We went to the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood earlier in the summer and had a very pleasant afternoon in the sun. Yes, the sun shone, a rare event this year. We didn’t chat with the Queen but did pass the time with some friends we bumped into. I didn’t eat the cucumber sandwiches but did procure a plate of gluten free goodies – the organisers have clearly done this sort of thing once or twice before. I didn’t wear a hat and noone seemed to mind. I didn’t take any photographs because GPD made me leave the camera in the car; after all, the invitation firmly forbade cameras. We enjoyed the bands and marvelled at their cunning scheme, involving flags and flag poles, that allowed them to coordinate their playing from opposite sides of the park. There was pageantry and there were spectacular outfits. All in all, a very pleasant, very British afternoon.
And then, towards the end of the school holidays, GP2’s football team went off to Edinburgh to hobnob with royalty. They’ve been working on a programme with Edinburgh University – Educated Pass – which seems to be designed to persuade the boys to work hard at school and pass their exams at the same time as playing football. Fair enough.
Anyhow, the Duke of Edinburgh, currently Chancellor of the University, came to watch their training session and chatted to the team afterwards. I say “chatted” but GP2 assures me that he was the only one who could understand what the Duke was saying; GP2, after all, has had practice with his grandfather’s accent. If the boys couldn’t understand the Duke, you can bet your life the Duke had absolutely no idea what the boys were saying. Translation was a constant issue for us whilst Grandad was still alive. East Lothian accents combined with high pitched voices produce a sound entirely alien to English speakers of a certain generation.
Still, the conversation didn’t sound too challenging for either side. “How often do you train?” And “Where do you train?”. The piece de resistance, however, was “And can you read and write?”. I’m afraid I can imagine the looks of bemusement that must have passed between the boys when that came their way. It was the source of great mirth once they got home and will, I think, provide the enduring memory of their encounter with royalty.