All over the country, in communities in villages, towns and cities, events have been held to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday today. And the Itchen Valley has been no exception. In addition to the Easton Street Party and the Celebratory Service, upon which I have already posted, there were three tea parties this afternoon in the Valley: in Martyr Worthy, Itchen Abbas and in Avington. Each party showed the different character of the individual villages, showed the beating heart of three amazing communities just as the Easton Street Party did yesterday. Each party was totally brilliant and great fun and a lot of effort was put into organising them.
We do so much as a parish together, that we forget what good fun it is to meet up just as a village – getting to know our near neighbours and, in particular, those who have moved in recently. And its not often that all of the villages have a separate event on the same day. Quite challenging for those of us in the clergy who were determined to attend all the events! I don’t think I have ever drunk so many cups of tea and I am completely hyper from all the delicious cakes.
I started at Martyr Worthy at the Pinder’s house. We had been told to bring hats or crowns and most of us did.
Reminiscent of the Martyr Worthy plant show, a number of ladies wore some incredible flowery creations.
..and it was not just the ladies who showed their creativity
Not quite sure which were more striking, the hats or the cakes.
There was a fiendishly difficult quiz composed by Will Parry by which we were to match photographs of the Queen’s visits over her long reign with the countries in which the photograph was taken. Really excellent.
Leaving my wife and mother-in-law at Martyr Worthy, I got on my bike and pedalled over to the next tea party at Itchen Abbas village hall.
A totally different atmosphere, but just as much fun. Lots of small children were watching a magician and making a lot of noise. The citizens of Itchen Abbas were spread between village hall and garden having great fun.
Soon afterwards David Parker and the band struck up – always good fun and highly entertaining. And more tea and cake – this time some amazing red white and blue meringues, clearly a speciality of Itchen Abbas!
After a while it was time to move on to Avington to complete the final stage of the Tour de Itchen Valley (I must get a bit fitter…)
This was different again. Small and intimate. A group of friends and neighbours chatting, drinking tea and eating even more cake….
I think that if HM The Queen knew about all these celebrations, she would be delighted. Faith and service have been key themes in the Queen’s Christmas broadcasts. Our village communities are important and the relationships we build with our neighbours equally so. There are so many opportunities to serve others which arise in our communities and if we can learn anything from the Queen’s reign, it would be to be encourage us to recognise these opportunities and act on them.
God save the Queen!