Saturday, May 6, 2023

Coronation Day.


Scotland may not be the most monarchist part of the UK but on Friday night,  in the bunting festooned village hall,  the new King  is toasted and the national anthem sung. Inexplicably, some of the village children have come in fancy dress. Small, day glo pink, dinosaurs run around. Those children not in fancy dress feel hard done by. The lady who lives by the doocot arrives with her three Jack Russels. She has a new puppy which is a 'character'. The woman at the crossroads has baked a coronation cake. This has that style of icing that could double as tank armour. We all say how wonderful it is.  The village secretary stands and says ' The coronation may not be to all tastes but here we're grateful for justice , mercy and good government . Life starts in darkness let us seek the light '. That's something we can all agree on. 'Absent friends' are toasted. How Scottish is that ? The lecturer who teaches at the marine laboratory plays the accordion. There will be dancing. This is the signal for us to walk back home . On our way out we meet the wealthy farmer who lives in the big house on the main road.  He has bought a new electric Land Rover Defender. The other , kilted, farmers are clustered around looking at it. They are uniformly doubtful whether an electric Land Rover can cope with the rough and tumble of life on the east coast of Scotland. Our way back to the wee house is lit by the deep greens and reds of the northern lights. In a small village like this a coronation is all about continuity.

This morning, Coronation Day proper, starts with a blistering easterly wind that has the gulls sheltering on the small sand beach below the house. The crows are busy pecking at the kelp that's been washed ashore . Sophie watches them. There was a time when she would have rushed down to make it clear that this was her territory. This morning she opts to stay by my side. This , I'm sure, has nothing to do with her age.

After breakfast we find  a solitary para-surfer down on the main beach. Sophie walks towards him but decides en route that para-surfing is the work of the devil and his minions. She  reverses course and heads in the opposite direction. I follow. 

Into town for a coffee. I visit the newsagent to buy the local paper. The magazine rack presents a patriotic face to the world.

Some magazines take a slightly more jaundiced view of the coronation.

The thrifty newsagents window display runs to one big union flag and four smaller ones. The large flag looks as if it's been used at every national event since the relief of Mafeking. The bell ringers at the auld kirk are practising. The unlikely sound of ' On Ilkla Moor Baht'at ' echoes round the still empty streets of the old town. All the bells, in all the churches, will ring for the King later today. Here, in town freighted with history , they will peel for a full hour.

One of the joys of a coronation is the music. Expect to hear this later today :

The poet laureates take on a woman invited, unexpectedly , to take part in todays events :


WFT Nobby said...

How wonderful to see the Northern Lights. Worth eating any amount of armoured Coronation cake to see.
I've now counted a grand total of two houses decorated with Union flags in Ferryhill, Aberdeen.
Cheers, Gail.

Coppa's girl said...

My first thoughts too - how wonderful for the way home to be lit by the Northern lights. On my last chance to see them, in northern Norway, they were shrouded in heavy cloud.
Can't say i blame Sophie avoiding the para-surfer, they sometimes run amok!
A normal day here as I've decided against joining in the various celebrations organised by fellow Brits. Seems from the comments I've heard, and read, that I'm not alone. I shall however watch the actual ceremony. I watched the last one in black and white, on my parents 12" screen TV. in a room crammed with friends and neighbours - not many TV's about in those days. Back then the feeling towards Royalty was one of reverence, awe and loyalty. How different things are today.

Jake of Florida said...

Turning on the TV just now,, I too recall watching a tiny black and white version in 1953.

Travel said...

Thank you for taking us along for the walk today

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
No bells in Dunoon; no obvious buntings either.

I wish the EV driver all the best; still awaiting the collection of mine. The holdup at the government end in payment of the EV grant. End of May, I hope. YAM xx

Stephanie said...

I do like the village secretary's 'speech'. Indeed, believe in the light while you have the light. I would like to hear the bells ringing today.

Anonymous said...

Even the Northern Lights had to add to the occasion! The poem is spectacular

Jim Davis said...

Thank you for the tour of coronation festivities in a small Scottish village. Even the "Man in Hat Sits on Chair" part.