Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 647 – jubilee

Tuesday, 05 June 2012

It's been quite a weekend for the Smith family as, just like the rest of the country, we've been celebrating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee with copious amounts of food and drink. Our festivities  spanned most of the four-day weekend and only now are we coming up for a breath of air.

There's obviously quite a bit I could write about (scrumptious food, Peppa Pig, Gary Barlow, Grace Jones' hoolahoop and the weather), but I'm going to focus on the celebrations of St Nicholas Church in Great Wakering. You see, while most of the country were going batty over London's jubilee activities I joined around 20 lady pensioners to create a flower festival to span the jubilee weekend. It might not sound very rock and roll, and of course I don't usually spend my time with a group of retired ladies, but I've long stopped worrying about what people think of me.

All the flower displays related to the Queen's reign in some way and I was charged with creating two of the 24 on show. I arrived at the Church in a bit of a rush on Friday morning and the place was all ready looking pretty good as most of the ladies had started their creations the day before. Many of the ladies didn't know what to make of me. Was I unemployed? Did I really know what I was doing? Was I, you know (hushed tones), one of those pooftas? Was I a professional florist arrived to show them all up?

I let them guess and, as an ice breaker, made an elaborate song and dance of clambering over pews to reach my designated windowsils (that might have been a mistake). I then talked to myself loudly reeling off as many botanical plant names as possible as I got to work (surely that would have shown them I knew my stuff). After that I casually dropped into conversation that I'd been to the Chelsea Flower Show on press day and that I knew Alan Titchmarsh pretty well (that seemed to win them over).

The morning progressed well and within a couple of hours I'd completed the first of my displays. Here is something that's meant to represent Pomp and Circumstance (don't ask).

The festival organisers had booked a table at the local pub for lunch so I joined the rest of the ladies for a bite to eat. I was a little worried about what may lie ahead, but the pull of a pint (it had been quite a long morning) was enough to lure me in. Well, what fun we had. The white-wine spritzers flowed ( I even had two pints) and I soon learned all about the WI's world record knitting attempt, not to mention the scandal and gossip of the Church and how one lady was shortly off on a trip to Las Vegas - who'd have thought it.

The afternoon was full of fun and tittle tattle (I was now one of the gang) and I had knocked up 'Royal Weddings' before I knew it:

So, there we are. Although a little unusual for a 31 year old man, I'd thoroughly recommend getting involved with a Church flower festival.

Until next time...

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Kevin Smith | Garden Media Writer and Editor

On 31 August 2010 I quit my full-time job as the Commissioning Editor at Gardeners' World Magazine to be a stay-at-home dad  and to try and scratch a living as a freelance garden journalist. It's often said that a 'life change' is good, but can I cut it with the yummy mummys? Will I manage to get a single shred of work done? Will Ida (she's the gorgeous little girl who's the cause of all this) like gardening as much as me? Who knows, we're going to find out...