I’m aware my reputation as one of the world’s worst humbuggers is quite well known in several circles, online and off. However, I believe over the years I’ve exhausted writing about the subject and the reasons why I dislike this season of not-so-good-will so much. This year sees no change in the manic hype which builds daily as soon as summer is done and dusted, or my attitude towards it. Attempting to ignore it is virtually impossible, but I will continue to try and appreciate each day for its uniqueness and alternative opportunities, rather than spending them planning for one day of the year which is so highly overrated, overpriced and over the top.
I’m conscious too of my well established grumpy old woman status, which I’m not particularly proud of, but does allow me the knowledge people who consider me a friend genuinely like me for who I am, warts and all. I’ve done and still do some stupid and foolish things, but at the same time I don’t suffer fools gladly. I’m not a political animal, a fanatic of any particular group or a bigot of any kind I hope. Rather late in life I now try not to judge others without first walking that mile in their shoes and attempt to see all sides of situations, as well as respecting the views of others.
But, I now believe I’m going to be exposed on yet another front as a killjoy, misery guts, wet blanket, spoilsport, party pooper or any other set of derogatory adjectives others may choose. You see, after the frenzy of the humbug season is over, I have a feeling something else will continue to keep mass hysteria at its highest level. The sigh of relief I usually breathe once the New Year has allowed life as I know it to resume, will I fear, be delayed by at least another five months. Why? Well, for anyone who has been absent from the planet, there’s going to be a royal wedding.
Well, whoopdedoo, great googly moogly, bottoms up, woot woot and eureka. I appreciate there will be many who believe this to be the best news since England won the football world cup in 1966 and hold nothing against people who get all warm and fuzzy at the thought of what they consider a romantic occasion. I confess I’m not a royalist and am as indifferent to any news or scandal regarding their lives as I am towards any other so-called celebrity. Those who love it all are entitled to enjoy themselves, but I for one am not looking forward to repeatedly being subjected to every intricate detail of the event, who will be invited, what flowers the bridesmaids will be carrying, how many tiers the cake will have or what colour underpants William will wear.
I’m aware of the positives our royal family bring to the British economy and reputation. I can also understand the envy of other nations as regards our history and monarchy. But in reality, there is little difference between the blood that pumps around inside a privileged royal and that of the homeless busker in a London underground. And as my maternal grandmother used to say, they all make a smell when they go to the toilet. People tell me I wouldn’t like the life of a royal, but as I’ve never sampled it I don’t really know. I could certainly tolerate never having to do any cleaning, laundry, ironing, supermarket shopping, cooking, washing up or having any financial worries.
I also confess I’m not a great one for weddings, although I remember a few I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I wasn't there to see my only son get married, but that’s a long, involved story for another time. I often wish I hadn’t been present at my own, but again that’s another story. I can’t pretend I believe it’s the best day of anyone’s life or that I think there should be no expenses spared. Most young couples need help setting up a home, if indeed they can afford one, and it seems more practical to me to save any excess finances for that, rather than scuba diving in the Caribbean to exchange marital vows on the seabed, or whatever the latest trend is.
The royal family and the Middleton’s may be generous enough to be reputedly paying for what will undoubtedly be the most expensive wedding of the century, but I’m not sure how they sleep at night or justify the cost, when the majority of the population are struggling to even afford a simple Christmas. It's rumoured the security alone will cost around twenty million pounds of taxpayer’s money and in times when public spending and benefits are being dramatically cut, pensions are being delayed and redundancies hitting an all time high, it seems distinctly obscene. In the light of the last royal wedding and the ensuing disasters it would seem more appropriate to keep the whole thing low key. After all, how many decades will it be before William is actually crowned king? His pensioner father hasn’t had a look in yet and if Elizabeth has inherited her mother's genes, he could be in for a long wait.
My gut instincts tell me the forthcoming wedding is a ploy to lift the nation and beyond out of the doom and gloom of a severe recession. Let’s keep the masses happy and pacify the disgruntled by tacking on an extra day off work to the May Day bank holiday. It may be a time for street parties, sending tacky gifts and cards to the already over-indulged, investing in shoddy souvenirs made in Asia and an excuse to get totally rat-arsed in the name of patriotism, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who finds the whole idea pretty distasteful. When the cost of Camilla’s monthly hairdo is more than the average person’s annual income then I think we have a right to protest.
A royal wedding may inspire many, but a cause for great celebrations? Tell that to Big Issue seller trying to offload the last of his magazines on a freezing cold night, so he can afford a cup of coffee. Tell that to the students faced with the news their fees to study in order to secure a decent job are about to triple. Tell that to the young couples, working all hours, yet still unable to raise the capital for a deposit on a tiny property. Tell that to the unemployed, the millions facing tax demands they can’t afford due to computer error, the families forced into debt to pay for residential care for elderly relatives and the majority of the British public who are struggling just to pay everyday bills.
No, I won’t be glued to the television on April 29th 2011. In fact, if the shops were open I’d rather go out and do my Christmas shopping.
Let's get married
I love and I want to stay with you
Let's get married
Have kids and grow old and grey with you
Let's get married.
Let’s Get Married – The Proclaimers.