Failing to arrive at the Thames before dawn didn't help me get a good place to see the river pageant, but if I had I think I would have been moved on from my hoped for place by the Timepiece at St.Katherine's lock. I got there to find it firmly blocked off, and moving towards the Tower of London embankment I found the gates closed, a well dressed group waiting to be let in, I learn from them that only those with an invitation were allowed beyond, and lo behold, an official sort of person began to address them, by the size of this group it was clear they weren't going to be crowded. Thousands of people will have been denied a chance to see the Pageant so a few chosen ones could do so in comfort. I thought this was supposed to be a public/peoples event? It certainly didn't take this to keep people clear of the saluting battery at the west end of this place. Tower bridge was of course raised and the media were there in force as I expected, the public offered one of the few video screens I saw but wasn't prepared to struggle forwards to. Further along the river exclusion abounded, crowd control I understand, privileged access less so. People came in the night and probably arrived with a milk bottle to pee in were surely the ones who did best!
Readers comments on the BBC News website tell of similar exclusions on the south side of the river, someone in Shad Thames was asked for a ticket he never had. Trying to show a million plus people something in an environment not set up for it can't be done, but I think everyone should have had a fair crack of the whip. I had to stand one footed on a plastic traffic cone to get my few seconds of river footage, it didn't take my weight long. I know the rain clouds didn't scare many off, but I think it was all a bit ignorant of the many who opened a brolly the moment it rained, lot of anger and argument breaking out among the affected, this doesn't seem to have been shown by the media who concentrated on what went right. A veteran of Trafalgar square at New years eve, I ought to have known better perhaps and watched all this at home? Next time theres a Jubilee Pageant on the river Thames I'll do that!
AAWWEE..cheer up, check out my latest painting, ...'The Blue Ensign'