By day your average procrastinator and university student, by night a British Red Cross volunteer! Due to health reasons I’m usually only able to help around the office but I have done a number of training courses including first aid, which with my continued clutziness is a godsend, and humanitarian education. Every five years or so there is a raffle for volunteers and staff alike to go to a tea party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. And this year, I was one of the winners!
My dad also won the draw, so at ungodly o’clock
7am for those who wish to know on Wednesday morning I was awoken by him with the saving grace of coffee and the long but enjoyable day began. I spent far too long travelling but it was totally worth it. We drove from Prestatyn (my home town) to Crewe to catch the train. We arrived fairly early and so, I was treated to lunch at an Italian restaurant. I have since looked up the recipe for Tagliatelle Alfredo as it was delicious!
I spent the afternoon wishing I had brought sunglasses as it was a beautiful clear day. A stark contrast from when my mum attended five years ago and it rained continually throughout the event.
After queuing for a surprisingly short amount of time we were ushered through the palace itself and out onto the grounds. The tea party was held in the palace gardens, which you were encouraged to roam. There was a lake with an island in the middle rumoured to have swans
though we never saw any, a beautiful rose garden, a summer house. Much to my amusement and the amusement of many other guests, there was a life-size wicker Corgi inside the summer house! The whole garden was surrounded by pathways and in the centre was a vast expanse of lawn on which the tea tents and bands sat.
On the subject of tea tents, the nibbles offered were delicious. I think I had one of every kind of cake, from the tiny scones and coffee éclairs, through the strawberry tarts to this strange chocolate mousse type square with a crunchy caramel bit in it (they called it a chocolate and praline croustillant). There were also finger sandwiches, including the refreshing but a little weird cucumber and mint, and tiny Coronation chicken wraps.
At 4 o’clock people began forming two huge corridors from the palace down to the Royal Tea Tent in front of the lake. Prince Charles and Princes Alexandra travelled down this pathway stopping to talk to various people and to shake their hands. I was nowhere near the front thanks to the crush of bodies, so I was not one of these people but I did manage to get a good look at them. For some reason, Prince Charles reminded me of my grandad on my mother’s side. I think it might have been the nose…
It was a brilliant day with gorgeous weather which I am very honoured to have attended. If I’m lucky, maybe my name will get pulled again next time!