4th June

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What do you think of that?
I’m sleeping down at the laundromat,
If you should pass by,
Be sure to drop right in

Well I don’t have no clothes to clean,
To put inside the machine,
It was the craziest place,
I have ever been

Typical – with the rain and the holiday weekend came the breakdown of our tumble dryer! So we’ve been back and forth to the launderette all weekend to use the dryers there.

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We went to see the Jubilee Beacon lit on the Great Lines in Gillingham. The Medway website said it was between 10 and 10:30 and the Beacon Website said that the time for Local authority Websites to be lit was 10:15 so we got there just before 10 o’clock. It was the same place as the November 5th firework displays are held but it didn’t seem to be as well organised. We found the beacon which was surrounded by safety barriers and people in hi-vis jackets and went and positioned ourselves about 2 people back from the barrier. There was another crowsd who appeared to be happy to watch from the path.

We waited and eventually I heard one of the hi-vis people saying that the beacon would be lit at 10:28 and the fireworks would start at 10:32 – very precise. It’s all very English isn’t it? The military precision of exact times for lighting different types of beacon! Anyway I was glad of the delay as my phone decided to do it’s shutting itself down thing twice.

They lit the torch at about 10:10 so the local dignitary who was to light the beacon could have his picture taken holding it. When they’d finished it was handed back to the hi-vis chap who then held onto it until it eventually spluttered out to a cheer from the crowd at 10:25! Luckily they had a spare which was hurriedly lit and handed to the dignitary in time for him to shove it in the bottom of the beacon at 10:28! At that point a huge firework shot out of the top of the beacon and apparently (although I didn’t hear it) there was a spontaneous outbreak of National Anthem singing!

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As the flames took hold of the beacon the hi-vis health and safety types started to panic as the hay inside the beacon sent hot ashes into the air. It’s incredible isn’t it that with all their risk assessment and planning no one had foreseen this and had there been an emergency the fire extinguisher that sat in front of the beacon looked woefully inadequate! The fireworks started behind us and we all turned to watch them. Eventually though I had to move as the heat from the beacon became quite intense where we were standing – again a fact not foreseen by the H&S gurus – or maybe they had but had been overruled by the men with the purse over the size of barrier that needed to be erected – who knows.

Anyway this was my only real nod to the jubilee so I’ll finish by saying God save the Queen shall I?

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