I went to London to see the Queen.

 What actually happened was – I went to London, saw the gardens at Buckingham Palace and did a lot of ‘people watching’. Each year the United Reformed Church – along with other denominations – is invited to send a representative to one of the Queen’s Garden Parties which are held across the summer. People said to Rod and I that we would enjoy the experience. We did enjoy the experience, I don’t think I have ever seen so many ladies in hats, or couples wandering about with little in the way of purpose other than to enjoy the experience. The weather could have been better and umbrellas got a good airing (or maybe wetting would be a better description) but it was a privilege to have the opportunity to wander through the gardens, and to see the ‘back’ of the palace. We chose to enter by the Hyde Park Gate having been told that the queues would be less than at the front – in reality the queue was non-existent – but we left through the front gate remarking that that was a bit of London we have never been to before. We came away glad to have had the experience but feeling that we had spent three hours in some sort of bubble which related little to the world which the majority of us inhabit. Maybe we all need to be taken out of day-to-day life from time to time whether that is at family celebrations, religious festivals or even state occasions – what is important is that we don’t let the ‘bubble’ become the norm. Real life is far more complicated and messy than that, though I am sure God was present here too in the small acts of kindness as people shared umbrellas and laughed together in brief conversations to say nothing of the variety of nature which was around us.

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