Thursday, October 20, 2011
Frocktober - day twenty
Today the Queen is visiting Canberra. I'm a republican, I believe that Australia should have an Australian head of state. But I have huge respect for the Queen. She has truly devoted her life to her role and the Commonwealth. So even though I was madly busy I decided to head out and see the Queen on what could be her last visit to Australia.
I chose to wear this 30's inspired dress, even though I've discovered it has shrunk somewhat and now the slip shows! I have had it a long time, the first time I wore it a colleague brought her baby into the office for a visit. That baby is now in 2nd grade at school.
I headed out of the office at 10am to make sure I was in place in plenty of time which was lucky because car parking was already at a premium on Black Mountain Peninsular. I had intended to sit at a picnic table and work (I had taken my laptop with me) but the crowds were really gathering so instead I found myself a position near to the lake and sat on the ground. I actually saw my picnic rug this morning while looking for the hat which would have matched my outfit if I had found it but didn't think to bring it which was a pity because I ended up with numerous sticks and leaves clinging to my pantyhose - they will never be the same.
The crowd was a real mixture. There were lots of older people including bus fulls from the local nursing and retirement homes, heaps of Mums with young children and babies, but also teenagers who had evidently skipped out of school (they were still in uniform) and uni and a smattering of professional people like me, looking slightly uncomfortable in their suits on the grass.
While we waited we watched the water police whizzing around on their jet skis keeping the few boats in order. The Queen was quite late but it was a truly gorgeous day so waiting was no hardship.
Finally we could see the crowd on the other side of the lake waving and the official boat (the Admiral's Barge) come into view. It is normally located in Sydney and had to be brought down to Canberra on the back of a truck earlier this week. A crane had to be hired to lift it into the water.
And at last we could see the Queen and Prince Phillip. The Queen was in a lovely lilac outfit, while Prince Phillip was in a navy suit with a straw hat. They definitely needed those hats with the hot spring sunshine. The Queen gave us a little wave but Prince Phillip was right into it, with great big, quite un-royal waves. People waved flags and clapped, it was a very festive and happy atmosphere.
You can't see the Queen so well in this shot but you can admire the Navy men in their very handsome white outfits.
The Admiral's Barge was followed by another water police vessel and the combination of the two made for quite some bow wave which resulted in a mini tsunami. Everyone was standing or had set up camp chairs right on the edge of the lake and as we all stood up to go we suddenly realised the water was headed our way. It probably came a meter or so onto the shore, but that was enough to significantly splash quite a few people who didn't move in time. It was quite a surprise ending to a fun morning out.