Apologies to all who are thoroughly Royal Weddinged out by now if my enthusiasm is annoying - here in my part of London we're still riding the high!
I'm happy to say that one of the big perks of living in this noisy, smelly city is the opportunity to get involved in big events like the Royal Wedding, to "be part of history" and make "memories for the grandchildren". It's silly and a bit of fun, a great free day out, and perhaps more importantly, and excuse to be involved in a bit of good news for once.
My mam came down from Newcastle to come and celebrate with me on Thursday night, we spent a wonderful evening at Knit Night at Loop in Angel Islington, and prepared for our early morning yesterday.
We got up at 7, had tea and breakfast and arrived at Westminster tube about 8.15. We were worried this would be very late (you must have seen people camping out for days!), but it turned out to be pretty much perfect. The area outside the station was crazy, it's right by Big Ben, and pretty cramped in by the main Royal route. The police were doing some rather efficient (it turned out) crowd control, but we were crammed elbow to ear for about 15 minutes. Eventually we made it around the corner of Parliament Square onto Whitehall, the main thoroughfare of British politics. We wandered down about 100m until we were very close to the Cenotaph, the UK's most revered war memorial, and very close to Downing Street. We found a spot behind some short old ladies and a family with young children, which was fantastic as we could see very well over their heads. Shortly after we arrived (we did have time to get a cup of tea) the cars started coming by carrying various esteemed guests, and we had great fun watching the marching bands and handsome police officers too!
We were fortunate to have found a copy of The Mirror on the tube, so had a list of who to expect when. So we knew well in advance to expect these two handsome chaps;
The picture's a bit fuzzy there, but the crowds went wild at seeing William and Harry on their way. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of Kate or the bridesmaids, I was too excited to be fussing with the camera!
During the service we were able to listen in as loudspeakers relayed everything. The whole crowd sang along to Jerusalem (except me, somehow I've never learnt the words), and the national anthem was sung with such enthusiasm that the police horses were spooked! During the service there were an assortment of people going down the route to keep us entertained;
and we had a chance to get a good look at the servicemen lining the route, including their fantastic shoes.
As we heard the couple leaving the ceremony the tension rose even higher;
Until eventually we got so see the happy couple!
After the procession we made our way towards Buckingham Palace to see the kiss on the balcony. I don't know if you saw any footage of the Mall at this point on the TV, but it was insane.
We ended up walking to Victoria to get the tube home, and were able to avoid the worst of the crowds on the transport which was good. We arrived back in East London to find a street party in full flow in the nearby estate and treated ourselves to a Mr. Whippy ice cream. We had been on our feet for 6 hours by this point, and once we got home simply collapsed! My poor Mam had to make the long train journey home to Newcastle while I had a nap, rose briefly and then went to bed at 9.30.
I feel very lucky that I was able to go and enjoy the day, and very happy to see the wide range of ages and nationalities of people who turned out to show their support. I understand the frustrations of those people less enthusiastic than I am, but regardless of your opinon of the monarchy, a young couple who love each other got married and that's lovely. Did you see William's face on the balcony? I can't believe anyone wouldn't be warmed by that.