Tuesday, 20th September, 2022

[Day 918]

Today is the day when we are finally ‘funeralised out’ having had ten days of official mourning for Queen Elizabeth. When I have chatted with various people in the park, we were all generally of the view, even the pronounced monarchists, that we have had our fill of wall-to-wall media with coverage of practically nothing else and we all feel it is now time to move on. As with many things, I have conficting emotions and feelings about what we have just experienced. On the one hand, we have to pay tribute to the longest living monarch in British history and probably one of the longest serving in world history. Also the Queen had touched the lives of thousands of her subjects and there was a general upswelling of emotion and justifiable mourning. On the other hand, normal life must carry on and one wonders what might be happening with currency and energy markets whilst our gaze had been averted elsewhere. Today, The Times has published a very detailed souvenir edition with lots of stills from yesterday’s processions and funeral rituals but the details of these I blogged about yesterday. However, by way of ‘closure’ on this subject, I will mention an article in ‘The Times‘ by Caitlin Moran on the subject what the queues, the tears and the pomp has taught us all. Reading the reactions to this article, it appears that it has struck a chord and expressed beautifully what many have thought about the last few days – in fact, you could say that it was Times journalism at its best. One interesting facet that comes out in the article is the observation that nations display their innermost character at times like these and of course a characteristic of the British, is that we know how to queue with style, humour and a degree of stoicism. I think that one estimate is that up to 250,000 might have queued to pay their final respect to the Queen. Other nations no doubt will display their national characteristics in their own particular ways but the British ability to queue is a thing of wonder – but if one attempts to ‘queue jump’ the ire of those observing the unwritten rules will be visited upon one with a vengeance.

Today being a Tuesday, we go down to Waitrose and meet with our regular group of Waitrose ‘buddies’ This is now becoming a regular fixture for Tuesday mornings and I met with Seasoned World Traveller on one table whilst Meg was communing with three other elderly ladies whilst I flitted, as is my wont, from one table to the next. Naturally, we discussed the state funeral to a particular extent but also got onto the subject of ‘forbidden’ or rarely displayed verses of familiar hymns or anthems. We started off discussing the second verse of the National Anthem which hardly anybody knows and contains lines like ‘Confound their politics/Frustrate their knavish tricks’ which may have been directed against the Scots for all I know. Apparently, the second verse was meant to be sung yesterday but hardly anybody knew it – this was not surprising as the version printed in the Order of Service reprinted in The Times of yesterday actually printed the first verse and then the fifth. There is even a sixth verse that talks about sending a general to crush the rebellious Scots and this, too, is hardly known. In fact, once you get beyond the first verse, the verses that constitute our supposed national anthem become obscure or contentious – but certainly not well known. After our Tuesday get together, Meg and I went home and I changed into my track suit bottoms and attended my normal Pilates class at midday. In fact, I complimented my Pilates teacher that no doubt due to all of the stretches that we do regularly, I had managed to cope with the rigours of damson fruit picking with no adverse consequences (all one and half hours of it but with quite a lot of stretching involved)

There are two particular bits of political news, the consequences of which will apparent as the days unfold. On the domestic front, Liz Truss has announced that she is prepared to put up with short term unpopularity as a price worth paying to stimulate economic growth. It is being said that the US President, Jo Biden, has publically opined that trickle down economics, as espoused by Liz Truss, just does not work. On the international front, Putin may well be announcing this evening that rapid referenda that have no international status may be announced to formally annexe some recently occupied Ukranian provinces (oblasts) into the Russian State. It also appears that a ‘de facto’ mobilisation of the entire Russian male population may be on the cards but if this proves to be the case, then the excuse that this is just a ‘special military operation’ will be blown asunder and the Russian population may realise that they are actually in a war with the Ukraine.