Tales from the riverbank

The queue has gathered its own momentum drawing people both because they want to be there and because they fear that not being there is something they wouldn’t want to live with. There is no doubt in my mind that David Beckham was in the queue for positive reasons.

But it is cold right now, On my boat in Hurley, where I have spent the night it was 4 degrees this morning. Tucked under a duvet is one thing, wondering the banks of the Thames is another. Those who have been outside and on their feet for getting on a day, will have suffered much.

And the current situation suggests that the original estimate that it will take up to 30 hours to get to St Stephen’s Hall looks accurate.

This is now looking not just a pilgrimage, but a penance

Getting to the end of the line was “surreal” and “extremely emotional“,said BBC presenter Victoria Fritz, who waited 14 hours in queue to see the Queen lying in state “it was markedly different from watching the events unfold on television”.

She said the queue becomes “more purposeful and sombre the closer and closer you get“.

It feels like the final act of the Queen was to bring people together.”

I am sure that every person in the queue has her or his individual story. I am sure some of the stories of those who are waiting to queue will be sad stories.  The momentum is sucking in many people who are travelling in hope and not in preparation,

And the possibility of not joining the queue or of joining the queue too late will be preying on the minds of many thinking of travelling.

So can I share my thoughts as someone who walked  from  Southwark Park to Westminster beside the queue. The queue is saying what you are feeling and saying it for you.  You do not need to feel bad not being in the queue and you are not disrespecting the Queen or letting yourself down, because you did not do your penance.

You can do your penance otherways. You can read this wonderful account of what it was like and then give all your energy to making the world around you a little better.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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