5th June 2022
Extract from my Diary: My Platinum Jubilee Weekend
Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating seventy years on the throne this weekend and the nation is celebrating with her - all over the country street parties are taking place, beacons are being lit and houses and post boxes are beng decorated. My own Platinum Jubilee celebrations are low key but very enjoyable from attending local events in Dorset to enjoying a memorable day out at Stourhead in Wiltshire.
Thursday 02 June 2022
Today is the first day of the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s seventy years on the throne. Yesterday I joined the Friends of Canford Cliffs Library in the garden of the library in Canford Cliffs for a celebratory cream tea. It is the first time this group has met since England went into the first lockdown in March 2020. This galvanised me into action regarding other events in my locality.
I am surprised to find a Platinum Jubilee Beacon is to be lit on Sandbanks beach this evening at 9.45 pm. It is a lovely, sunny morning so I go out for a walk to see if I can find the site where the beacon will be lit. I am expecting to see a huge heap of wood. But, there is no sign of any preparations for an event this evening. However, there is plenty going on down there. My attention is immediately drawn to a group of women throwing the most amazing shapes. I assume this is a Yoga class. They are interrupted by an enthusiastic dog who spotted his owner amongst the group from a hundred yards away and raced across the sand to join them.
There are two men fishing on the shoreline, three jet skis ruffle the waters as they race by. A few minutes’ later a water skier passes by. As I stroll along the sea front I notice a new addition to the facilities, a Saltwater Sauna has been parked on the promenade.
The sand dunes fringing the edge of Sandbanks Beach have been roped off to allow them to recover and now they are covered with brilliant wild flowers – a beautiful sight.
It was very quiet when I arrived at the beach but people are now arriving all the time and settling down for a day on the beach. Some are taking advantage of the beach furniture available to hire and dragging it down to the water’s edge.
On my way home I stop to admire the old Sea Pavilion. Beach huts form a crescent on either side of a colonnaded passage way. Through this gap in the building I can see the Channel Islands ferry leaving Poole Harbour.
I do go back this evening. Crowds are gathering but it is still not obvious where the beacon will be lit. I ask one of the security men on duty and discover I have walked past it three times. I re-trace my steps and find the rose-shaped beacon on the terrace in front of the Sea Pavilion. There is a crowd around the beacon but I am able to work my way to the front to watch the beacon being lit.
As soon as the beacon is burning brightly the fireworks from a barge moored just off shore. It is a super display.
As the bright lights of the fireworks in front of me fade away I can see the flames of a beacon that has been lit on the Purbeck Hills to my right and the finale of the firework display on Bournemouth’s sea front. A lovely way to celebrate a unique event – our Queen’s seventy years on the throne.
Friday 03 June 2022
A Bank Holiday is always a good time to meet up with friends still working full time. We spend today exploring Stourhead - a Palladian house surrounded by a world-famous landscape garden. After a catch up over breakfast in the café we set off on a guided tour of the gardens. The tour starts in the kitchen gardens, recently restored after a period of neglect during the coronavirus pandemic. These gardens are flourishing once again and fringed with flower beds in glorious bloom.
Walking up the drive to the Palladian house we pass some ancient sweet chestnuts which have re-generated themselves leading to trunks of extraordinary shapes. The house, at the top of a sweeping drive, is impressive – a Palladian centre with additional wings added later on either side.
After crossing the lawns behind the house, a favourite spot for picnics, we follow a path through landscaped woods. A previous owner planted laurel under the trees so the area would always look green from a distance. We walk up to a viewpoint and look down on the lake below us. It is a magnificent sight with colourful rhododendrons tumbling down the slope towards the water and the Palladian Bridge. After following the path down to the lakeside, where our tour ends, we do a complete circuit of the lake. A great day out.
Saturday 04 June 2022
Typical Bank Holiday weather today – grey and cold. But some brave paddle boarders were out in the harbour.
My day was brightened up by the news that the Queen had tea with Paddington Bear at Windsor Castle. What a wonderful way to celebrate seventy years on the throne and a delightful glimpse of our sovereign’s sense of humour.
The day ends with a violent storm that turns the road outside my flat into a raging torrent of water. I see a young man sprint into a bus shelter, strip off all his clothes and then splash down the street in only a pair of pants. I hope he did not have far to go.
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing four books she turned to online travel writing.