Going for Gold

Crack of doom. Tom and I meet Rose and Si at the station for our trek up to St James’s Palace where Rose is due to receive her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. To add a little challenge to the day there is a tube strike, but Tom, bless him, has brought a rucksack to carry our ‘car to bar’ shoes. The socks and trainers don’t do much for my outfit, but at least I can get round London without breaking a heel.

Arrive Victoria in record time. Typical. It’s pouring down with rain. Double typical. Si shields Rose with a golfing umbrella and we hoof it to Maccy D’s for a McWee and some essential nutrients like coffee, doughnuts and McMuffins. Greatly restored we head for St James’s Palace, spotting Seb Coe along the way... Perhaps he’s the person dishing out the awards? Arrive St James’s Palace. Hop around changing shoes and part company with the men. Only one guest per young person, sadly. We’ve been told to bring two forms of ID but Rose and I have a collection between us, just in case someone finds an excuse not to let us in. Si, who is very laid back, thinks we are hilarious. Much shuffling and queuing follows. After a slight worry about hats I only spot one hat in the queue and its owner looks a tad self-conscious.

We’re in! Hordes of young people are here to collect their Gold Awards today and we’ve been directed to the Waterloo Room which has rather tired red flocked wallpaper and some dreary oils of battle scenes. The young people sit in four groups of about twenty-five whilst the adoring parents are placed opposite. It soon becomes apparent that the biggest part of this award presentation is about getting the right bums on the right seats with no distractions like refreshments to make sure they stay there. A quick glance around shows that this is Stiff Upper Lip territory full of serious mothers in sensible clothes... Thank God, I reigned in my inner WAG and wore my multi-purpose smart occasion outfit! Whilst waiting for the action I have a quiet moment of prideiosity and admire my beautiful, talented daughter (one of a pair of beautiful, talented daughters, I might add). I then make the mistake of asking the woman on my right who her child is. Rose recalled afterwards, seeing the other mother’s mouth move for a very long time and watching me slowly glaze over. Honestly, some people have no control over their prideiosity!

Our celeb, who will present the awards, is announced, and there are a few puzzled faces. Undeterred, Blue’s Antony Costa (exactly!) presses the flesh, winks and says ‘Well done, you guys!’ a lot, before a flunkey gives us the two minute warning that the Duke of Edinburgh is about to arrive. It’s his 88th birthday but we are given strict instructions not to mention it, nor, horror, are we to give presents (sadly, I forgot mine). Then a small, slight man enters with room with a couple of security guards (in case any of us lunge at him with a birthday kiss, I suppose) and a flurry of cameras. He booms ‘Anyone get lorst?’ at each group in turn and exchanges a few pleasantries and then it’s all over.

Rose and I squeeze the most from our visit by trotting off to the Ladies (I don’t think they were the ones the Queen uses) and lurking about for a bit in case one of the other groups got a better celeb (sorry, Antony). Last year Ben Fogle was about so we feel duty bound to make sure he’s not here today. At the very least we are hoping for a fine figure of a rugby player and feel Olly Barkley would have made a good choice. Fortunately we have our own hunks outside who have been amusing themselves with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery. Reunited, we pose for photos and then walk to Greek Street to mark the occasion at L’Escargot. I love L’Escargot, the food’s sublime, the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are incredibly professional. My happiness levels soar even higher as we sit down and raise a glass to Rose. Well done, my lovely daughter!

And finally...
In addition to my two daughters, I am privileged to have two stepsons and it’s Stepson Two’s birthday today. Happy birthday, dear Tom, may your dreams come true.


What a great day to remember! Congratulations all round. I don't know who Antony Costa is either but your daughter got the gong - that's what matters.
Jude said…
What a wonderful tribute to Rose (and your other siblings),
I love giving my 2 what they deserve- loads of love and encouragement.
Glad you all enjoyed the day! Antony whocares?
JJ Beattie said…
Ditto on the Antony Costa thing, but brilliant congratulations to your daughter. What a very exciting day.
Calico Kate said…
Goodness what a fun packed day! Well done the daughter. No mistaking just whose daughter either!
Pondside said…
Wow - don't you know Chris......you and Rose were the real Celebs.
You look fabulous and Rose is gorgeous - well done!
Edward said…
Congratulations to you and daughter. Sounds like you had a ripping time.
Lane said…
Your prideiosity (quite rightly) shines through. You both look stunning. Glad you had a fab day.

Congratulations to Rose!
Preseli Mags said…
Tsk! Am I the only one so far who has actually heard of Antony Costa? (Should I admit this? Anyway...) That's a lovely photograph. I'm glad to hear you had a great day. Congratulations all round. xx
Sally's Chateau said…
Sheeeesh as dear Milla would say, look at those two glam birds what a terrific day.
ChrisH said…
Rosie - so true!

Jude, I think there was a room full of thoughts like that on Wednesday.

JJ, thank you.

Kate, yes - poor Rose, the shape of things to come!

Pondside, I'm blushing, but, yes, Rose IS gorgeous :) !

Ta, Edward, we did indeed. Despite the lack of a satisfactory celeb!

Lane, stunned more like! Poor Rose has to cope with the tired old vision of how she will end up in a million years time when she looks at me!

Mags, you said it! I think that no one else is admitting to knowing who Antony Costa is - or you are the only one with your fingers on the pulse now that Blue have reformed!

Sally, get away with you!
mountainear said…
What a day for you both to remember.Lovely photograph too.

And what's wrong with you blog hat?
Milla said…
lovely post,CH, and great smiley photo - no doubting maternity! And exactly! to Antony Costa. How utterly bizarre. Do you suppose a focus group was involved, and a list for "Young People"??
Cait O'Connor said…
Congratulations to your daughter Chris, very well done.
Lovely picture of you both. Many congrats
LittleBrownDog said…
Wow, Chris - you look gorgeous! Both of you, that is. What a great mum and what a proud day for you both. Congratulations all round. (Was he really small and slight? The queen must be absolutely TINY then. Can't help remembering that pic of her with Michelle Obama...)
Pipany said…
Oh well done Rose and happy birthday Tom. What a special occasion for you both Chris. I would have been howling! x
Exmoorjane said…
Er, who? Anything to do with coffee? But huge congrats to your daughter - I started DoE Award but didn't get very far (coincided with discovering pubs and boys I fear)...
Love the idea of you lurking around waiting for a better celeb! Poor man....
Debs said…
What a fabulous day you had, and thanks for telling us about it.

I love the photo of you and Rose. You both look very glam. x
ChrisH said…
Moutainear... you've no idea how tempted I was by my blog hat!

Milla - thanks - it's not a good photo if you've got a teeth phobia though!

Cait, thank you, you are fuelling my prideiosity!

SBS, hope all is well with you and yours.

LBD, you are too kind - only Rose is full of gorgeousity. Yes - very small and the Queen is truly petite.

Pip, thanks for b'day wishes, too. No, you had to have a very stiff upper lip in that room! And some how having Mr Costa winking and 'you guys'ing stopped me feeling too emotional!

Jane, remember those D of E expeditions were mixed... As for lurking around, well it had to be done! You never know who else might have been there!

Debs, that is very kind of you, but it's a lovely reminder of a happy day.
Flowerpot said…
What a fabulous day, Chris! So exciting and well done Rose. One to go down in history! And Rose looks so like you!
ChrisH said…
Fp, thank you, yes indeed, we won't forget that one!
toady said…
What a fabulous day and one to remember to tell the grandchildren.
Sorry to be late posting this but for some reason I couldn't access your blog yesterday.
BTW you looked very glam!
ChrisH said…
Toady, Aw! Thanks for you comment. Shucks! You're right about the access thing - I think it was the Playmobil people wot done it (those little films) when their site was being maintained once before, mine went down. (Not that I'm any kind of expert!)
BT said…
Oh what a proud and wonderful day you had. I rather like Antony!! He was on some celeb programme, can't remember which though. He seemed like a good guy though.

Super photo of you and Rose.
Oh Chris, sorry I have only just seen your post, trying to catch up.

Many congratulations to your daughter on her Award, absolutely splendid.!

Happy Belated Birthday too to your grandson Tom.

What a really lovely photo of you Chris with your daughter.


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