You couldn’t move without risking a truncheon up the jacksy.
They left no stone unturned. Or stonehead.
Bins were checked and taped up. Sewers were probed. And then the big boys came in. The narks with peaked caps. The ones who mean real business. The proper coppers.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Leamington was about to become a hotbed for cultural revolution. That the battle lines had been drawn down the length of The Parade and today would not be a good day to purchase a new divan mattress from John Lewis.
But you’d be wrong.
Because instead of cultural revolution Leamington was in fact the venue for one of this country’s great cultural traditions: waving a little union jack flag at a lady in a big hat who waves like she’s been taught to do so by Mr Miyagi from the original Karate Kid, “wax orn, wax orf.”
Friday saw Her Maj The Queen visiting my home town of Royal Leamington Spa. She came dressed in shocking pink with Prince Philip in tow to formally open Leamington Spa’s brand new Justice Centre building.
That’s right. We no longer have a magistrate’s court. We have a Justice Centre. Sadly my suggestion to have a statue of Judge Dredd erected outside was met with askance looks and murmurs of “can we please relocate this geek to another country please?”
Leamington has at last put itself back onto the Royal map. You see, I’m pretty sure that the last time we had a Royal visit was in the 1800’s when Queen Victoria popped by to sample the spa waters and graciously allowed Leamington Spa to name itself Royal Leamington Spa. I find it somehow ironic that our response to civil disobedience has at last brought the currently reigning monarch back to our sleepy little backwater town to renew our regal connections.
Though I doubt the coppers of Victoria’s day checked the sewers quite so avidly (probably because there weren’t any sewers back then). What were our coppers looking for? Bombs I suppose. Or perhaps Royal souvenir poo hunters who were squatting down beneath the loos of the Justice Centre hoping that Liz or Phil might crack a little something off in the cells that they could sell on the black market. If any Chinese doctors are listening Royal poo has amazing healing properties but only if taken orally. Trust me, it’s true.
So did I go out and join the flag waving throngs? At first I thought no, sod this for a game of soldiers, I’m not against the Royals but I’m not a Royalist automaton either. I’ve got work to do. But the sun was shining and then I thought I’ve got work to do I’d rather be outside. So outside I went and joined the crowds. ‘Cos let’s face it, Liz is getting on a bit. The chances of her living long enough to ever have a justifiable reason to come back to Leamington Spa are pretty slim.
The crowds were as you might expect. Screaming school children waving flags, old ladies muttering, “Ooh she does a lot of charity work, she does, heart of gold she has, don’t she duck?” and cynical teenagers hanging around whilst cursing themselves for not having the courage of their convictions to moon in the face of a stern faced policeman or give the Royal convoy the finger.
The picture above is my own. It is the closest I am ever likely to come to England’s current monarch (unless my Knighthood comes through before she carks it). Annoyingly I was concentrating on operating my camera phone so much that I didn’t actually look upon her with my own eyes. I’m sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere but I can’t for the life of me be bothered enough to think what it is.
So there you have it. The Queen. Real news of national importance on this ‘ere blog. Proper journalism (almost). History recorded. The stuff of news. The fabric of our national identity interwoven with my own.
God Save The Queen! I mean it most heartily ma’am.
Though, of course, you do all realize there is little or no future in England’s dreaming...