Mr B and I have a Date With A Duchess. How exciting is that?!
Yes, next week we have been invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 150th anniversary
of Barnardos. We are fortunate indeed to have been invited, representing former Barnardos Boys and Girls of whom Mr B is one. Well, one of the boys, of course, not the girls. What were you thinking of?
Garden Party is being hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall, along with Princess Alexandra and the Duchess of Gloucester. This led to an interesting discussion with the lovely people at Worthing Shopmobility this morning on the subject of curtseying. Had I noticed,
Adrian asked me, how few people bowed or curtseyed to the Queen on her 90th birthday walkabout in Windsor? Have we turned our backs on the social niceties in these egalitarian days? I was ashamed to say I hadn't noticed.
I remember my dear Mum teaching my Little Sister Maggie and I how to curtsey when we were littl'uns. Presumably just in case we ever met the Queen which was rather Wishful Thinking on her part. My mum's idea of a curtsey was no mere bob downwards, oh
dear me, no. It was the Full Monty of curtseys. First we had to stand on our left leg - no wobbling, mind you - while making a wide circle with our right leg which we would then tuck behind our left leg (I do hope you are keeping up?) before bending both knees
and lowering ourselves till our skirts almost swept the floor. You may like to try this at home but make sure there is someone around to pick you up off the carpet should you happen to topple over. As with everything, practice makes perfect, and I seem to
remember Maggie and I curtseyed till we were practically perfect. We were a lot younger and, well, bendier in those days.
Mr B reckons that, if by any chance we should be introduced to Somebody Royal - and
there will be 8,000 guests at the Garden Party so the chances are slim - I should opt for a Modified Version of my mother's curtsey. Whatever that might be. It would never do to collapse in a heap on the Royal Grass, now would it? Alternatively, he suggests,
I could hide in one of the tea tents.
I am keen to visit the tea tents and not just because I am, as you know, Always Thinking of My Stomach (though this is certainly a factor). No, I am hoping to gather a
few useful tips for our own Afternoon Tea Garden Party next month in celebration of our Golden Wedding. Or, as I keep mistakenly calling it, the "Royal Wedding." Mr B says I am getting ideas well above my station. Next I'll be expecting folk to curtsey to
me. Now there's a thought. Poor Bernadette, who is catering for our Big Do, will be quaking in her shoes to think I might return from Buckingham Palace with unreasonable demands for chocolate cakes decorated with coronets. Who do I think I am - Your Majesty?
Mind you, we are only catering for a hundred guests, which is quite enough, I hear you say. What is the Queen's secret to holding successful Garden Parties for 8000 guests at a time? I suppose, being the Queen, she is
entitled to a secret or two.
Some years ago, following a visit to London which included gazing through the railings at the Guards marching up and down outside the Palace, granddaughter Hazel (Bagel) wrote
a letter to the Queen to ask her exactly how many bedrooms Buckingham Palace had. There was tremendous excitement, a few weeks later, when a reply arrived, in a cream coloured, official looking envelope, from a Lady in Waiting.
It was a very polite reply and Hazel took it to school to show her teacher. As far as "Show and Tell" is concerned, it took some beating. It did not, however, answer the question. I wonder why not? We could try asking the Duchess, if we have a chance
to speak to her. After I've curtseyed, obviously. It's perfectly possible, I suppose, that she won't know the answer.
Perhaps nobody has ever counted?