The newspapers hadn't been delivered when we went in on Friday morning but the newsagent kindly kept a copy for me. Within thirty minutes her daily stock had sold out. She thinks people are saving them as a memento. Everyone I've spoken to set aside time to watch the new King speak to the nation last night. Our neighbour at the house in town says that for the ten minutes while the broadcast was on the streets were almost empty of cars. One of those rarest of moments when the country has a common interest. I'd assumed that the death of the Queen would be reported by the BBC but ignored by everyone under a certain age. That's not the way the national psychology seems to be playing out. If anyone wrote a book with the Queen appointing a new government at the start of the week and dying at the end of it the critics would dismiss it as infantile fantasy. Yet, here we are.
The two plump pigeons who call this place home are drying their feathers on the farmyard fence. Sophie ignores them. PON and pigeons co-exist on a false mutual, if unspoken, understanding that Sophie is a skilled hunter . Both parties seem happy with this arrangement. It saves a lot of time and bother.
A brisk wind this morning. Ideal PON weather. Despite two metal knees and advancing years the family diva sets off across country at a trot. Sophie finds the coast to be intriguing. She has recently discovered seaweed - which makes a delicious pre-breakfast snack.
On our way back she turns to make sure I'm keeping up. The family diva displays a combination of impatience and solicitousness. Impatience wins and she's soon racing back to the gate to wait for me, and breakfast. She passes a herd of deer who look up but don't move. They too seem to have discovered that when it comes to PONettes hunting skills there is a lot of sturm but little drang.
Dog lovers will understand this story about a seeing-eye dog :https://twitter.com/PickardJE/status/1568517462341165056
Yesterday I saw two members of the Royal and Ancient wearing black arm bands. An overly Victorian gesture ? The change still shocks. The National Anthem has new words. This is the first time I'd heard it sung with King replacing Queen. Barely audible but both choir and congregation stumble , a little, over the change. By the end of the week it will be commonplace :https://youtu.be/phM2GL_hPL8?t=2570
What Londoners made of this dirgeful Scottish interlude only be imagined :https://youtu.be/KgOridFp7Do?t=2588
Sophie is a skilled hunter. Of course she is!
I drove home from the Lake District via the longer but more scenic Deeside route, partly, I confess, out of curiosity to see what was happening around Balmoral. At Braemar there was a sign saying 'NO PARKING AT BALMORAL' and a temporary 'park and ride' system in operation. At each bus stop, a thin line of people of all ages and colours, many carrying small bunches of flowers. At Balmoral itself (Angus will know that the main and in fact only road goes close to the castle on the other side of the river) at c.4 pm there was a small and quiet crowd of well wishers, almost outnumbered by police and security. I was home in Aberdeen in time to listen to the King.
The park and ride system seems very well organised - operating from 8am to 7pm. Specific locations for leaving flowers publicised by local councils, along with instructions about no candles or teddy bears. We will be leaving our flowers at the nearest point, a village 5 miles away, later today. With no cellophane wrapping, as instructed, so that the flowers can be composted later. Attached cards (if they survive the September rain) are going to be forwarded to Buckingham Palace.
We live in historical times every day that we live... but there are some parts of history that leave greater marks. Even those of us ambivalent about monarchy cannot deny that a space has been created in our psyche... YAM xx
For Britain, this week has been one of momentous historical importance.
Yet another new Prime Minister won't necessarily be remarked upon in much detail in future history books, but the passing of our beloved Queen will be worthy of many chapters and many books. That's if there are still "physical" books around.
It will seem strange to have a King on the throne. It will be interesting to see the Coronation of Charles III in full high definition and whatever else is on offer technically. I have only seen film the late Queen's Coronation in grainy black and white.
I'm reading a book by Philippa Gregory spanning the 1600's and the time of the Civil War. A comment is made when Charles I is beheaded - he will be the very last King of England - ever! A part of my history lessons I'd forgotten all about. Now we are welcoming Charles III.
Someone told us once that the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction, is that fiction has to be plausible. I still find it remarkable HRH was on her feet working on Tuesday and we get news of her passing on Thursday.
I don't think it's only the UK, people everywhere are moved and, even though the Queen was very old, shocked by her passing. She's been Queen as long as I've been alive, and seeing her just the other day, smiling while doing her job and appointing the new government encouraged me to believe she would always be with us. If The Crown is to be believed, hers was a very complicated life, with many things sacrificed in the name of duty, but being remembered as someone who did her job with dignity and humor (and, of course, dogs) is not a bad thing.
An interesting time in world history, moving graciously into the future.
Fortunately our preferred cable channel MSNBC spent most of the day yesterday and into today covering the sad events from Balmoral and London. Including the St Paul Cathedral service. And of course King Charles' moving speech. My tears not far at any moment...but also laughter as chosen interviewers remind us of the Queen's sense of humor.
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