Another Royal occasion had me glued to the telly this morning: the Queen's Birthday Parade and Trooping the Colour. It's held on Horseguards' Parade in London every year to commemorate the monarch's 'Official' birthday. That means the day she was crowned and therefore officially became our Queen. It has nothing to do with the anniversary of her birth, which is 21st April.
Until a few years ago the Queen used to actually take an active part in the proceedings, on horseback whatever the weather, and always riding sidesaddle. Sidesaddle! Both legs on the same side of the horse ! What a brilliant horsewoman she must be. Nowadays she and her husband sit it out on a specially built podium and she uses an open carriage to review the troops assembled before her. Quite right too, she is 84
You know, I watch all this every single year. I never tire of it and never will because each year I learn something I never knew. This time it was that the drum horses - the huge shires that carry two 57lb kettle drums plus a drummer in full regalia and have to be on their ceremonial best behaviour - they are the only animals in the British army that carry an official rank of Major. Not the rider, the horse! Well, I never knew that! I did wonder whether those magnificent animals might be deaf. I couldn't see any ear defenders, though I'm sure they will have had some way of protecting their hearing. How would you like it if somebody was banging on a huge drum - which YOU had to carry - right next to your ears?
A couple of other thoughts occurred too. I wonder how it must be to have two legs the same length? How do the marching soldiers get over the fear of tripping over something? Maybe they never think about it but I think I would have panic attacks about it!
Where there are lots of horses there must be lots of horse poo. As they - men and animals - went marching off the parade ground back to barracks I wondered how they avoided the stuff. Answer: they don't, they March straight through it. No hopping over or round - straight through and nary so much as a wrinkled nose. Even the Queen's open carriage ploughed through a pile of poo. Now if there's anything worse than steaming, sticky horse poo, it's disturbed steaming sticky horse poo! So now you know: the drum horses must be deaf and everyone else has no sense of smell!
How do those on parade manage to decipher the orders that are being belted out? They must have hellish lung capacity, those who do all the shouting. I mean the troopers can hardly say to their neighbour "What did he say?"
Those busbies (tall bearskin hats) must get unbearably hot on a nice day. On the other hand they must weigh a ton if it rains. how do the mums know which one is their son under all that lot?
And haven't they got big feet.........
I wonder what the Queen is having for lunch? If I said I'd love to go, would she invite me? I know which knife and fork to use!