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Jubilee – Olympics – and Royalty’s devotion to duty Barbicania


ow the Jubilee celebrations are over we still have the Olympics and Paralympics to look forward to – or dread – depending on your point of view. The world’s spotlight has been, and will remain, very much on London and what one of the world’s greatest cities has to offer. Let’s hope our

infrastructure, such as it is, doesn’t crumble under the pressure. Living in the Barbican, though, we are better placed than most Londoners. The

Barbican is an island, away from the main Olympic sites, but close enough for those who wish to spectate, and were lucky enough to get tickets to do so, to be in a great location to get out to the Olympic venues, although one suspects the transport systems may already be overcrowded once they reach our area. But those who will be working at their normal jobs in London will also mostly be well placed travelling for the most part counter to the Olympic flow. Even so it will almost certainly make sense, if one does have to travel within London, to try and stagger one’s journeys outside peak Olympic travel hours. A little advance planning may make a huge difference in being able to avoid travel disruptions. Those flying in and out of London during the Olympic period are also certain to

face long queues at immigration, although some of the horror stories one hears do not apply at all terminals all the time. One can be lucky – on a recent trip back from New York – landing about 9 am at Heathrow Terminal 3 on a Thursday we, and other EU nationals, had absolutely no wait at all to get through passport control – and we were flying at the back of the plane so most passengers had exited the aircraft before we did. The moral may be that if you are a UK citizen fly a foreign airline where most passengers will probably be from the country of origin. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that the majority of bad experiences in waiting in line to get to immigration desks has been at Terminal 5 – the British Airways terminal. But coming back to the Queen’s Jubilee the outpouring of affection towards the

monarchy was quite remarkable. After a few difficult years the monarchy seems to have re-established itself in the hearts of the people. Again, living in the Barbican those who wished to brave the rain and the cold were well placed to get down to the Thames early to find viewing positions for the spectacular – and very British – river pageant. Maybe the prize was hypothermia, but at least once the main part of the flotilla had passed by, one could beat a rapid retreat to soak in a warm bath and change into dry clothes. Spare a thought to the thousands camping out who had no such place to go. Spare a thought too for the royal entourage who were put through a four-day

schedule that would be considered over-demanding for a 21 year old – let alone our 86-year old Queen and her almost 91-year old consort who does appears to have picked up an infection during the Thames pageant. Such is the devotion to duty of the monarch that this appears to have been undertaken without complaint and in good humour throughout. Even a staunch republican should appreciate this. Hopefully the demands on Royalty will not be quite so debilitating during the Olympics, and the British weather may be a little more friendly, although one assumes

the Royal Family will be called upon to be much in evidence there too. Lawrence Williams


Lawrence Williams Editor

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