the solemn bang of the drum

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The solemn bang of the drum

Reverberates through the drooping crowd,

Heads bowed and all in black,

Some crying, others raise their phones

To catch the spectacle for Instagram,

And still the drum beat continues on,

Warning mortals that our death

Is just around the corner too.

There was only really one thing that I could write about today: the funeral. It was a last minute Bank Holiday so that most people could have the time off work to watch the service and the procession.

If there was any doubt that our country can pull off the pomp and ceremony befitting a queen, then today those doubts were laid to rest. It was bloody magnificent.

I have never seen such a large procession and they actually walked a really long way so that lots of people got the chance to see it first hand. And I don’t think there has ever been an event where so many foreign dignitaries were present. It just goes to show what an amazing and well respected lady she was.

It was great to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the funeral, and I think everyone was in agreement that they are possibly the best behaved kids on the planet. I do wish that they had brought Prince Louis along as think he would have caused havoc – we always need a bit of comic relief in even the saddest of circumstances.

Watching the Princes William and Harry walking along behind the coffin was quite difficult because it brought back so many memories of that day, 25 years ago, when they walked behind the coffin of their mother.

Funerals always bring back memories of the people we miss and I’m sure there will be people out there who are feeling a bit low this evening so I hope you all keep safe and eat lots of chocolate.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it’s banned books week

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Let’s throw them into raging flames

That lick so angrily at curling pages

Begging to be read before

They disappear for once and all

Because the men in pinstripe suits

Feel words in ink are dangerous

And public folk can’t handle them

So best to rid the world

And keep us safe from harm.

It’s Banned Books Week which is an interesting one, because I very much believe that books are there to teach us about everything that goes on in the world, whether that be good or bad. I don’t think that it should be down to a man in a suit to tell me whether or not I can handle something.

I guess there is a responsibility for the authorities to make sure that a book is not likely to incite violence or hatred, but most fiction will only be exploring these ideas, not telling people to go out and do anything terrible.

I teach at a faith school and they won’t allow the Heartstopper series to be kept in the library because it is LGBT+, and I wonder how much damage that may do to some kids. Surely everybody deserves to be represented, and banning books about groups of people doesn’t do anyone any favours.

So, do make sure that you go out and read something naughty this week – you’re lucky that you live in a world where you can do that.

Much Love

Rachel xx

those sad songs on the radio

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Sad songs on the radio

Pulling at my bouyant mood

With heavy lyrics and a melody

That pierces hearts

And makes us feel

On such a low uneven keel

Crying far too hard to drive

And feeling pains

The truth that we are here, alive.

I’m a driver who goes into my own head when I’m on the road. I think that a lot of people do this because everyone talks about driving home and not remembering half the journey as they had zoned out.

But this means that I can also go to a somewhat blue place and this is never helped by the choice of song on the radio. Most of the time you get a bit of a mix, but when someone famous dies, the DJs seem to go crazy with the power ballads.

Today, a quick trip to Tesco almost ended in tears while listening to Radio 2. I remembered almost every heartbreak I have endured as the DJ maxed out on Whitney and Adele. I had to come home and put on the early Britney bangers to sort myself out.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the friendly monster of London

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There’s a friendly monster snaking through

The streets and parks of London city

It doesn’t snarl and it doesn’t bite

But it’ll make your feet rather unpretty.

It’ll suck you in and hold you there

Within its body for twenty hours

Gently chewing and spitting you out

At the rather imposing Parliamentary towers.

There you’ll see our beloved Queen

Lying in state for the people to see,

A final chance to show our love

And bask in the light of her majesty.

If you have been watching BBC News over the past few days, you will see that the headlines have been dominated by something very British: a queue.

It has become a monster in its own right, with people spending up to twenty hours in it, just so that they can spend a few moments with the coffin that contains our late Queen.

I must admit that if I hadn’t been working this week, I may have been tempted to go and join the queue while it was still under ten hours long. But as it crept up to a whole day, my interest has slowly waned.

I admire all of those people who are sticking it out and standing in line through a pretty cold night. But I’m quite happy here in my home, wearing my pyjamas, with my cat curled up at my side.

Much Love

Rachel xx

we actually had to talk to each other

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The little box that sits in the hall

By the telephone, innocuous and silent,

Constant and loving, always there.

And then one day, it begins to flash

An angry red, spreading its evil

Through a house once filled with lovely wifi.

Now it’s gone and the family crumbles

As we drift like zombies, through quiet rooms –

The unimaginable has happened, the internet’s down

And talking to each other

Is the only thing left to do.

I am joking, obviously. The internet went down and we did end up talking to each other. But it was really pleasant and it was nice to sit with Noah and spend a few hours in his company. He even came food shopping with me, which is a very rare event.

It’s amazing how a night with no wifi can change the way we all behave. I do enjoy having the internet and the ability to connect with people all over the world, but sometimes I think it would be so much nicer to go back to a time before we were ruled by it.

At least I could have some help carrying the shopping, if nothing else.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the vigil that got me

Watching the Queen’s children standing vigil around her coffin this evening was probably the first time that I felt truly touched and emotional since the news on Thursday.

I’ve obviously felt sad, but I really felt that human connection as I watched the four of them standing silently as the general public continued to file into the chapel.

I remember when my nan died, my aunt was so overcome that she literally threw herself on the coffin and began sobbing. Watching the sadness on Charles’ face just brought all those memories back to the surface.

People have been commenting on how ‘rude’ he was when he signed the papers in the throne room on Saturday, but I think that we were all forgetting the most important factor in all of this – he may be the King of England, but he has just lost his mum and that is crushing.

I felt a tear or two escaping as I sat and watched for those ten minutes. Moments like that are normally very personal and private and those poor people have had to play this all out very publicly.

I just hope that in between all of the many public engagements that they all need to attend, that they can grasp those few moments of quiet reflection so that they can recharge.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i felt like she needed a hug

I do apologise for all of the royal commentary at the moment, but over here we are having wall to wall coverage so it feels as though it’s the only thing anyone is talking about.

And I’m even more sorry to harp on about the ‘Fab Four’ of William, Catherine, Harry and Meghan because I know that it’s a story people can get slightly fed up with. Even I am starting to feel tired of reading the bitching that goes on between the people who support either side.

I actually love them all equally. I think that at all four of them have met different struggles along their journeys – struggles us mortals can’t really comprehend. Perhaps some have made some mistakes along the way, but that is what is both beautiful and messy about being human.

The moment yesterday, that caught my attention the most, was the moment when a fourteen year old local girl asked Meghan if she could hug her. When she was later interviewed by the media she said that she did it because she wanted Meghan to know that she was welcome here, after everything that she has been through.

I can only imagine the fear that Meghan must have felt yesterday and I think she’s really brave for stepping out in front of a media that has been really nasty to her. And I’m sure that if she heard what that girl said, it would have helped her feel loved.

It was interesting to look at the photo of the hug and see just how tightly Meghan was holding onto the girl. She needed that hug, and I’m glad that a little angel was put in the crowd to give her what she needed.

Much Love

Rachel xx

we do funny things in grief

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Some of the analysis of today’s events has been quite interesting to read. There are obviously so many people ready to jump to conclusions and read into just the smallest of words or mannerisms.

This can be problematic because the people that we are watching closely – the royals – are grieving for a mother and grandmother. And none of us ever act normally when we are gripped by grief.

Today, Kate and William invited Harry and Megan to come on the walkabout outside Windsor Castle and the whole world seemed to have an opinionon everything they saw.

I read anger into almost anything, probably because of a strict upbringing; if I did even the smallest thing wrong my mother would fly off the handle. I am aware that I am overly sensitive on this front, and very often, I am way off the mark and the person who scowled at me was just squinting in the sun.

But I couldn’t help but notice the distance between Kate and William as they walked down the driveway. I hope that my damaged little brain is just overreacting again, because I idolise Kate and William.

Grief does funny things to the way we behave, and perhaps Kate just powers through the sadness, and that’s how she copes. My dad is the most unemotional person in the world and when his dad passed away it hit him so hard that he couldn’t work for six moths. The reaction was totally unexpected, but what can be expected when you’ve lost somebody you’ve known forever?

I hope that they are all OK and my thoughts and prayers are with the whole family.

Much Love

Rachel xx

handbags and marmalade sandwiches

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She was tired on Thursday afternoon,

And she knew that soon she’d have to leave,

So she packed a handbag with her favourite things:

Some dog treats for the corgis and

A pair of gloves for royal waves to loving crowds,

And don’t forget the sandwich spread with marmalade

We learnt she loved a few months back in June.

She slipped her hat upon her head,

A pair of shiny shoes on feet and off she marched

Up and up on marble steps that led straight to

The clouds and gates where one man waits,

A smile upon his face, and hand outstretched;

‘Welcome Lilibet, my love,’ he whispers in her ear.

‘Now we’ll never be apart – we’ll be happy here.’

I love your face

I love you wearing red

Because it brings out your facial expressions.

I love your eyes

Because they make you look really old.

I love your dress

Because it looks like my mum’s curtains.

And I really love your scent

Because it smells a little bit like cheese.

I absolutely love it when people try hard to flirt, and it just falls flat. And I don’t mean bad chat up lines, I mean lines that are probably more likely to offend than flatter (unintentionally, obviously).

I would far rather a guy tell me I smell like cheese because he likes that fragrance than some cheesy small talk (excuse the pun).

Much Love

Rachel xx