It’s early on Sunday evening, and I just sat down in the junk room with a glass of wine. Somehow several days have passed since the last post – not sure how. I used to write regularly – like clockwork – almost every day. Not so much any more, it seems.
I have an empty wine glass next to me.
Somewhere in the house, our youngest daughter is sleeping off a night out – one of her friends turned 18. We’re hearing all the predictable stories one might about a village hall party turning into a house party, and several very delicate teenagers feeling a bit sorry for themselves in the morning. I’m just glad they all had fun, were safe, and hopefully learned one of life’s many lessons about enjoying their-selves a little too much. We’ve all done it.
Our eldest went through the same learning curve – one minute being the life and soul of the party, before waking up in the garden with her Dad sitting next to her in the early hours. I’ll never forget the walk home. It was new years – we passed endless people who stopped to share their own stories as I half held her up, and laughed with them. She hasn’t done it again (yet).
I think my favourite part about waking up the morning after a party, or a night out, is piecing together the memories – the laughter – the conversations – the moments that stay with us. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to cherish the friends I have made – and the relationships we have. I saw a coaster in a gift shop some time ago that made me smile – emblazoned with the words “we’ll always be friends – because you know too much”.
This weekend has of course been dominated by “The Coronation” of King Charles. I’m not a royalist – I don’t really have any opinions either way about us being a monarchy or a republic – but I do love the experiences that history has woven into us. When “Zadok the priest” started playing at the moment of Charles anointing as King, it all got a bit emotional – which is stupid really.
I must be the softest, most easily swayed person I know. Perhaps it’s just empathy. Knowing that a moment means so much to others.
The craziest thing? I’m not religious at all. I’ve become increasingly athiest throughout my life. Of course I respect other people’s decision to believe or follow whatever they want – but personally – I think it’s all a bit crazy.
The whole part about shielding Charles from public view during the anointing? That’s the “magic”. It’s the same as not seeing the shark in Jaws. If you could see it was just a man in a pointy hat splashing water on another man stood in pyjamas, the magic doesn’t work. To reinforce it, the Church enlists a choir and orchestra to play “Zadok the Priest” – music we have heard for most of our lives in repeated viewings of Elizabeth II’s coronation.
It was a good day. I watched some of the coverage later in the evening – Michael Morpugo, the author, was interviewed. He made an observation about those present – that a change had happened over the intervening 70 years since the last coronation. Back then, the assembled congregation in Westminster Abbey was assembled of “The Great” (lords, ladies, leaders, and so on). This time, the abbey was filled with the good – which made them great. People who had made a difference to the world – people who others look up to.
It’s Tolkien all over again, isn’t it – “I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay”.
Throughout the day, Penny Mordaunt trended on news networks all over the world. She was the stoic, strong, elegant woman that held the jewelled sword ahead of Charles as he walked through the abbey. She’s probably the best leader we will never have – because the corrupt world of politics put the knife into her at perhaps the only chance we ever had of her becoming leader.
A sliding doors moment perhaps. If she had become our leader, she would not have been taking part in a moment that will be remembered and re-watched for generations.