I had scoured the local newspaper trying to find out what was happening where in the way of street parties, but our local rag is useless it had been putting out locations in snippet from, but no details of times or what was expected or planed – shoddy journalism! Most were in pubs, or a BBQ at the back of the pub which was not what I was after, little effort on behalf of the landlord and the same kind of thing for any other biggish event, like England playing football. The Diamond Jubilee was different, it is not like a regular bash; I needed glitz and big with whistles and bells on.
Picture wise I was after something special, at least equal to Martin Parr’s Jubilee picture of a washed out street party that summed up Britishness, or maybe some great community pictures of everyone coming together for a special day. I checked the weather forecast on Accuweather the night before and it showed rain for the whole day
It was meant to be a day of street parties, not that I could find any listed in the local rag, but there was a re-enactment of the Princess Victoria coming to Belper which she did in the past when she was just 13 years old and that was to be followed by a big Lunch at the River Gardens next to the North Mill, but this time she was to switch on a new fountain. The second part of the plan was to head back into Derby where tables were laid out on the market place in front of the big screen so people could have an impromptu street party.
Sunday was an early start, well it was for a Sunday anyway. The rain was not the full on kind, but the slow constant drizzle kind, the sort that slowly works through your clothing , your skin and into your soul to make you feel miserable and cold.
Me and my friend got to Belper early and there was little activity and nothing in the way of crowds, so we went of and did a quick recon of the route and look for the choke spots that would get us trapped in the crowd. At the time I was not concerned about the lack of people. those local could turn up ten minutes before the event and still be in time and leaving it till the last-minute to avoid the rain seemed like an obvious plan
However, when it came to the Princess Victoria’s arrival by horse and carriage, sadly there was only about 30 – 50 spectators and some of those were part of the set-up and stall holders hoping for a big crowd
Despite all that I still managed to get caught up in the crowds and at least I did get the right place as there was a TV Crew there for the local news too.
As Belper had been rained out and with its low turnout we set off to Derby for the mass crowds braving the weather in the market place while watching the Queen’s flotilla on the Big Screen. When we got there it was a shock to see the tables being packed away!
I scratched my head wondering if I had got the times wrong, but no it was an official wash out, no one had used the tables the few food venders that were there especially for the event, had not sold a sausage all day and were also packing!
In short it was kind of disappointing, yet at the same time very British as well and after the tables were cleared there was a few watching the Queen on the Big Screen