The Platinum Jubilee Thursday
When Eliza Doolittle sat at the corner of the stage in a scene of old London and sang “Wouldn’t it be luvverly” Bobby knew it would be a wonderful show. That he had booked the cheapest ticket in the back row of the “gods”, not even knowing it was a very special day was lucky enough.
Sitting next to a beautiful, elegant Japanese lady, her mother and eight year old daughter, proved that going to the theatre on your own is no problem at all. A little girl who told him how much she loved music and going to the theatre. And he telling her all about Marie and Giselle. His own daughter-in-law and granddaughter who were just the same. It was almost overwhelming.
“Wouldn’t it be luvverly”. We know her singing was dubbed, and we don’t care. Audrey Hepburn was the most beautiful actress that ever graced the screen. Whoever revives her role, and the latest, Amara Okereke, is brilliant (and sings her own songs), whenever we hear this sung we hear the Audrey Hepburn version.
Arriving at Victoria Station with Anne and Kevin and joining the masses was always going to be a challenge. Just reaching Buckingham Palace Road to be turned back by friendly police was the end of Plan A. “I’m sorry sir, St James Park and the whole surrounding area is ‘full’.” Like many, they had only really come for the fly-past including the Red Arrows.
“Hyde Park is your only hope”. So, with thousands of others, they trooped round the back of Buckingham Palace Gardens and soon realised they could be too far north of the line of the fly-past. So ended Plan B.
How about a cup of tea in Pret formed Plan C with over an hour still to go. Heading onward on Plan D, they took a gamble and turned into Belgravia Square. A single family had taken residence of a statue and its plinth. Plan E took shape. Well actually it didn’t. The only Plan was Plan A and the rest was pure luck!
“This is it!” said Bobby. Tired of walking, they all agreed to share the plinth with a very nice family and its owner. Simon Bolivar. Or, to be precise…
Simon Hose Antonio de la Santisima Trinidad Bolivar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco.
Or just Simon Bolivar from Venezuela . A short history is attached at the end of this story. The sun beamed down on Belgravia Square. A world of affluence; colourful flags from numerous embassies; enormous cars and a statue that gradually became a magnet to all those hoping for a glimpse of the Red Arrows.
Instant friendships were made with people having no idea if they would actually see the fly-past. Did it really matter? It was a wonderful day anyway. “Would you take our picture please?” ‘Our’ being a nice lady and her tiny dog.
As one o’clock approached, Simon Bolivar had attracted a crowd. Sitting on anything horizontal, but all looking skyward through the gap in the trees for the first planes of the fly-past. And there they were. Helicopters; more helicopters; small planes; big planes; old planes; brand new planes. And finally, with the most amazing grandstand view, the Red Arrows. It was fantastic. And it was over.
The Red Arrows
And it was over. New friends said cheerio forever. Others watched the siren-sounding police escort lines of dignitary’s cars through the square. Tinted glass hiding the occupants. All bar an old Rolls Royce with Napoleon and Josephine in the back. Or could it have been Princess Anne?
On they moved with the crowds to Hyde Park Corner. No sign of a bus. How about the Underground? They queued with others for a while towards an Underground entrance. People exited, but no one went in until, when asked, the uniformed lady said “exit only”.
No time to be grumpy. But plenty of time, by hook and by crook, to eventually land up at the glorious Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. Regent’s Park awash with happy people. Picnics, smell the roses, it was a scene from paradise.
Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Regent’s Park
Bobby headed off for the theatre. leaving Anne and Kevin with the roses. Through Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus.
My Fair Lady
When Henry Higgins sang “I’ve grown accustomed to your face”, he remembered Rex Harrison and the truly beautiful Audrey Hepburn from nearly sixty years ago. But this was now and an unforgettable show for Bobby. And a little Japanese girl saying “goodbye, nice to meet you” with perfect manners and a smile to melt your heart. And back to Victoria Station.
Simon Bolivar 1783-1830
Was a Venezuelan military and political leader who led what are currently the countries of Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Bolivia to independence from the Spanish Empire. He is known colloquially as El Libertador or the Liberator of America. To read more about this amazing man see his entry in Wikipedia.
The party went on for another three days but for me who could ever forget the Queen having afternoon tea with Paddington Bear!
The Lancaster filmed its fly-past:
Lighting a Candle for Diddley