire consequences if she didn’t have this or that done and in her early nineties has outlived a daughter and a son-in-law.  She says she is never lonely, happy by herself. Our gentleman lives in a nursing home, the sort made of houses stuck together, where you fall down sloping corridors and trip where the houses have been joined up, but the staff are friendly, it feels homely. He is completely blind and has talking books, always has a story to tell about when he was a barrister in the House of Lords. This week one of the staff told us he had gone downhill since Christmas, not because of shingles, but because a clairvoyant once told him he would die when he was 96, his age now. For a very educated man this seems odd, but when we see him he has certainly changed.

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Ninety Seven is the age of the Duke of Edinburgh, in the news this week, knocking Brexit off the agenda for a few hours, after his miraculous escape unhurt after a car crash. Not on the Sandringham estate, but out on a busy A road. A little while back when Cyberspouse was in Windsor, strolling up the Long Walk with his camera near the castle, along came a carriage and fine black horses driven by the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke called out ‘Can’t you find anything better to bloody photograph?’ Cyberspouse replied that he was only snapping the horses.  The girl grooms on the back laughed. When I heard the story I was surprised the duke was still carriage driving, while other people of his age are on their mobility scooters or housebound,  it seems he does not intend to stop driving of any sort yet. There has been fervoured discussion as to what age people should be compelled to give up; whatever the cause of the accident, it was every parent’s and grandparent’s nightmare as there was a baby in the back of the other car, luckily unhurt. Public indignation increased when a new Landrover was delivered the next day ( a gift perhaps, as the publicity was a gift to Landrover, how safe the vehicle must be to roll over and not harm the driver ) the duke was soon driving again and being cautioned by the police for not wearing a seat belt. For some, life goes on…

 

 

Silly Saturday – Queen’s Speech Leaked

An unnamed source, claiming to be close to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, says part or all of the Queen’s Christmas Message has been leaked to a little known writer and blogger.

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Queen Elizabeth the second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, broadcasts her message to the nation and The Commonwealth on television at 3pm on Christmas Day. How hard it must be to condense a year, a lifetime, the longest reign in the world, into ten minutes of wisdom interspersed with family movies.

But this year it seems the Queen is set to shake the nation out of their after lunch stupor.

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“It was with great joy that I and my family celebrated two weddings this year, plus the birth of a new prince, reminding us all how important families are. We take comfort in the love of our families while all around us the world seems to face so many problems. The Christmas message of peace and goodwill can sometimes seem so far away and the World so hard to change, but we can all play our part. We must hold on to hope, at the same time taking every opportunity to offer help in practical ways. When my family and I took an AncestoryDNA test earlier this year we looked forward eagerly to the result, wondering what surprises lay in store. When the Duke of Edinburgh and I received our results we were reminded just how close we are to European Royalty, to mainland Europe itself; 33% Europe West, 33% Europe East 33% Europe Central were our precise results. It is for this reason, among others, that in 2019, the Royal House of Mountbatten-Windsor will be relocating to mainland Europe before the finalising of Brexit in March. The House of Liechtenstein have already offered us sanctuary, as has King Felipe VI of Spain.

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But though Europe has been occupying our thoughts this year, so too has the Commonwealth and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia were a great showcase. By the time of the next games in 2022 the Commonwealth of Nations will be larger. Last month a delegation from the United States of America visited Buckingham Palace to request closer ties between our two nations. As a result of very positive discussions my government will confirm that the monarchy is to be restored in the north american colonies. They will henceforth be called the United Kingdom of North America and the coronation of King Harry will take place on May Day 2019. Spring will also bring the arrival of the baby expected by King Harry and Queen Megan, this baby will be heir to the throne of the UKNA. It will be a great blessing for Megan to be reunited with her family and for her subjects to be united with their neighbours Canada in the Commonwealth of Nations.

May all our countries, ancient and modern know peace in 2019, I wish God’s blessing for you and all your families.”

Wonderful Windsor Wedding

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The Japanese tourist gasped as the toddler hurtled towards the castle wall, beyond lay a steep drop down the grassy bank.

Before the Windsor Castle fire of 1992, the public were free to wander round most of the castle grounds. The Royal family still had their private gardens. You could pay to just see Queen Mary’s dolls house, or to go in parts of the castle. The free wander round made a pleasant outing for children or Australian visitors on a sunny day.

I don’t think anyone’s child has ever fallen over the wall, but ‘bad parents’ also had another child wander into the guard room in an unguarded moment, he was quickly ejected.

The town of Windsor in Royal Berkshire is still a great place to visit, a playground for those who live near or work at Heathrow airport. Why did the Queen have her castle built right under the flight path? The streets around the castle are thronged with tourists all year round, though not as crowded as today for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Though we often visit Windsor, we weren’t there today. I don’t like crowds, but I do admire the spirit of the stalwarts who camp out for days for royal events. Like millions of others we stayed at home and had an excellent view on television. Billions around the world?  How do they know how many people are watching in their own homes? My sister in Australia was and my daughter-in-law in the USA was up at 2am ready to switch on.

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You may have thought from news coverage that everybody in the country was avidly interested, but this is not so. In Britain, royalists and republicans are as sharply divided as Remainers and Brexiteers, but we chopped our king’s head off long ago, did not like the alternative and welcomed back the monarchy. Ten European countries still have a king or queen. Through many ups and downs The Windsors are still with us and Queen Elizabeth the Second is the only monarch most of us have lived under, seeing off many prime ministers and far wiser than most of them no doubt. Truly a spiritual head of the country, above politics; whatever anybody else believes I am sure the Queen truly believes in the holy vows she took on her coronation. She is head of the Church of England, it is our state religion and a Christian wedding is what took place today. Most of us don’t bother to go to church, but we do expect the church to be there in all its glory for special occasions.

The happy atmosphere and the vast crowds showed plenty of people still love monarchy and tradition. Humans love colour, pageantry, romance and drama. We enjoyed all of that today with sunny weather making it perfect.

I know nothing about Meghan or her acting career, but she seems a graceful and warm person who has slipped easily into her fairy tale princess role.

The wedding went perfectly; nine o’clock seemed early for full coverage to start, but guests were arriving and there were outfits to admire and the guessing game of who was who. People from all walks of life, no politicians, just the occasional prince from afar such as Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

The bride had ten delightful little bridesmaids and page boys. Inside the church there was beautiful music. Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal church livened up the Cof E with his rousing sermon on love.

The sun was still shining as the bride and groom emerged from Saint George’s chapel and it was time for the beautiful horses to play their starring role. The Windsor Greys pulled the carriage, the Household Cavalry escorted them on their shiny black steeds, through the streets then back up the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park and the return to the castle for the Queen to host lunch, our part in the wedding was over.

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