mardi 12 novembre 2013
For those who do not read my facebook page this is what I was up to last weekend!
We took the ferry across to the UK to attend the annual Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London on Sunday. Mark is permitted to march at the ceremony being a veteran of the Falklands War - and he was suited and booted for the occasion The weather was perfect; a wonderful crisp but sunny Winter morning.
Whilst Mark and some 10,000 other ex-service personnel gathered on Horse Guards Parade I walked up the Mall to Buckingham Palace to see what was happening. Most members of the Royal Family attend the Remembrance Service - and a huge crowd had already assembled in the hope of seeing them all as they left the palace.
Quite by chance I became an unofficial tour guide for a group of French tourists who had no idea what was actually going on that morning; they were standing at the palace hoping to see the 'Changing of the Guard'. Instead they were treated to a running commentary by me of which 'royals' were leaving the palace ( which they insisted on calling 'Buckingham Chateau!) en route for Whitehall.
I explained that the Queen and Prince Philip would soon leave for the ceremony.........
....and pointed out to them the lowering of the Queen's Standard on top of the palace as she left. With all 'royals' seen I walked back up through St James Park to watch the service. And who did I see first whilst standing at the railings but.........................
......................Boris walking the route.Get out of the way Boris; you are blocking my view!! And then, a little later who should appear from a side building but.................
.......HRH Princess Anne. She was walking up to take her position on the dais on Horse Guards ready to take the salute as the columns of veterans marched past her.
I heard them before I saw them --- and then the band came into view around the corner and marching towards me.
And behind the band came the first column of veterans - and then they just kept coming and coming!
Veterans of the Gurkha rifles...some Royal Marines including, clearly, a proud Scottish one! Now....where was Mark.......?
The sight of the famous Chelsea pensioners is always an amazing and uplifting one. Most if not all of them over 75 years , some in their 80s and yet, despite their age, marching in time. I could hear their Sgt Major encouraging them: "come on lads, almost there. Keep going. Left right, left right." Very humbling to see them, I can tell you.
Ah..........at last. Was this the Falklands Veterans group coming up?
Yes............it was. Can you spot my "moustachioed, bespectacled monsieur?".
A la prochaine mes belles