Well, the state opening of parliament has come and gone without my seeing anything but a couple of photos of Prince Charles in naval uniform. Since the queen seems to have managed an awful lot of fancy occasions without having put on military fancy dress, why do the male members of the family always seem to need to dress up and display a chestful of medals? Wouldn’t a smart suit do just as well?
In fact, the whole business of Black Rod banging on the door to request permission for the monarch to enter seems a bit over the top. As for sitting the crown on the throne next to the heir apparent, well, it all smacks of empty ceremony to me. But I suppose we have to have a bit of pomp and circumstance.
And now it’s all over for a bit longer, until the next time. It must be quite difficult being Charles and hearing journalist banging on about his being the longest ever standing Price of Wales. But that’s just the way it is. They seem to be a long-lived family - it must be all the people singing about it in the national anthem!
Another opening ceremony I didn’t see was the Mayor of Dartford cutting the ribbon as they opened a new food bank. Someone posted it on social media - smiling, well fed faces as the camera snapped the moment, as if it was a new establishment to be proud of, rather than a symbol of national shame. Elsewhere, there’s a Tory MP reported as saying that food banks are not much used in this country and that all we need of for people to learn to cook good meals from scratch. Apparently if that lesson were learnt, people could manage on 30p a day! I wonder which planet he lives on!
Meanwhile, we just get on with things. Some things work fine. My small grandson and I walked down to the crossroads to meet his big sister off the bus late this morning. We then took a stroll along the Donkey Line, the small boy stopping to examine everything until he finally gave in and accepted a ride in his buggy. It was a splendid late morning walk.
Some things work less smoothly. My granddaughter has just had confirmation of finance for her university fees next year - in other words a student loan. Unfortunately, none of her advisors from college last year advised her that she also needed to apply for maintenance financing. So yesterday she spent 45 minutes on hold, trying to speak to someone about it as she the system wouldn’t let her back in to apply online. She’s still not sorted.
There are some advantages to being an older person!
As the exam season looms, I was reading about modern pupils state of nervous tension. Apparently teachers have observed high levels of anxiety among pupils in the run-up to GCSEs and A-Levels, with reports of panic attacks, angry outbursts, self-harm and disengagement among students who will be the first to sit examinations in three years due to the pandemic.
Goodness, today’s young people are less resilient than they appear when we see them out and sophisticatedly about. Some of it must come from parental pressure, that push to achieve. I don’t remember finding exams as stressful as all that when ai was a youngster. Were we prepared for it better with twice yearly exam-based assessment throughout our school life? External exams were just more of the same for most of us. Do schools not still have those yearly exams?
Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!