Sunday, 15 June 2014

Pomp and Other Circumstances

I had not realised until I read a few other blogs this morning that yesterday was Flag Day on the other side of the pond.  Coincidentally, we here in the UK also had a celebration yesterday.  We celebrated the Queen's official birthday.  The British sovereign has two birthdays - the real one on which she was born, and the official one.  This is in the summer months in the hope that the weather will be better and it is on this day that the Sovereign attends the parade known as Trooping the Colour.

Trooping the Colour is carried out by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, watched by members of the Royal Family, invited guests and members of the public.

This military ceremony dates back to the early eighteenth century or earlier, when the colours (flags) of the battalion were carried (or 'trooped') down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

Since 1748, this parade has also marked the Sovereign's official birthday. From the reign of Edward VII onwards, the Sovereign has taken the salute in person at Trooping the Colour.  During the ceremony, The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops.  After the massed bands have performed a musical 'troop', the escorted Regimental Colour is carried down the ranks. The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry then march past Her Majesty, and The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, rank past.

The Queen rides in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards, before taking the salute at the Palace from a dais. The troops then return to barracks.  Her Majesty then joins other members of the Royal Family on the palace balcony for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.

Clips of yesterday's ceremony:

More still pictures here.

While the UK might be second best in many things (the England football team lost to Italy yesterday and the Test Match against Sri Lanka is finely balanced) no other country does pomp and ceremony as well as us.

Oh yes, those other circumstances.   First, we dash back to France.  While we were over there last, I had occasion to pop into the bank to get some cash from the hole in the wall.  On the door was a notice reminding customers that if they wished to cash a cheque, they had to give 24 hours notice!  Fortunately, that was not necessary for the cash dispenser.

And back to this morning.  When I woke, I could hear a persistent bit irregular clicking or tapping noise from outside.  I lay there for a few minutes trying to think what could be causing the noise but eventually decided the only way to find out would be to get out of bed.  When I drew back the curtain, I saw dancing on the garage roof below me a large fox.  His . . . 'his' as he was a dog fox.  His partner in this strange quadrille was a grey squirrel.  As the fox pranced around the edge of the garage roof, the squirrel scampered round the walls just two or three feet below roof level.  I called out, "Oi!" whereupon both creatures stopped and turned to me, giving me a look that said as plain as day, "Do you mind?  We're busy."  In perfect unison they resumed their dance.

Eventually, the fox ran down the garage door, the noise setting the dog off barking, and circled the garage at ground level several times before, at last, giving up on the idea of a squirrel sandwich for breakfast and slinking off.

No comments: