The carnival is over. In my case this refers to the King’s coronation camping disaster/adventure. I promised my husband and 3 kids a front row seat to witness history as we made the long trip to London to see all the King’s horses and all the King’s men (and more importantly, Kate and William) trot down The Mall on the way to Westminster in THAT Golden Carriage.
As a royal super fan, it was my dream to do this and it was the best of times and the worst of times. We ‘camped’ for 34 hours and we did achieve that rare front row spot. But. It came with a future therapy bill and lots of hard work and shivering as my clan stood in the rain with my children throwing me withering looks of disdain.
We arrived the day before the big event at 5:00am so it was still dark and we whacked our Aldi $25 tarp on the ground and bunged on our Australian (made in China) cork hats and claimed our little square of royal land. Things were going well until it started to rain and we soon realised we couldn’t all huddle under the tarp and keep dry in our $2 plastic ponchos.
The lovely British women next to us set us straight and they knew a thing or two because they were dressed like they were going on a duck hunt and they looked very dry in their tartan and khaki ensembles. So, hubby ran to Piccadilly to buy a 3 person tent for our 5 people 10 gin and tonics for the 2 adults. Solid camping supplies.
The rain set in and so did the dark moods. It did not help that the crowd was growing and I was starting to ban any form of eating and drinking because the port-a-loos were such a long hike away from our little tarp. The night came and the rain stayed.
An elderly woman left her bag hanging unattended near our tent and the next minute the bomb squad surrounded us. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Packing way less heat, the regular police also kept doing the rounds to check we did not have knives in our tent. We did not but we did have spilt yoghurt that had spread all over the pitch black canvass dome and most of the mud from The Mall.
The daylight finally came and with tired and cranky kids, we were ordered to pack down the tent to make room for the crowd. 1 million people crammed into The Mall. Most of them were pushing into our backs trying to get a front row spot. “Hold your ground kids,” I bellowed as if we were about to fight for our lives.
Before this royal sojourn my kids thought a crowd was a line up waiting for Maccas at Kawana. We sang God Save The King and other songs with the crowd as we waited and waited for that royal procession to pass us.
My kids were hungry and cold and ready to vote to join the republic. But on we waited until finally King Charles and Camilla and Wills and Kate trotted by and threw their disciples from the realm of Australia a royal wave. We all screamed with excitement and wiped away the water from our eyes. It was not tears. It was still raining. I turned to my kids and husband and declared we had achieved our mission to see the Coronation and one day they would all thank me. In return they flipped me the bird with their blue and cold hands.