Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 21, 2011

Thursday, 20th October 2011 – a day to reflect on future plans, and the Queen in Australia.

That was in fact how I treated today – another beautiful Spring day, which despite becoming a little overcast towards the late afternoon, and in fact raining a little tonight, remained fine for most of the day. Encouraging for a walk  – something that I have not done as much as I wanted over the past few weeks [that all changes now] –  and some much needed time in the garden this morning. Didn’t actually drive anywhere today, decided I didn’t need to, although Susie took my ‘new’ car for a drive when she got home from work later this afternoon. Wanted to see how it felt, compared to her car!

We have the Queen and Prince Phillip in Australia at the moment – they arrived in Canberra yesterday. I think it is the Queen’s 15th visit to Australia since her coronation in 1953 [or thereabouts], and one imagines, that being in her mid 80s [and Phillip aged 90], it will be her last visit to this country. Interestingly, many reports today describe her as Britain’s Queen, even though still officially the Queen of the Commonwealth of Nations, including Australia, as this report [from the Bangkok Post of all papers] shows from Wednesday – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was greeted by hundreds of flag-waving schoolchildren and a 21-gun salute as she began her 16th and possibly last visit to her realm Down Under on Wednesday. The queen, who will open a Commonwealth leaders meeting in Perth later this month, touched down at 0640 GMT in Canberra, where she and husband Prince Philip were met by Australia’s Welsh-born Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Cheers went up from those crowding the tarmac as the 85-year-old monarch descended the steps of a British Airways Boeing-777, flying her Australian royal standard, to be greeted by Governor-General Quentin Bryce Bryce, the monarchy’s representative in Australia and the first woman to take the role, presented the Queen to Gillard — the nation’s first female leader and a sworn republican, who shook her hand but did not curtsey. A scarlet-clad military band played “God Save the Queen” and a 21-gun salute rang out as the Queen — wearing teal with a matching hat — inspected a guard of army, navy and airforce officers. Margaret Cunningham, the first person to present Queen Elizabeth with flowers on her inaugural tour 57 years ago as a young child, again had the honour of offering the first bouquet, a clutch of native flowers.  “That was a long time ago!” the monarch quipped as Cunningham shared her story.’ 

Somehow, the crowds of thousands that packed the streets of Australian cities and towns during those early visits many years ago will not be repeated in 2011. Yet I think that despite the progressive hostility towards the Royal Family and Australia’s continuing ties with the monarchy, that ‘hostility’ does not generally apply to the Queen herself, who is still greatly admired and respected in this country for the manner in which she has undertaken her role over more than half a century. That’s my take on things anyway!

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (C) inspects the guard of honour upon her arrival in Canberra on October 19, 2011 at the start of a 10-day tour.

 For a change, I had a Thursday night with no meetings – was able to watch a couple of series on the ABC. I read, and commented in these pages, a year or so ago, the book ‘The Slap’. Tonight the third episode of the TV version of the book was screened. Strangely enough, I’m not enjoying the film quite as much – the production, acting, and storyline is excellent, and no doubt it will be highly recommended eventually by all the experts. However, I’m finding it a bit ‘too much in the face’ as far as some of the material is concerned, eg, there are numerous vivid sex scenes, and depictions of even simply ‘verbal’ violence and language, which I suppose in many circles are par for the course – and yet, I’m finding them disturbing. So much so, that on a couple of occasions tonight, I actually got up and walked away from the TV for a few minutes, and did something else, until a particular was done with!  Oddly enough, the series which follows – ‘Crownies’, which deals  with a legal firm of lawyers etc, and a  range of court cases, probably has similar scenes and storylines from time to time,  but that is all interwoven into more lightheartedness, and an occasional touch of humor  – there is no humor [or even many aspects of humanity] apparent in The Slap. Perhaps that is the difference as to why one show disturbs me, the other, I enjoy very much!!



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