A Right Royal Weekend
‘That’s the Way to Do It!’
Down south in London town and here up north in Crosby, the 90th Queen’s Official Birthday weekend was most definitely one to be remembered.
This writer is a sucker for pageantry and colourful events anyway, but even his appetite for flamboyant display was fully fed between Friday 10th and Sunday.12th, Anno Domini 2016
On the national stage, it started with a moving service of thanksgiving from St Paul’s Cathedral – and it was good to see that wondrous edifice in such splendid use. It showed once again, with its powerful and dignified mixture of procession, music, prayer, pomp and circumstance just how very good the much-maligned C of E is at such things. If the established church ever becomes disestablished, we shall lose much that feeds our national soul and focuses our prayers and aspirations on such great occasions.
The next day saw the Trooping of the Colour. Just as you don’t have to be a monarchist to appreciate the big royal occasions, so even a pacifist would have marvelled at the precision and pride of the pageantry on display. The faultless blend of almost balletic movement and stirring music will linger long in the memory. And the weather stayed dry.
Which of course it didn’t, at least for a lot of the time in London in general and the Mall in particular, on the Sunday afternoon. Because of a certain local happening, of which more in a moment, we relied on highlights to show us later the throng of picnickers lining the processional way. It was so quintessentially British: soggy sandwiches and plastic ponchos as the faithful awaited the mass royal walkabouts. As ever, it was all smiles and flags and cheering – and maybe it wouldn’t have been half as moving and impressive if the sun had been cracking the flags.
Meanwhile, back in Crosby, St Faith’s hosted its own unique occasion. The photos in the magazine and on the website show how splendidly the whole day went. About 200 of the faithful from the four Waterloo Anglican Churches worshipped together under the benevolent presidency of Fr Gregor Cuff, who looked to be enjoying the chance to dress up and sniff the incense. The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside represented Her Majesty, but was temporarily outranked, at least in two dimensions, by the unexpected arrival of the Cardboard Queen and the Cardboard Corgi. They didn’t have those in London, I’ll be bound.
After the service it was picnic time. For while it looked as if, in the classic phrase, it would be a case of ‘If Wet, in the Hall’. But Greg petitioned the gods of the weather and the dampness drew back, at least for the next hour. Pies were partaken of, sarnies swallowed and, just in time, celebratory goodies arrived. Cub cakes (no, that’s not a typo) were ferried around, and glasses of bubbly followed. There was just time for a loyal toast, using the hallowed Lancashire words: ‘The Queen, the Duke of Lancaster!’ They won’t have had that in the Mall either, I’ll be bound.
With exquisite timing, the rain then ensued and we all ran for cover and the warmth of home fires. It has been an entirely excellent occasion, thanks to the efforts of many good folk and true. It was both a fine St Faith’s event, and a pointer as to how well the forthcoming Waterloo Group Ministry can bring us together. Let’s hope it won’t be another 90 years until we do something like it again.
Praise be to God – and here’s a health unto her Majesty!
June 15th, 2016
Picture Gallery of the St Faith's event - in church
And outside afterwards