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John and I have been thinking about the MV Discovery blog. It probably is a lot more interesting to us than it is to you. We plan to continue writing it because we plan to turn it into a book. However, because we do not want to fill your mailboxes with blogs, we decided to give you an option. If there is a particular country or area of interest, we can send you specific blogs. We will cover stops in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey, Sochi Russia, three ports in the Ukraine, Athens, Messina Sicily, rural Italy, Corsica, Spain, Gibraltor, Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Helsinki, and northern Germany. We will not be offended if you don't want to receive them. But if you do, please let us know. Just comment to this blog or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now on with the week that was......
Most of the weekend was spent glued to the television watching the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It was fascinating to see how the country celebrated this momentous occasion. All over England, communities held parties, street fairs and other types of events in her honor.
The Queen began her Jubilee celebrations on Saturday June 2 being cheered by more than 130,000 Derby racegoers at Epsom. Horses are a huge part of the Queen's life and this Derby has been part of her life for the past 59 years.
Sunday there was a flotilla of over 1,000 boats honoring her - and the weather was ghastly. Yet, it didn't seem to dampen any spirits. The Queen and Prince Philip arrived at Chelsea Pier around 2 PM. Her outfit was just beautiful (I love the way she dresses and always look forward to see what she is wearing.) It was a kick to see the honor guard dressed in their red finery and to watch her pass by them. Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) arrived ahead of the Queen as did William and Kate. They all boarded the Britannia (Prince Philip's ship) for a short trip to the royal barge (The Spirit of Chartwell) where they would spend the rest of the afternoon viewing the flotilla as it passed. There were 262 man-powered boats, an armada of rowed skiffs and gigs, sea kayaks, dragon boats, Celtic longboats, gondolas, Viking longships, cutters, and even a Maori war canoe.
The entire trip through the bridges on the Thames was 7 miles. It really was an amazing sight. After they finished their cruise, docked and watched the flotilla pass by. The Queen never sat. She smiled and waved the whole time. Even though they were under a canopy, the winds and rain were fierce and yet she seemed unfazed by the weather. You could tell she didn't want to disappoint anyone who was there to honor her.
The last boat to pass contained the Royal Orchestra. On it's top deck stood about 20 Military wives who sang as the water poured over their faces.
Later that evening, we watched a pre-recorded horse-themed event that occured at Windsor Castle. Countries from all over the world paid honor to her with horse-focused events and lots of native music. The US staged a Wild West Show.
Monday, there was a concert at Buckingham Palace. Stadium seating was set up for 20,000 people and it was estimated there were another quarter-million people on the Mall. Some highlights of the concert were Elton John, Tom Jones (who was fantastic - still sound and looks great), and the show ended with Sir Paul McCartney.
There was a royal seating area and most of the royal family attended. Unfrotunately, Prince Philip ws taken sick and was in the hospital so he was unable to attend any activity after Sunday's regatta.
Tuesday, there was a thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral and then after a reception at Mansion House, the Queen attended a luncheon for 700 at Westminster Hall. The lunch was funded by the livery companies of trades and professions.
There were so many other events that it's hard to list them all here. To summarize, it was a wonderful weekend to show the Queen how much her people love her and I was glad to be here to see it.
The middle of the week was a wash-out for me. I caught something that was circulating on the ship and spend Monday and Tuesday with a fever and general malaise. Fortunately, by Wednesday, all I felt was a little congestion but my energy returned and I was well enough to anticipate the Thursday walk!
Thursday dawned a bit cloudy but when we checked the weather on the Internet, it predicted no rain until 3 PM. Peter arrived, sans Geoff, around 9:15 AM and we set off the town of hawthron in county Durham which is north of us and close to the North Sea. Peter and Geoff had taken this same trip a few weeks ago and thougth John and I would enjoy it.
We then entered a dirt road and walk through some beautiful bright yellow rapeseed fields where we soon had a nice view of the sea. It was really quite cloudy at this point and visibility was somewhat compromised. But at least it wasn't raining - yet!
We then went to the sea at Durston and walked along the sea for about an hour or so, passing beautiful cliffs and wonderful scenery.
We ended up back at the pub for another delicious pub meal and delightful end to a very pleasant day.
Friday was a special day for me - it was my turn to host the Friday morning ladies group. I figured I had availed myself of their hospitality and needed to take my turn. It has been over 15 years since I've baked a cake and I was a little concerned,especailly since John's oven is in celsius and is convection. I won't go into the gruesome details but Jody sent me a never-fail recipe that is similar to a recipe for a cinnamon walnut coffee cake I've made dozens of times years ago. When I asked John if he had a tube pan, he looked at me and said "What's a tube pan?" So, realizing he didn't have one, we went downtown to buy one. Wrong! They don't have tube pans in this part of England, maybe in the whole country! I ended up buying a strange-looking square pan with a removable bottom (That was a good thing.) I baked the cake, took it out of the oven, tested it for doneness, and it looked great! About an hour later, I went into the kitchen to remove it from the pan and looked in horror at the cake which had totally collapsed into the center all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Needless to say, I did some creative cutting! Both John and the ladies said it was delicious so all's well that ends well!
The Apollo choir is celebrating thier 125th year anniversary and were preforming throughout the area in celebration.
Tomorrow morning Matthew arrives!!!!!