I read somewhere that Her Majesty the Queen was on duty for 17 hours over the Jubilee weekend. Well, I think my alter-ego Lady Margaret just pipped her on that one. With twelve street parties to declare open, I was very glad that her ladyship had invested in a new pair of sensible shoes.

I think I beat Her Majesty on consumption too. I mean, it would have been rude to refuse all the chicken legs, Pavlovas, Pimms and burnt mini-sausages on offer wouldn’t it? But I do declare that after twelve Pimms, Lady M didn’t know if she was coming or going. Luckily she had her ace Jubilee taxi driver Darth and the trusty team from Widcombe Association to keep her on the straight and narrow. Not to mention her ‘stage’ brother, Cedric the unfrocked vicar. Though he too seemed a little unsteady on his pins by the end.

The parties ranged from full-blown choreographed affairs at fifteen pounds a ticket, through VE-Day we-don’t-mind-the-rain knees-ups, to simple picnic blanket on the ground pork pie and pop affairs. Luckily, Widcombe, where most of the parties were taking place, has its fair share of double garages, so at times inclement whole streets could cram in and munch cucumber sandwiches amongst the lawnmowers.

I myself am decidedly republican in my leanings, whereas Lady Margaret is an ardent royalist. But in the name of fun and community cohesion I can act my socks off. Or tights on this occasion. And if nothing else, the Jubilee has instigated a revival in the art of cake making across the nation.

And what cakes they were! At one party I was obliged to judge the baking. I soon twigged that this was a duty not to be taken lightly. However, it did involve eating the larger part of eight slices of cake, which even for me is pushing the boundaries. I’m not sure what red white and blue food dye does to the digestive system but I did sense an internal struggle going on as I lay down to sleep that night!

But well done everyone. Neighbours who hadn’t spoken for thirty years got together, waved flags, drank toasts, wore silly hats, got wet and didn’t care and generally had a whoop of time! Brilliant!

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