1977 The Queen's Silver Jubilee
There was a party in my village, on the rec. Tables and chairs were laid out in long lines. The tables were covered by flimsy plastic cloths, their red, white and blue edges flapping in the breeze.
We ate sweaty ham sandwiches. The thick grey margarine made my mouth feel funny. I ate jelly from a cardboard bowl. I had to go home to be sick.
There was a fancy dress competition. I went as Noddy. I wore a red top and blue shorts. My mum drew big red spots onto a yellow scarf with a felt tip pen. She made shoes and a hat out of blue and red felt; both had bells on. She drew circles on my cheeks with red lipstick to match the scarf. This was our go-to fancy dress costume for several years in the mid-70's. My mum wore it too. One time my dad dressed up as a woman. He wore a blonde wig. I loved that wig. Another time he dressed up as an Arab. He wore a sheet, a tea-towel, sunglasses and sandals. He carried a fat cigar as a prop.
Robert, who lived next-door-but-one, should have won the fancy dress competition. He dressed up as Dougal from The Magic Roundabout. He crawled along on the grass with a straggly rug on his back. He had a paper-plate mask on his head with Dougal's face on it. Everyone said he looked brilliant.
The judges from the Parish Council came round and gave first prize to a girl dressed as a Victorian. All she did was wear a long skirt, a white blouse and a shawl. Even at the age of seven I rolled my eyes at the injustice. The silly old duffers probably chose her because she reminded them of their childhoods. Everyone said Robert was robbed.
2012 The Queen's Diamond Jubilee
I have my Jubilympics bunting ready to go up. I'm hoping it will survive being up from the end of this week until the end of the Paralympics in September. I have my special edition Marks and Spencer tins, and a sequined union flag tote bag, and a Paralympics scarf from Our Greatest Team Rises and flags for us to wave at the Olympic Games. I'm having to resist the urge to buy a Jubilee tea-set and picnic-ware, although I do have tea-towels and mugs. We don't eat enough of the stuff to justify a jar of Ma'amite, but I bought one anyway.
There's going to be a street party in our village. I am ridiculously excited at the prospect. I'm imagining a good old-fashioned knees-up. I know a lot of parents from the school gate, so there should be some familiar faces there. There will be a bouncy castle, welly wanging and rolling pin hurling (for the ladies), and a drunken tug-of-war.
Bring it on.