I’M writing this while watching the build-up to the wedding on the laptop – switching views every few seconds. The girls – five are here for the celebrations: Beth and Charlie, Sally, and Helen, their friend, and her daughter Alina – are still in bed, Ian has his bah humbug apron on, feigning total lack of interest (I guarantee he’ll have a tear in his eye before the morning’s out) and the last paying guests of the week are having breakfast. I asked if they’d mind having breakfast early on such a special day, so we could watch the events from the off, and they willingly obliged.
But – the Union Jack serviettes and tablecoth which I’d planned to decorate the table with on this special occasion are still in their wraps. It’s difficult to judge these things accurately; people are generally too polite to voice dissent, but silence and a kind smile speak volumes. And as Ian said “Anyone who’s on holiday on the day itself is making a statement.” I think he’s right – and it’s certainly not worth the risk of getting it wrong.
Of the republicans and dissenters in our midst – a choir friend of Ian’s has proudly declared he’ll be spending the entire day delivering church leaflets (how many church leaflets can one man deliver in a small Dales village?) – I wonder how many will find an excuse to watch. Top three so far: “I’ll watch the ceremony itself, but not the build-up, because I think the music will be wonderful” (Ian – who’s just brought his breakfast into the living room at half past nine and is even now picking out faces in the crowd pouring into the abbey): “I’ll have to watch with my little granddaughter but I think it’s a load of nonsense, really” (an old friend), and – perhaps the best of all – “I’ll be watching but only in a professional capacity” (from a clergy friend of Ian’s. Of course – lots of hints to be picked up for conducting weddings in a village church).
Oh well – the celebratory Picnic on the Pitch this afternoon in our lovely, vibrant, bunting-adorned village, the sun is shining (so far) and  . . . .
At that point I stopped to take in the whole wonderful, amazing, inspiring, heart -lifting spectacle. It was, truly, a momentous occasion. Ian watched every minute of it and declared at the end of the day “It made me proud to be British.” Words I never thought would pass his lips. We had an email from a former B and B guest in Germany, proudly showing us his home decorated with the Union Jack, and telling us he’d been thinking of us throughout the day.
One of the best bits of the day, though, amid all the pageant and splendour, was the cartwheeling verger in Westminster Abbey, capture by Channel 4 News. It spoke volumes . A perfect day indeed.


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