Your correspondent has had a busy 24 hours. Last night Mr. Waffle and I went to see Bruce Springsteen. I can’t honestly say that standing in a field for about four hours was the finishing touch I needed to recuperate fully from my cold but Bruce does do a good concert. I thought that there might be some kind of…intermission, I mean he is 73 but no, he kept going for three hours solid. He jumped. I was honestly concerned that one of the elderly gents on stage would have a heart attack. Or perhaps someone in the stadium. Just so you know, Bruce Springsteen fans are mainly bald family men in their 50s and 60s. Some of them bring their children to concerts which lowers the age profile. Some of them bring their wives which slightly improves the gender balance. All attendees were taller than me.
Honestly, the environment was, entirely wholesome, family fun. I did enjoy it – what a show – but I was quite surprised by how many songs the Boss has written since the mid-80s when I was last paying attention.
We cycled to and from the venue and I was delighted with myself and slightly smug (doubtless I will burn for this) as we sailed by traffic chaos on the way in and on the way home. I was a bit worried about our bikes but the fans were all round polite pillars of society, so I really needn’t have been. All was well, not so much as a light missing on our return to where the bikes were locked to Sheffield stands right beside the venue. This was not a crowd that goes in for utility cycling much I’d say, so bike parking was readily available.
When we got home about 11 (Bruce is 73, he played for three hours, what more do you want?) Daniel, who had gone to the beach with friends, still wasn’t home. In fairness to him he’s pretty good to answer when you call so my inevitable panic was of short duration. He was coming home – he and his friends had had dinner in town. I waited up. There was mild drama. One of his friends had got the bus in the wrong direction and ended up in Crumlin when she wanted to go to Clontarf (these places are far apart). She texted the group and said her father was furious and had told her to get home by herself. She had missed the last bus. I was outraged and dithering about what to do but mercifully her father relented. All this took time though so I was late to bed and not at my bright and beautiful best next morning when I got up at 8.
“Why 8?” you ask. I was going to a coronation brunch. I am not proud but a friend of mine offered and off I went. Leaving poor Mr. Waffle cleaning up cat vomit from the kitchen floor, I went to my monarchial extravaganza. I mean look it’s free pageantry kindly paid for by the old oppressor. As you may have guessed, I am a little ambivalent. But, I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I thought the ceremony was great – surprisingly moving – and the music terrific. Who knew there were so many functionaries in Britain who could speak so well to an audience of thousands in the church and lots more on TV? Man of the match had to go to the young chorister who had the first words in the whole ceremony and delivered them as clearly and collectedly as if he’d been practicing every day of his life. Perhaps he was, I wouldn’t put it past the British to have someone who is trained from birth.
I could have done with more focus on women’s dresses but still very enjoyable. And brunch was superb. We didn’t crack open champagne at the moment of coronation because 1) it felt a bit like mass and drinking in mass feels so odd and 2) it was probably a bridge too far.
I suppose, it’s a big thing that has happened in my lifetime. I remember my father talking about when the old King died (George V to you) and we do have a relationship with the neighbouring island with their big events, willy nilly, being a bit ours too. I well remember when Charles and Diana got married we went over to my mother’s friend’s house and watched it on TV. And, I might add, my mother’s friends were an Irish speaking family. Am I protesting too much? I guess, as they say, relationship status: it’s complicated.
When I got home, my brother was packing up to leave having stayed for a few days. Michael said wickedly, “We should tell Uncle Dan where you were.” I would suffer unmerciful slagging, if my brother heard about this, so I managed to persuade Michael not to tell (what will be the end of this?). “But it is here, on the internet,” you protest. To my lasting chagrin, my brother does not read my blog. “I must,” he says weakly, but he never does. Bitter? Moi?
And how was your own coronation experience, if you partook? Did anyone make the quiche? And how about Penny Mordaunt’s scene stealing sword gig?
*The title comes from this poem by WB Yeats and is general shorthand for doing something which is perhaps not totally worthy of the Republic. Has wide application.
The relevant stanza is:
Was it for this the wild geese spread/The grey wing upon every tide;/For this that all that blood was shed,/For this Edward Fitzgerald died,/And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,/All that delirium of the brave?/Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,/It’s with O’Leary in the grave.