What do you do when after five hours traipsing around London, in search of a view of the Thames, your children ask to go home with sodden flags and aching limbs, without any of the memory-making experiences you’d hoped for?

Come home and recreate your own pageant of course. And so it came to be that the shaggy blue rug in the lounge metamorphosed into the Thames; two Thai cushions became red, white and blue be-decked boats; the chimney breast, our vista, courtesy of a projector; and bunting and flags the backdrop. A collection of toy boats and a submarine mimicked the thousand strong flotilla that we never saw. The distinguished guests were ‘meeted and greeted’ with straw boaters and tickets, the must-have accessory in London, to witness the spectacle. Once escorted to their individual boats they were served nibbles and party food, retro of course, making a perfect end to the day.

It might have been different if we’d even glimpsed a passing ship, but snuggling on the sofa content with jelly and angel delight, my six year old shared the best bits of his day: travelling to London by train, huddled up with our picnic sharing two seats; travelling back on the train; and enjoying a picnic tea and pageant (at home)! For my 9 year old the three picnics of the day; pageant at home; and look-alike-queen in a rickshaw were highlights; as was walking down the normally congested streets. So while we didn’t manage to give our children the memory-making experiences we’d envisaged, I think they will remember that day and how ‘mummy and daddy made it special’ (my 9 year olds words). They’ll also associate that shaggy blue rug forever more with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!

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