We were amongst those lucky people who had booked our long weekend well before Wills packed the £28k ring for 3 weeks backpacking round Kenya. In fact we were repeating the same May Bank holiday we had had last year with our pals in a camping barn in the Brecon Beacons. Now we would be able to get away really early instead of having to do the M4 Friday night ordeal (which tends to involve too many grab bags of Worcester Sauce crisps and sitting in the fast lane with the engine switched off for a long time hoping radio Wiltshire will explain all).
But, as the day drew nearer, there was an outbreak of patriotism all around us. There was going to be a massive street party flowing from the pub past our house and down the cul-de-sac opposite. Efficient women formed a committee and posted regular updates through the door using twiddly fonts. They came round with clipboards to find out how many trestle tables we would be lending and whether we had any photos of the last known street party in 1977, or perhaps the one that took place when the siege of Mafeking was relieved?
I began to weaken and say perhaps we could do the big screen, although not the accompanying bubbly and butties. Our camping pals confirmed they would not be leaving the Midlands till Wills and Kate were safely back at Buck House glad-handing the Beckhams. Thus, at 10.45, I bundled R and M into the pub and we took up our positions next to an American couple from the next street with two tiny daughters. "O look" the female was saying as Carole Middleton entered the Abbey "That lady's the mommy of the bride so that'll be me when you get married". I remembered that marriage was not something we really focus on in our little unit, so I concentrated on the genealogical aspects of the occasion, ad libbing about the identity of some of the more obscure royals "O look there's Princess Alexandra and her daughters with Princess Pushy that Austrian one that noone likes". R, who spent several weeks thinking that Princess Anne had died when it was Princess Margaret, yawned and eyed the beer pumps longingly. M, who is well beyond the princess stage, said that everyone looked stupid and become very whingy as she had had no breakfast. I sent them both home again and concentrated, trying to ignore the American couple who had bought a bottle of bubbly and were gazing lovingly into one another's eyes, glasses raised, for most of the religious bits, which was most of it. By contrast the rest of the pub talked loudly throughout the ceremony as though it was a mere Championship league game on a Wednesday night in November. I found myself with noone to discuss my many unanswered questions with, especially about the two nuns who were sitting next to Wills and Kate during the interval.
Back in the street the awnings were going up and the music was beginning. M gazed longingly as more and more cupcakes made their way out of houses and onto the loaded tresle tables. Sadly we piled into the car, feeling like Big Society party poopers who were only hurting themselves. We sulked all the way to the Severn Bridge.
Apparently everyone had a wonderful time and, of course, by the time we got back a copy of the group photo with twiddly fonts had been posted through the door. I am definitely not going anywhere for the Diamond Jubilee and there won't even be a marriage to sit through before we start on the cupcakes.