Off to a Garden Party

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Part of the crowd in Edinburgh on a Scottish summer day

This blog is about my swimming adventures around the world. However, bear with me while I diverge somewhat as there is a link. If I had not moved to the UK to further my swimming travels, I would not have had the opportunity to attend a garden party. The Australian High Commission in London had been granted passes for loyal Australian subjects of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second to attend a Garden Party at either Buckingham Palace in London, or at The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. As we lived in Glasgow, only 80 km or so from Edinburgh, it made sense to apply for a place there, rather than in London.

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We also thought that having a garden party on 4 July (a sense of irony perhaps) in Edinburgh would mean a lovely summer’s day.  It was with a sense of delight that I was told that our application to attend was successful. Wow, an opportunity to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in person.

The day of the event arrived, and I did not wear my kilt, unlike a large number of gentlemen who did (and they mostly looked very elegant as well). Unfortunately, the vagaries of the Scottish summer came to pass, with a cold wet day forecast, with a top temperature of 13c. We were going outdoors to have some tea and cake, and did not want to shiver and be miserable. I had lived in Scotland for a few years now, but can now share their disappointment of their disheartening summers and pale complexions.

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It is a fine day if you can see Arthur’s Seat

We made it to the Palace quite dry, as the heavy rain of the morning had stopped, leaving its presence felt with the cooling breeze and leaden sky. Just before this event it was announced that the Prince Philip would retire from public life over the summer, and that this event would be one of his last. We did manage to get within 2 metres of the 96-year-old Duke, and could only admire the way he could still converse and walk unaided around the crowds.

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Not looking like a local

We did enjoy the afternoon, despite the cold conditions. We felt honoured to have the opportunity to attend such an event, and recognised that sometimes it was good to be an Australian living in Scotland. You can certainly see that the Royal Family knows how to stage an event. Will I get to go again I wonder?

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