I type these words whilst waving a Union flag and dressed in a red, white and blue ditsy-print tea dress. There's a dainty 1940s inspired pill box hat perched on my head. I have a vintage cup and saucer at my side, filled with a delicious champagne cocktail with flowers floating on the surface. And, oh! Look at those darling cupcakes with sugarcraft corgis on top! My heart is swelling with national pride as I see Kate Middleton pull off the difficult task of wearing drop waist AND pleats.
Fair enough, of course I’m bloody not. I’m hungover, still wearing my pyjamas and a liberal smear of last night’s mascara under each eye.
This jubilee is a tricky one for me. Not because I’m some kill joy Queen-hater or miserable curmudgeon. I’ll readily admit that I don’t really care about the woman, but as long as I get two bank holidays I’ll happily sing a chorus of “God Save the Queen” and quaff a glass of Cava. Sparkling wine and time off work are the opiates of my personal mass.
The trickiness arises from the fact that I’m too busy to do it properly. I love any excuse for family parties involving Pimms, a gazebo and platters of barbecued meat. If people ask me to make cakes for aforementioned gatherings, I embrace the challenge and sometimes even draw preparatory sketches. I plan outfits for such events weeks in advance. I can’t help it; I’m an excitable soul.
Alas, The 2012 Diamond Jubilee is likely to pass me by in a blur of invoicing, research and reviewing. But I’m not giving up without a fight. I’ve concocted my very own half-arsed girls’ guide to surviving the jubilee.
Opinions on the Monarchy
Being a half-arsed girl means that you have a half-arsed opinion on the monarchy. Some people will try and tell you that this is a bad thing, but let me reassure you that it is perfectly fine. There is no fault in moaning about the obnoxious amounts of money spent on jubilee celebrations then spending three hours gawping at TV coverage of said celebrations. Note that no truly half-arsed girl bothers to find out the actual amount spent on the celebrations.
It is also fine to be completely apathetic about the Queen herself. You can use this lack of opinion to your advantage should you find yourself bored at a Jubilee party. Find the nearest outspoken monarchist and introduce them to the nearest outspoken republican (tip: they’ll be wearing dark colours and sulking). Ask them their opinions on the 1997 decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia, then sit back and enjoy.
Bunting (and décor in general)
This is all about admiring other people’s attempts, rather than actually attempting anything myself. Obviously.
I have seen so much bunting in the past few weeks that it has lost all novelty value. I started off being all “aww, look at the pretty bunting!” now I’m like “yeah, bunting, great. Oh look, more bunting.” The problem is that some people have made so much effort that such a jaded response would be plain mean. Thankfully, bunting fatigue is easy to overcome.
The trick is to seek the points of bunting differentiation; maybe they’ve got their kids to colour it in or sewn it themselves using offcuts from the new dining room curtains. Even the most generic supermarket bunting can be swagged with finesse. Find these unique features, however tenuous, then compliment your host on them: “Wow, I love the way that you’ve draped that bunting between the shed and the washing line. It really makes a feature of barrel water feature” and so on and so forth.
There has been considerable media pressure to make and consume special Jubilee themed cocktails. Whilst a diamond elderflower fizz made with English sparkling wine and served in a limited edition hand painted commemorative highball glass sounds lovely, it is far too much trouble for this good half-arsed girl.
As is so often the case in life, the solution is gin. A simple G&T has the dual benefits of being really easy to make AND suitably regal for the occasion. Tip it into a teacup and everyone at the party will think you are really witty and clever, especially if they’ve never been to London or a vintage fair.
Jen Evans is a journalist specialising in culture. She will be celebrating the jubilee from her desk with a tea cup of gin in hand. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Bookish Brunette.
Image via Smabs Sputzer's Flickr