Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 2 June 2012
The 4 day Jubilee weekend has been launched on a sea of red, white and blue and today - the first day - we are off to attend the wedding of the daughter of one of H.I.'s friends in the nearby village of Norton St. Phillip, better know for being one of the seats of Judge Jeffries, where he executed dozens of rebels in the orchard of the George Inn. The remnants of the apple trees still there, do not bear fruit to this day.
I've only met the young bride and her betrothed once, but H.I. seems to inspire a sort of loyalty and family bond in all her friends, even if they have only been friends for a couple of minutes, so they insisted we come to the wedding. 'It wouldn't be the same without you', they seemed to suggest.
It's the same with funerals - the children of the elderly deceased seem to need the presence of H.I. as well, and I have been a pall-bearer on a couple of occasions for the same reason. The spin-offs from this unconditional love and respect are that - amongst quite a few of our friends and acquaintances - I have come to be seen as a 'rock' on which to cling to in times of trouble, and we have often played host to tearful women who sit around our kitchen table, drinking wine and confiding in us about the appalling behaviour of their spouses. Me! A rock!
A friend of mine told me the other day that he got up early one morning (he lives on a boat in the canal) to find the body of an elderly woman floating face down in the water, whilst seeming to cling on to the rudder of his neighbour's vessel moored up alongside. Nobody knew who she was.
That night, H.I. told me the sad news that an elderly student of hers had died (possibly of suicide), but didn't know the precise circumstances. Yes, it turned out that the body was her friend and student, but in this case, she did not have a 'rock'. The one that got away.
But, as Tim Smit (he of The Eden Project) said live on the radio this morning, the people of Britain are currently being told over and over again that there is no hope and they are all washed up, but this is just not true. He - in a somewhat larger way - is an inspirational character like H.I.
We both met him once, when I went down to the Lost Gardens of Heligan to try to drum up some work on the project - his first project. There was no work for me, but I was deeply impressed by his energy, enthusiasm and all the other cliched descriptions for a character who has made a name for himself by his sheer powers of influence and organisation when coordinating vast projects, the success of which seem highly doubtful from the outset.
Having completed the restoration of the Lost Gardens in Cornwall, he set out on the mind-bogglingly complex task of creating the Eden Project, and now that the whole place is up and running, he has decided to supply all it's energy needs by boring holes 3000 metres into the granite crust that it sits on, in order to produce hot water and steam with which to power electric turbines, at a cost of £33,000,000. He predicts that the project will only use 25% of the electricity for all it's purposes, and the rest will go straight into the National Grid and heat the nearest town in perpetuity.
All this at a time when small businesses are being throttled by the banks who caused the financial problems in the first place. He, on the other hand, can single-handedly conjure up investment for a project which seems to have no immediate material benefits to the community, other than a load of virtually free power.
Who is it that is telling the Brits (and the Europeans) that they are washed-up? The financiers, of course. It takes a bloke like Tim Smit to point out the obvious.
H.I. said that she had heard the conspiracy theory that the Jubilee celebrations coinciding with the London Olympics are a sort of sweetener to take the nation's mind off the ghastly crisis, in the same way the the ancient Romans organised lavish games for the citizens, for the same purpose.
You simply cannot subscribe to this theory, because the succession to the throne could not have been planned 60 years ago to coincide with the worst financial crisis since Germany's in 1938.
Now that any effective power has been taken away from the British monarchy, it seems that their prime function is to be - like H.I. and Tim Smit - inspirational, despite what the curmudgeonly and resentful cynics of all ages will tell you.
How can you feel jealous of the supposed wealth and privilege of the Queen? It is a bit like being envious of a canary because it's cage is made from pure gold.
So I for one am going to do my best to drop my naturally grumpy outlook on life for one weekend, but I refuse to wave a Union Jack.
UPDATE: Winner of the 'Best Backside Award' - 'Vicar's Choice', from this afternoon's wedding:
Sorry, I did have my real camera, but this was done with a phone.