Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Patriotism and a Long Weekend

This weekend was the Queen's diamond jubilee. Which firstly, is a Bloody Long Time, and secondly, meant we got a rather beautiful four day weekend. Of course, as a member of the Great Unemployed, I have a seven day weekend, so it didn't mean a lot to me. Gavin, however, as a useful and contributing member of society, got some time off work, and so joined me in Newcastle for a bit of confused patriotism.

Street party decorations in Gosforth, Newcastle

I say 'confused' because I don't really know how I feel about the monarchy overall. Not that the monarchy isn't an amazing thing - they're such a huge part of the UK's history and culture, bring us a lot of invaluable tourism, and, it would seem, still manage to lift people's spirits in economically rubbish times, if the millions of people going nuts this weekend is anything to go by. However, I'm going to point you in the general direction of this blog entry by an internet acquaintance (and fellow St Andrews alumnus!) as some food for thought. But, ideological wrestlings in my brain aside, I think the Queen is rather adorable and I do love a good party. ;)

Grace Halfpenny, complete with tiny, adorable flag

I wasn't by any means up close and personal with the Royals this time, but I deployed my 6-foot Union Jack and settled in front of the TV with Gavin, leftover pizza from last night, and some Asda's own-brand pop. We may also be St Andrews alumni who are going to get married, but we are considerably less classy.

Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
Jessica presents the Thames Jubilee Pageant 

Much like the Royal Wedding last year, the BBC commentary was just hilarious. In a dreadful, unintentional way. From the presenter leaping around a maternity ward presenting 'Jubilee Babies' with special bibs (post-labour mums unimpressed) to John Barrowman for some reason popping up on the boat with the bells and threatening to ring them, it was just a mess. Particularly enjoyed some of the commentary regarding the 'parking' of the Royal Barge, in which one of the commentators wisely informed us that 'people don't realise that boats aren't like cars.' Thanks for that, Beeb. I'd always been a bit fuzzy on the differences.

Sycamore Gap, aka 'The Robin Hood Tree' along Hadrian's Wall

Gav and I took a break from royalty to enjoy Northumberland, which is just my favourite place in the world. Hadrian's Wall is just stunning from start to finish, and we explored it a little bit last summer. This time, we walked along the other side, the 'Barbarian's view of the Wall.'

The Barbarian's View of the Wall
The Barbaria's View of the Wall

Sigh. Those views! I've always privately associated Hadrian's Wall with the Wall of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, and wikipedia confirmed this for me yesterday, which pleases me greatly. Newcastle is therefore clearly Winterfell, I am a Stark, and Gavin is an uncivilised, uncouth Wildling. :P

Gavin of the North

I know the Vikings didn't really have an awful lot to do with the Romans, or Hadrian's Wall, but I couldn't resist letting my Lego marauders do some historically inaccurate raiding...

Hadrian's Wall
The happy couple

I wrestled with self-timer to try and get a photo with both me and Gavin, because there really aren't enough and I'm a big sap like that. The Wall very helpfully provided both backdrop and tripod equivalent.

Alice & Grabby

There we are, in all our sweaty glory! We met a hilarious lady of even more impressive sweatiness and her young son, who was desperate for the toilet and dragging her along the path far too fast. There are a lot of ups and downs, and it's relatively tough going. Unprompted, she shared with us that it was far worse with her older son, who used to eat enormous amounts of fruit. She then darkly informed us: "He had five a day. And I'm not talking about the fruit." 

I love Geordies. 

And just a quick note to tag on the end here - in case anyone is interested  - I got my final exam results yesterday. All in all I look set to get the degree classification I wanted, and I'm very chuffed. More on that when I actually graduate in a couple of weeks!  

alice xox

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