They’ve strung out the bunting and covered cup cakes and cookies and muffins in red, white and blue. The tables are being set up where cars normally dominate, huge, long white sheets become makeshift tablecloths on a street-long banqueting space, the dishes are assembled, each decorated with a token miniature union jack, and the cars are formally banished, as neighbours gather together for the event of the decade: the Diamond Jubilee Street party is here!
It’s a rather anachronistic tradition, but one which is all the more necessary now that neighbourhoods have become soulless and people who live side by side barely know each other’s names. Back in the middle of the 20th Century, when the street party was a more regular occurrence (notable street parties included celebrations at the close of the Second World War and the Queen’s Coronation itself, in 1953) street parties were probably more of a naturally organised occasion. Neighbours lived in one another’s front rooms, borrowing cups of sugar, nosing into each other’s gossip, and standing around on the street corners, having a chat. But as society has become gradually more transient, with people moving around for career changes, schooling changes, and moves abroad as part of the gradual trend towards globalisation, the idea of neighbourhood has been relegated to soap dramas on TV. In today’s age, with neighbourly relations at an all time low, and english reserve causing a general aptitude towards individual isolation, that the age of the street party is starting to catch on again, as people harp back to the old days, seeking a return to the days of neighbourhood values, when your street was a haven, a place where children played safely, and people felt the support not just of their closer relatives, but of the people living all around them.
What with the Golden Jubilee ten years ago, the Royal Wedding last year, and the Diamond Jubilee now upon us, the street party is on the up, and this weekend will see the union jack go into overdrive, not just in London, but all over the UK. Naturally, the Norms are not likely to miss out on the action, and here in Normville, the Norms have missed none of the Jubilee spirit, stringing out the bunting, decking the tables with cakes, and sandwiches, jellies and bottles of bubbly, as they fly the flag high in honour of a magnificent 60 year reign of our Queen, Elisabeth II. May the jubilee weekend begin!!
PS For the best jubilee cake ever known to man, check out the award winning cake made by my dearest friend Celia on her blog, Lady Aga.
© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
- Pictures: Break out the bunting! London prepares for bumper Jubilee weekend (thisislondon.co.uk)