Friday, 1 June 2012

ABIDE WITH ME: Photos and Extracts - Jubilee Special

Here in Old Blighty this weekend, we celebrate.  Good times.  Oh, yes.  Good times.  The Germans have been running the gaff over here for almost three hundred years - since good old George Hanover (George I) got the job in 1714.  After the Hanover's had a go, the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's took over in 1837, in the guise of the most famous German queen of them all - Victoria Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  Old Vicky, to be fair, did a sterling job.  And everyone was happy with their German governors, what with building the German Empire, and all that.

But then things got a bit hairy.  A bit awkward, you might say.  By 1914, back in the Fatherland, the naughty Kaiser Wilhelm thought he'd chance his arm at extending his borders a little.  Over the water in Old Blighty, his cousin, the king of England himself - George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (George V) - thought it prudent to make a show of solidarity with his British subjects and changed his surname to 'Windsor' - after one of his little castles.  
Hence, the House of Windsor was born.
(Historical information courtesty of

So, this weekend, the whole nation celebrates the sixty year reign of Elizabeth Windsor nee Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and her Greek husband.

Me, I can't wait :)

Back to the book . . . 

In 1977, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Silver Jubilee - twenty-five years on the British throne.  It's a time I remember well.  I would have been about seven or eight, and the street parties, the Union Jacks, the races in the streets in the heat of another scorching summer are embedded in my psyche as great days indeed.  

When the Silver Jubliee came along for John in ABIDE WITH ME, times were hard.  He'd had some knockbacks, you might say.  His dad wasn't in the best of ways, and the Hammers had been relegated to the Second Division for the first time in twenty years.  But the Jubliee - surely that would brighten the lads up.  Surely . . . 

A street race during the Silver Jubilee celebrations of 1977 (photo courtesy of 

'Come the day, there's a load of street races outside, you know, egg and spoon, and shit, and a big old party. All right for the littl'uns, I suppose, but I'm gonna be thirteen in a few months. What do I want with all that shit? Mum makes me do the runnin race, though. Feel like a right bleedin idiot. Come second behind some eight-year-old with a fucked lip. Mum said I weren't even tryin. Fuckin right. Gives me a clip round the ear for me troubles and sends me inside to sit with Dad.'

Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha working the crowds back in '77

'Street party ain't finished for hours yet. No way I'm goin out there again. Mum'd only drag me into another fuckin stupid race. So I'm stuck inside, and Dad's still bangin on about the fuckin revolution, sittin there in his Union Jack hat cos he's too scared to take it off. Mum's spent a load of dough we ain't got on shit and stuff for the fuckin Queen's fuckin Jubilee, and the Queen don't even fuckin know cos she's up at Buck-fuckin-House sippin tea with the rest of the fuckin inbreds. And I'm lookin at the flags outside, all them little flags, and all them people laughin and cheerin, and Kenny's old girl up at his window tryin to put his curtains up for the hundreth time, and I'm thinkin of Kenny, wonderin which one of us is in the real fuckin nut-house.'

I would just like to point out the views of John and Dad are not necessarily the views I personally hold.


Have a great weekend everyone.

Best wishes,

Ian :)

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