“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with cwuh and fuh” says my five year old sister as we sit on the picnic blanket with our mother waiting patiently (or so my memory tells me) for Her Majesty the Queen to arrive in our local seaside town for one of many walkabouts in the year of her silver jubilee – 1977.  Mum had made us matching white dresses in the hope that this would attract Her Majesty over to us.  This strategy sadly did not pay off.  But nonetheless, I can remember the radiant Queen walking relatively nearby, clutching beautiful flowers, waving, smiling, as she continues to do now.

As for “cwuh and fuh”?  It was ‘Queen and Philip’ of course.  My sister was and has always been inventive.

And that rather magical event was my first ‘encounter’ with Her Majesty.  I have had a number of others from a similar distance since.  Mr Tracks and I have been most fortunate to attend Royal Garden parties at both Buckingham Palace in London, and at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.  We have attended a State Opening of Parliament.  And one of the concerts I performed in with the BBC Symphony Chorus at London’s Royal Albert Hall was a prom concert in Her Majesty’s honour to mark her golden jubilee.

As you can see, I’m pretty much related these days 🙂 So I could not help but give Her Majesty a nod when reaching Q for Queen in my musical alphabet.

But I really should turn to the other Queen that I am supposed to be writing about – that massive superstar world-beating rock group which could never be the same since Freddie Mercury died.

I’ve got lots of music by Queen – I really like their stuff.  What pioneers they were.  Such variety of musical genres.  Such quality.  It’s been a fabulous nostalgia trip listening to their Greatest Hits albums alone.

Unfortunately, however, they were responsible for putting me off attending major musical concerts from a relatively young age.

When they were on their ‘A Kind of Magic’ tour, I went with some friends to see them live at Knebworth, which is one of these massive outdoor venues in the grounds of a stately home.  Looking at the Wiki entry about this tour, I see that it was Queen’s last, in 1986, before Freddie died in 1991. I also see that this was their biggest tour ever (which was saying something), and that our show was the finale of the whole thing. I don’t think I knew this at the time, or perhaps I did and have forgotten because of what actually happened while we were there.

Everything was fine in the build up to the concert itself while we were chatting, eating, etc.  But when Queen were due to come on, everyone stood up and starting throwing the remains of their picnics in some kind of communal food fight.  And there was a mega-push towards the front so that we were kind of trapped body to body with whoever was next to us.  My abiding memory of the event was being covered in yoghurt and not being able to get to the toilet.  I was worried about losing my friends and could not imagine how on earth we would find our way back out of there again.  I have no recollection at all of seeing Queen themselves.

I guess some people might find this fun, amusing and adventurous.  Not me – I’m clearly the white-dress-I-spy-playing type of person.  And if this has meant that my life has gone in the direction of formal ceremonial occasions, rather than, ahem, more informal, events, then so be it.  We all have our picnics to bear.

17 thoughts on “Picnics fit for different Queens

  1. A huge food fight at a rock concert – how odd! I wouldn’t have liked that either – it’s hard to enjoy the music when you’re avoiding being hit in the head by a roll of bread…

    I didn’t know you sang in the BBC Symphony Chorus! You’ll have to tell us a little more about that experience in one of your future posts sometime if you get a chance.

    I hope Spring has finally arrived in Scotland – it took a while to arrive here on the East Coast of the US but the some trees are in bloom and the bulbs are on their way. Hope it’s the same for you 🙂

    1. I’m delighted to say that spring has indeed sprung – we had a flash of good weather recently and everything made the most of it. Glad to hear that the same has happened for you too. It’s just so wonderful having all the spring flowers and blossoms around, isn’t it, to lift the spirits.

      Re the chorus, I have made the odd reference to our adventures from time to time. One of my favourites was when we were performing part of Holst’s Planets Suite – have a look at https://leapingtracks.wordpress.com//?s=perspectives&search=Go

      1. I had completely forgotten this fantastic story of yours and had such pleasure in rereading it! The voices coming from above, as if from nowhere, must have really been something.

        Enjoy the Spring and the flowers 🙂

  2. How unlucky, it ought to have been an unbeatable occasion. I saw Queen without Freddie at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert in Hyde Park – the concert as a whole was fabulous, but Queen were last on and without Freddie there is so little point…. I had taken my nephews with me, then aged about 11 and 12, and we started fading towards the back during Queen to get back to the tube station ahead of the massive crowds. On the other hand I saw a tribute band once and that was much more fun. I guess expectations were lower and so the tribute band seemed much better than the real thing.

    When were you at a State Opening? I lugged the mace about at the 1997 one 😉

  3. Queen was remarkable. In my previous career I would attend conferences where the VP would use “We are the Champions” at a pep rally session that always made me shudder. A whole procession of “champions” would parade in front of those that were less than “champions.” I can’t imagine Freddy being too impressed. He was so much more than that! A great post as always! I remember seeing the queen once why she was visiting Canada and then once more when I visited Scotland a few years back. Both times she was in her limo. I was so excited to see the Royal wave!!

  4. I was thinking of the Queen celebrating her 87th birthday this weekend so it was good to see your post about Queenly occasions. My parents gave me a silver bangle hallmarked for the Silver Jubilee. They were in the UK that year on a visit. It is one of my treasured possessions.

      1. And when the Queen came to visit our town in 1963 (?), I didn’t get a pretty new dress! I have a photo of our family standing on top of our roof so that we could get a view of the celebrations in the nearby park. I was in my school uniform.

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