I'll be raising a large gin and Dubonnet to Her Maj

Did you manage to catch the delightful documentary Our Queen At 90?

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 6:01 am
The Queen

Broadcast over the Easter period, it gave a rare, intimate insight into our monarch’s life and was compulsive viewing for someone like myself, who loves the royal family.

The Queen is a fantastic role model and leader. She has worked tirelessly throughout her life and is now about to celebrate her 90th birthday on April 21.

I think she’s an amazing woman, strong and loyal with integrity who, regardless of her own personal feelings, has put her people first and is a great ambassador for our country.

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She is respected around the globe and is a constant comfort in an ever-changing and frequently frightening world.

Many countries would love a sovereign like ours. She is not just our longest-lived monarch, but also the longest-reigning, surpassing Queen Victoria, and thankfully she shows no signs of slowing down.

One passion I share with Her Majesty is a love of horses.

Her knowledge of all things equestrian is unrivalled and, let’s face it, how many other people do you know who are still riding as they approach their 90th birthday?

You could clearly see by her face in the documentary that her horses bring joy to her life.

I was amused by the clip where she attempted to feed a carrot to a feisty fell pony (aptly named Prima Donna).

The ungrateful nag promptly spat it out in disgust, as if to say ‘I would expect a better quality snack from you ma’am’.

Back to the birthday celebrations and I’m really excited to say that I’ll be attending a spectacular equestrian-themed birthday party event at Windsor Castle in May.

It’s a chance to be able to pay my own personal tribute to her while also getting to watch more than 1,500 actors, dancers and horses performing a unique piece of live theatre set to music and depicting her journey through life, from the joy of her birth, to the Second World War, her coronation and the present day.

I’ll certainly be raising a toast to our Queen on her special day with her favourite tipple – a large gin and Dubonnet!


World Book Night takes place on Saturday April 23 and I’m taking part in this prestigious event and hoping to repeat the success of the previous one.

This year I’ll be hosting at the fabulous Ferneham Hall in Fareham.

I’ve chosen three reads that I hope will appeal to all ages and will also be giving out books to lucky patrons during the final performance of South Downe Musical Society’s Hot Mikado.

So not only can you see what is set to be a really cracking show (and believe me it is, as I’ve seen the rehearsals), you can also get a free book and a slice of yummy cake.

So please get booking those tickets now for a triple treat.

I look forward to seeing you there.


I was interested to read fellow columnist Warren Hayden’s piece on homework and whether it’s good or bad for family life.

From what I can remember of my school days, I don’t think we had as much homework as children seem to get nowadays.

But when I did get some, I used to love sitting down with mum and reading a book or doing a task together.

As a child I loved reading and I still do, although I’ve now ditched the Ladybird books for more adult literature.

Sadly I think parents like Warren, who take the time to sit down with their children and help them with their learning, are in the minority. These days parents are too busy with life, or glued to their smartphones and tablets.