Last weekend was a busy few days in the vast metropolis that is Bangor, Northern Ireland. What with Olympic torches and Diamond Jubilee events galore there was barely a minute to spare. And guess what? It turns out I'm a sucker for big events that require me to dig deep and get in the spirit. Who knew?I know we are going to count it as a real privilege to have been able to see the Olympic torch being carried through our town at 7am on a cold June morning. And the whole event was made all the more memorable with the torch bearer being one of Priory Integrated's pupils - I'm going to hold my hands up now and admit to having made an utter idiot of myself yelling her name as she ran past, with maybe just a glimmer of a tear in my eye! But it couldn't be helped. This was a once in a lifetime experience, the kind I'd made Michael shun overtime to be part of. And you just know it's special when the big bus that comes in front of the torch declares "Moment to Shine"!The rest of Sunday was spent dealing with one particularly over-tired 6 year old via the age old methods of computer games and sugar! But it was essential that he be in fighting form for the special Jubilee family bbq on Monday because Diamond Jubilees are another "once in a lifetime" event that you have to make the most of.I'm not really a big follower of the royal family. Admittedly I sported spangly shoes and my mum wore a fancy hat at my sister's royal wedding party last year, but I don't think that makes me anything other than a right royal div! But there was something quite tangibly special about this past weekend. At the very least, 60 years in a high profile job is surely noteworthy. Particularly in a time when being a royal is more likely to come with scoffing than respect. And so I found myself getting a little carried away.While we had a small gathering planned for family and a few friends, a highlight for me was stumbling across a street party nearby. I spotted the bunting and balloons on my way home and had to stop for a nosey. Having my camera with me was a bonus, and so I snapped a few shots of their preparations before getting to chat with the organisers - the wonderful Jo and Laura. They had invited the entire immediate neighbourhood, including the residents of a Fold residential centre, for an afternoon tea complete with Best Hat competition. I was generously invited back in the afternoon to join the party and take a few photos of the guests in their finery, and it was quite simply the loveliest thing I have witnessed in a long time.I love the lady in that photo above - look how happy she is and how much fun she's having in her awesome hat! I hope when I'm her age I'm enjoying life as much. To see such a mix of people, old and young, families, couples and singles enjoying a jolly good knees up, in a country where differences have historically so often set us apart, was simply a joy to behold (insert small sparkle of tear in the eye here again!) And that's what made the Jubilee so special for me. At this point I felt the need to come home and print off some pretty Diamond Jubilee bunting and string it in a rather pathetic fashion along our hedge (see above) before changing into my red and white stripy t-shirt and faux diamond bracelet! I then toasted Her Majesty with some wine in a spiffing Jubilee paper cup. I am nothing if not classy!
cheers on a job well done, Ma'am!
The rest of our Jubilee day was spent in the fine company of our families - well those who haven't fled for warmer climes - and our lovely next door neighbours, before watching the spectacle of the concert organised by Gary Barlow The Marvellous. I'm pretty sure that's his actual name. If it's not, it should be!
I love this photo Patrick took of our reflections in the garage window - such a creative little soul!
And so concluded our Jubolympic weekend. A friend of mine used that amazing word on Instagram and I feel that it entirely sums up our weekend. A weekend full of entering into the spirit of things, of looking forward while being thankful for the past, and more than anything a weekend that left me feeling hopeful. Because if that gigantic table of people is anything to go by, there is more good than bad in the world. And that, my friends, gives me hope. I can only hope that you also had a spiffing weekend full of one sort of spirit or another! Now in the spirit of joyful tears I will leave you with the video from the aforementioned Mr Barlow and the Commonwealth Band - tear shedding is optional!