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Royal Celebrations will be sweeping the country in the next couple of weeks. We are a patriotic bunch and the forthcoming Diamond Jubilee, celebrating our Queen's 60 year reign will be no exception. Only Queen Victoria has reached this pinnacle before in 1897.
I have vague memories of the Silver Jubilee in 1977: somewhere I still have the silver coin that was given to every school child. Older members of my family can remember the actual Coronation in 1953, crammed into neighbour's houses, watching the ceremony live on tiny black and white televisions. Others remember attending dances and balls at local town halls. I suspect the forthcoming celebrations will even outdo the Golden Jubilee in 2002.
Union Jacks, bunting, family meals, picnics and street parties will be the order of the day as we focus our attention on all that is good and great about our country.
For most of us it will be a simple affair. The vital part is bringing people together as a community, sharing food and good times. Being British we will get on with it, whatever the weather! It would be rewarding if our own children can remember how they celebrated the Diamond Jubilee in years to come.
For me the secret to an enjoyable and relaxed Jubilee party is keeping it simple and sharing the load, regardless of whether it is a large community or small group celebration. Get everyone involved in the cooking, young and old. Wherever possible shop ahead and cook a day in advance. The shops are full of Union Jacks, bunting, paper cups, gold crowns and all kinds of decorations. Alternatively, get the kids involved with making some of these!
If celebrating in a small group you may want to go with the flow in terms of activities. Large street parties will benefit from some organised entertainment. Perhaps ask everyone to come dressed in red, white and blue or they could wear Union Jack accessories. It might be an idea to have a Royal quiz, a 'best cake' or a best Jubilee cocktail competition. In addition the kids need to be kept occupied; simple games like pass the parcel or musical chairs with small prizes awarded can be fun for the little ones. Older children could organise their own 'This Street's got Talent' competition.
This is an ideal time to show support for our British farmers and producers by showcasing the fruits of their labours in the best possible light. Take advantage of the nostalgia and indulge in some quintessentially British classics such as Coronation chicken, sausage rolls or Victoria sponge.
I for one will be looking forward to this special public holiday and spending valuable time partying with my family and friends . Enjoy!