AUTUMN in Lush Places and our thoughts turn to sunnier times as we plan a two-day bank holiday extravaganza to mark the diamond jubilee of the Queen (God bless her) at the beginning of June.
Shall we have another street party or will we have to contend with gatecrashers from neighbouring villages eating all the food without bringing any to share?
Or the wealthy woman in the big house who made a salad for the communal table and then asked for £5 reimbursement?
Will we run the gauntlet of the niggled businessman who insisted we hadn’t advertised a road closure order and then drove headlong into a row of trestle tables just to make a point?
And please God, don’t let Mr Grigg and the fella from down the road do The Full Monty routine when the DJ at the open air disco in the square plays You Can Leave Your Hat On. There are only so many times you need to see a plastic bowler with a Union Jack design strategically placed on an all-too-familiar torso.
But we’ll have to have a beacon. We’ve got to have a beacon. The last one was chopped down by mistake for firewood. And just as we think about making a new one out of a telegraph pole and a brazier, a letter comes through from the ‘pageantmaster’ for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons.
Apparently, 2,012 beacons are going to be lit throughout the UK, Channel Islands and the Commonwealth to mark the jubilee.
He says there will be bonfire beacons and ‘church tower’ beacons, all lit between 10pm and 10.30pm on Monday 4 June.
“The Church Tower Beacon is ideal for Church Towers, Historic Houses and buildings with flat roofs,’”says Bruno Peek OBE MVO OPR. (The capital letters are his, by the way. I think it is meant to add a sense of dignity and importance to the occasion).
He continues: “Locations to date for this type of Beacon are, HM Tower of London, Hillsborough Castle, Lambeth Palace, Palace of Holyrood House, Windsor Castle, Killyleagh Castle, St James’s Palace and Bishopthrope Palace.”
So no churches then. Just castles and palaces. Shame it’s not called the Palace Beacon.
Anyway, Mr Peak (OBE MVO OPR more guff) goes on: “This Beacon can be linked to a celebration event in a town or village hall so is ideal for the thousands of churches, town, parish and community councils throughout the nation, providing them with a simple, but cost effective event.”
Excited? Like to get your hands on one? Mr Peek (OBE MVO OPR etc, etc, VPL, ROFL, LMFAO) helpfully points you in the right direction: “To ensure delivery of this Beacon by the 25th May 2012, orders for purchase should be placed direct with Bullfinch Gas Equipment by not later than 12th March 2012.”
Except he doesn’t tell you how much they cost.
Hold fast, a quick internet search reveals the cost of a Church Beacon to be £299 plus VAT and £10 carriage. Bargain.
On the other hand, I think we’ll be sticking with the telegraph pole brazier and a few Union Jack bowlers to stoke the flames. Can’t wait.