Jaqui's Daily Blog

Wishing We Were There

Mr B’s lovely carer, Donna, suggested she come early this morning at eight o’clock. If she came at her usual time, she pointed out sensibly, it would be in the middle of the Queen’s State Funeral - an error of timing which would not go down well with Mr B. She knows him so well…


Thus it was that by just after 9 a.m. we were able to settle down to watch the latest - and last - chapters of the remarkable and memorable saga which has been played out over the last ten days.


I doubt anybody could have watched more hours of TV coverage than we have. It started on the Thursday afternoon when, returning from a SportIng Memories meeting, we caught the first announcement that all was not well. We couldn’t turn off, or turn over (who could watch Pointless when waiting, watching, praying that maybe, just maybe our Queen might miraculously pull through?) so we were still there when the news came through. Stunned isn’t the half of it.


Over the following days we watched it all. We marvelled at the King’s speech (“May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”); congratulated Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales for each, in turn, putting on services, commemorations, acts of condolence which perfectly demonstrated their individual national characters; and wept with members of the Royal family stoically living out their private misery in the glare of publicity.


We wondered at the stout-hearted souls who joined the queue to view the Queen’s Lying-in-State, surviving hours on end on Pringles and doughnuts. Could we have done that? we asked each other - in earlier days, that is, before Mr B’s health failed and my knee gave up? We felt ashamed to admit we probably wouldn’t, though it would have been good to be there. Wouldn’t it? At which point we turned back to the TV screen, appreciating again our close-up view of events as they happened.


Each solemn procession, each Church service, brought the same questions from Mr B who believes me to be the Fount of all Knowledge. If I had a pound for every time he asked me the name of Princess Anne’s husband, I’d be rich indeed. When my Little Sister and her fella came for the day Barrie was able, being ex-military himself, to describe the various uniforms on parade. It was excellent to be able to distinguish correctly our Field Marshals from our Vice-Admirals - and saved me making something up to satisfy my persistent inquisitor.


Today, the State Funeral and, oh, the pageantry! The precision of all involved, each step timed exact to the minute.The assembly of Heads of State amid more ordinary (but extraordinary) folk in the Abbey. The soaring music, the prayers, the lone piper sounding the lament, the notes of the bag-pipes fading slowly into the distance. A part of me did wonder if the family might have liked the kind of funeral where photos of the beloved are flashed onto a screen, Frank Sinatra sings “My Way” and someone reads an eulogy detailing funny stories about eccentric Great Aunt Aggie’s life and times. Perish the thought! It was as magnificently splendid as it needed to be.


It would have been good to be one of the farmers, lining up their tractors to salute the Queen’s passage from Balmoral. Or one of the school children outside splendid Llandaff Cathedral offering the new King Charles home-made cards of sympathy. It would have been good to be one of those lining the Long Walk at Windsor this afternoon. All we did, Mr B and I, was to watch it played out before us, day after day.


Maybe, I have to comfort myself, paraphrasing someone cleverer than I, we also mourn who only sit and watch…


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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