Sunday, 3 June 2012
The Little Princess is most impressed with the idea of wearing red, white and blue, and has taken this to heart, not just for Friday's "Street Party Picnic In The Playground" at school, but as The Law for the rest of the weekend. Cue many tears when the above outfit hits the washing machine. She's also been attempting to teach us the "Why I See Eat" song; mystifying until she starts both tune and action rather than words. I believe the rest of the world may know it better as "YMCA".
Minor side note - does that shorter leg look re-dislocated to you?
Eschewing the town's street party, concert, bun throwing and other potential drowning situations today, we decided the only sensible thing to do would be to make chocolate brownies. I suppose a decent Victorian Sponge ("Jam Cake" according to tLP) might have been more patriotic, but less easily turned wheat free, in honour of a friend we're visiting tomorrow.
The cats decided to celebrate in a half-hearted way, but half-sacrificing a little brown bird. Thoughtfully, they brought it in, dripping and flapping and chirping, and encouraged it to hide under the settee. Nice. What's kinder? To leave the bird to die (noisily) under the settee, out of reach of the cats but terrified, or to shovel the bird out into the garden under a tree and keep the cats in until they've hopefully forgotten about it? Can't quite bring myself to finish what the cats have started. Am however considering going off cats. Especially as they both also seem to be perfecting the midnight dash through the catflap and onto a sleeping human face, as swiftly as possible, with as much mud and water as possible. Colour me somewhat unimpressed.
And in the meantime, I'm trying to sort out where I stand on this whole monarchy thing. Is it right that anyone gets to be in such a position purely by virtue (?) of birth? Is it right that someone gets to be the head (under God) of our established church, again by birthright? Should anyone carry the title "Defender of the Faith" when the original title holder turned his back on the pope who bestowed it, and founded a whole new church so he could have a nice divorce and marry a new wife or five? Historians, please excuse my gross oversimplifications. And, at a time when we are being constantly told there's no money and that cuts are inevitable, is it right to spend a reasonably vast sum on a giant party for one woman?
On the other hand, seeing various different voluntary groups all coming together, watching communities working with each other to coordinate big lunches, that has to be a good thing, surely? And if we had no king or queen, who would become the national figurehead? The smarmiest of ex-political leaders? The wealthiest of businessmen? The winner of the next Big Brother/Britain's Got Talent/Big Thing?
I belong to the Church of England. I don't have to; we have religious freedom here, I am free to join any church or none. But I choose to consider myself an Anglican (and a Christian; it is possible to be both!), I choose to ally myself with the established church, I choose to associate myself with all the controversies and struggles and embarrassments which are the inevitable result of layering history, faith, religion, imperfect people, theology, tradition, state, and more imperfect people into one whole sort of general mishmash of a Church. Which means, I suppose, that I get to choose to celebrate 60 years on the throne for one woman, who seems to have handled the responsibility with grace and dedication.
Times change; we might occasionally still sing All Things Bright and Beautiful, but we probably skip through the verse "The rich man in his castle/The poor man at his gate/God made them high and lowly/And order'd their estate". And I'm reasonably certain no one these days adds "Lord grant that Marshal Wade/May by thy mighty aid/Victory bring/May he sedition hush/And like a torrent rush/Rebellious Scots to crush/God save the King" to the National Anthem. Marshal Wade? And our Queen today certainly has less power of the beheading and imprisoning variety than some of her earlier ancestors. But, whilst times change, if I'm going to call myself a Christian then I should probably look to the Bible when I'm trying to work this out, and 1 Peter 2 seems to be fairly clear - Honour mankind. Respect the brotherhood of believers. Fear God, and honour the king. Or in our case, the queen.
So it seems fitting today, to set aside concerns for the future, and instead to finish this post here in Westminster Abbey where pageantry, royalty, and faith can combine to produce this: