For the last month or so, the blogosphere has been littered with Union Jacks and blue, white and red baked goods in preparation for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Well, the part of the blogosphere occupied by Commonwealth citizens anyway. Sharky Oven Gloves, I’m afraid, has been bereft of any Jubilee-related baked goods and blog posts though. Not because I don’t want to celebrate, or I’m anti-monarchy (quite the contrary), but I quite simply haven’t really had the time to do anything special. I don’t think that the Jubilee has been that big of a deal here in NZ – the shops certainly haven’t been plastered in bunting and full of Union Jack-themed everything as they seem to have been in the UK. I may just be out of the loop, but I don’t think anything in particular was organised for the occasion either, aside from lighting a beacon in Blenheim (at the top of the South Island). Incidentally, it seems that every single other Commonwealth country had flaming torches to light their beacons with, whilst NZ made do with one of those standard gas lighters that you use to light the cooker (if you have a super old-school cooker). Something tells me that the Jubilee isn’t that huge of a deal here. Perhaps there will be more excitement when Charles and Camilla visit in November as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. At least it’ll be summer (and thus hopefully sunny and warm), so that’ll probably help enthusiasm levels.
The Sky Tower was lit up in blue over the long weekend – I don’t know if it was supposed to be royal blue in honour of the Jubilee or if it was just a coincidence. Let’s go with the first option. If they light it up in green for St Patrick’s Day, I think they can make the effort to honour the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. Whatever your views on the monarchy, you have to admit that’s a heck of a long time to unrelentingly dedicate yourself to your country and be in the public eye, always expected to behave impeccably, not express any personal political opinions and represent not only the UK but a number of other Commonwealth countries, too, some with vastly different cultures to the UK. And apparently not to express any emotions except when it comes to corgis and horses (I love the monarchy, but I find that a little odd – keeping a stiff upper lip is all well and good but seriously, a little genuine emotion now and then wouldn’t hurt, would it?). Of course, it’s a role that she inherited, but over the last 60 years, I think she’s shown her aptitude for it. Which is lucky – imagine having a monarch that clearly didn’t give a rat’s bottom for 60 years. I don’t think anybody can fault the Queen for taking her duty very, very seriously. And for that I congratulate her – she is truly admirable, even if I find the non-emotion thing a little disconcerting (perhaps that’s just my French side shining through… Awkward).
I would have liked to throw a Jubilee party this weekend, but I don’t really know enough people here to do so, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have quite had the time to prepare for it. I’d have probably organised an afternoon tea – because you can’t possibly do anything more British than that. A proper afternoon tea, however, requires a heck of a lot of preparation, so it wasn’t really an option. If you’re going to do something, do it properly, particularly if you’re celebrating somebody who has been the epitome of doing things properly and with great pomp and circumstance for 60 years. Last year, despite being within days of the deadline for my dissertation (of doom), I still managed to bake up some Pimm’s cupcakes to nibble on in the computer lab during the Royal Wedding. This year though, whilst I don’t have any impending deadlines (that I’m aware of…), I feel like I’m slowly sinking into a quagmire of physics that I don’t understand. Physics which happens to be crucial to my thesis (despite it being a Marine Biology Masters) so it’s really stressing me out at the moment. And impinging on my baking creativity, too, it seems, as I couldn’t come up with a straightforward recipe that I deemed suitably regal for today’s post. Yesterday was a public holiday for the Queen’s official birthday in NZ, so I gave myself the day off and we went to see the Degas to Dalí exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery followed by a trip to the cinema, but most of the rest of my weekend was spent reading about electromagnetic fields and electroreception, rather than throwing a Jubilee party. Usually when I say that I have my priorities right, I mean it ironically (because I usually don’t), but for once, I actually did get them right (sorry Your Majesty – I hope that doesn’t make me a traitor or something). The most Jubilee-related thing that I did was to drink tea out of my Jubilee-themed mug (don’t judge the mug) and eat a couple of scones. Which isn’t as sad and pathetic as it might sound – it’s just the life of a postgrad student. Don’t worry, contrary to what the photo might suggest, I did not lose the plot and plaster my flat or desk in Union Jack tissue paper.
So even if I didn’t do anything special, I hope that you were able to and had a wonderful Jubilee weekend! Or a wonderful normal weekend, depending on where you are in the world and whether Queen Elizabeth II is your head of state.