We still need the royals to help bring us all together

The end of the Queen's birthday celebrations finally arrived along with the rain.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:36 pm
(L-r) Sarah Black, Mark Lawrence and Karen Brown go back in time at Southwick

I end up feeling rather conflicted about these types of events.

I know she inspires passion among so many and enjoys an idolised status. I also know she works jolly hard and brings in a massive amount of cash for the economy. And I know that the palace and all her family stand for are symbols etc, etc, etc.

But then I also know that we pay an awful lot of money for her and her family and that, actually, bowing to someone because they are in one particular family who managed to survive through the decades with Game of Thrones aplomb doesn’t sit right with many.

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I suspect that, like many people, I fall into the camp who wish the family well, don’t feel quite comfortable but don’t know what we’d do instead.

Where does that leave me, then, on occasions like these?

What I do like is the way that communities embrace royal celebrations, coming together to do something.

I remember the Silver Jubilee ever so clearly. We had a street party in a neighbour’s garden. It was late at night (actually about 8pm) and there was a band. I won a book token for my dancing. I thought it was all rather magical.

And that’s why I wanted to take my children into the village last Sunday to enjoy the community spirit. Our street party had jazz bands and some singers, prosecco donated by someone who shared the same birthday, and members of the community aged from two to 90.

We turned up a little late and joined a table of friends who had much more exotic leftovers from their picnic than we had for our mains. Cakes with tiers of cream and strawberries and coronation chicken vol-au-vonts.

There were flags, bunting, people looking anxiously for rain, being polite to strangers and eating dainty food. The only thing which would have made it more British was a cup of tea.

For now, I suppose we need the royals to bring us together, a community gathering point. But whatever my mixed emotions, I felt for the Queen having to watch hours upon hours of Ant and Dec and horses going around in circles.

Sitting through all that at any age in person (without the liberty of switching channels for something more entertaining) would be exhausting, but at 90? That’s plain mean.


In a weekend of celebrations, I was delighted to once again visit the village of Southwick to commemorate the D-Day anniversary.

The village goes back in time to the 1940s with military vehicles, costumes, tea rooms and vintage fairs.

Everything about it is full of charm, from the village itself to the people within it.

The one bizarre moment, though, was looking through some ‘vintage’ items and realising how many of them I still use today.

My kitchen scales are ancient (I’ve been through three or four modern versions which have all died), then there’s the pram in the shed, the sewing machine and other items.

I forget how close to the war I was born – a mere 25 years later. Wow, I’ll soon be vintage too.


A theatre company in Chicago has been exposed in the press for systematic and misogynistic physical and emotional abuse of young female actors.

All the women involved – over a lengthy period of time – felt isolated and unable to gain help over the situations in which they found themselves.

These were often first jobs and they believed that the way in which the company worked was reflective.

Ask yourself this. What channels are in place where you work? Would you be listened to – by more than one person? When I think back to some of the things I witnessed in my early 20s, it makes me feel sick.

We need to look out for our young men and women, all our co-workers. Abuse, in any form, should not be tolerated.