…happen when you lump them in a large crowd beside the Thames and then break the news to them that we’ll be waiting 2 hours. A tedious 2 hour wait for the chance to see the Queen and the Royal Family heading down the Thames in the flotilla celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!
The boats in front of us were filled with lucky people (slightly richer people?) who had paid for a much better view. We were happy with our free view amongst the crowd. Sure I hate crowds almost as much as seeing the number on the scale go up instead of down but the atmosphere was kinda fun. Crazy peeps dressed in Red, White and Blue donning flags and funny masks of the royal family whilst boozing it up in the rain. How much more British can you get?
All in all it was a great experience. Yes we would have seen more in front of our t.v screen but it felt like we were part of something standing out in the rain with thousands of other eager onlookers!
There was however one down side and it came in the form of a middle-aged woman. Skip this next bit if you like, it’s purely a bit of after-the-fact venting!
First, take note of the woman behind Master 11 with her feet shoved right in between his feet (brown shoes, grey and pink striped pants) and her raised knee (I didn’t notice this at the time).
…now take a look at how much space she had behind her to “take a step back”. The only thing behind her is an older gentlemen’s camera case (minus his camera).
…and let me tell you, in the crowds along the river bank yesterday she was one of the few who could move in any direction other than with the ebb and flow of the crowd.
This middle-aged woman continued to berate out kids for “leaning on her”. On and on she went every 15 minutes making another snide remark at Master 11 and Master 8 telling them to, “stand on their own two feet” or “stop putting all your weight on me” or “stand up straight will you!”.
At first I gave her the benefit of the doubt and told them to stand up straight and lean on the wall. I know my kids are used to leaning on me so it might have just been force of habit leaning on an adult behind them.
…as time wore on (we waited 2 hours) I started to notice that the kids space was getting smaller and smaller and the space between myself and her and Mitch and her (we switched places about an hour in so I was in front of him) was growing larger and larger…
I did mention loudly that the kids space was getting smaller and smaller to Mitch during one of her requests for them to, “stand up straight”. I did however once again gently remind the kids to lean forward on the wall and not lean backwards.
When the flotilla had reached our part of the river and she had her camera out she had begun inching forward even further. Then she made a big error in judgement and she complained to me, as though I would be on board ready to give my kids an earful right along with her.
As you can imagine after standing on my feet for 2 hours, trying to keep 3 kids from moaning too loudly, poking each other with their flags or wriggling terribly much my patience was hanging by a thread.
I took a deep breath not wanting to make a scene whilst trapped beside this woman with a large crowd all around us. I gave her a stern talking to about her being welcome to take a step back instead of crowding my kids in further and further by the minute, Mitch jumped in with a few helpful tips, “we’re all squashed” and “if it’s not your cup of tea maybe watch on the telly next time?”. I don’t think she got the response she was hoping for.
When faced with the likes of two grown adults she was too cowardly to continue and became all of a sudden very, very quiet.
We watched for a little while longer and then made our way out of the crowd for a pretty wet and sludgy, but gloriously un-crowded walk home.
I began to have a laugh with Master 11 about how unlucky he was to have had such a moaner behind him, and then he began to fill us in on the whole story.
Not only had this woman been nudging up closer and closer to the front but she had actually put her feet between his and begun kneeing him in the back and poking him with her knuckles.
Yes, you read that correctly! A grown woman kneeing, poking and using her greater height and strength up against an 11-year old boy who was trying not to squash his 8-year-old brother.
I wish he had told me whilst it was happening or had cried out telling her to stop hurting him. I saw him holding his ground and complaining he had to put his knee up on the wall in front of him to stop himself being shoved against the wall but I had no idea this vicious woman was childishly trying to over power him to make him move out the way. Master 11 had just tried to stand his ground and protect his brother.
Master 8 and Master 11 then went on to explain how the whole drama had begun, not long after we arrived. A different woman had been up against the wall at the front of the crowd and had decided to leave once the rain started to fall (can’t blame her). She had seen our children (clearly at a disadvantage being too short to see) and had told them they could take her spot. As this lovely woman moved out of her spot the horrid woman moved forward to take the empty spot. Our kids got there first, after being told by the lovely woman that they could stand there they didn’t hesitate (they didn’t shove mind you, they were nearest to the spot and didn’t even consider that it was a race between them and another woman). Clearly this horrid woman had felt herself robbed of a better viewpoint and from that moment on decided to try and muscle the kids out through silently using force.
I think perhaps she thought that if she demonized our kids for “leaning on her” that I would move my kids out of the way and let her take the spot she felt was rightfully her’s. Or perhaps she thought they might cry and feel bad and leave of their own accord. Maybe she’s so childish she didn’t know what her own motives were other than being steaming mad and needing to lash out at some one.
I was so disgusted once I heard this and was tempted to walk back and speak with her, if only to make it clear that I knew what she’d been doing and to tell her to grow the heck up. Unfortunately I don’t think it would have done any good and the crowd was pretty thick behind us. I guess if you can make it to your 50’s without growing-up then a peeved mother giving you a piece of her mind probably isn’t going to make any difference.
I can’t believe I was so blind to what was actually happening to my kiddo’s. If Mitch and I hadn’t been behind this woman holding off the rest of the crowd then she would have quite happily allowed our kids to be squashed right up against that wall. All for a better view and a few photos? You can see from our photos that I could barely see a thing (being quite short and with a man taller than I in front of me) but there’s no point being so vicious, especially when it’s directed at children.
There wasn’t a hope of us being able to see the Queen from this distance without some heavy duty binoculars but just knowing she was just over there and we were all cheering and celebrating together was enough for me.
How have you celebrated the Diamond Jubilee long weekend (even with the frequent down-pours and slightly muddy surroundings)?