In fact, it’s actually out of focus and my excuses are: one, I was using my old pocket camera on full telephoto; two, I was shooting between the heads of the media gathered in front of me and; three, where I was stood was a bit of rugby scrum.
As I mentioned on Saturday, we were invited to the official opening of the new Manchester Hospitals as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations.
It meant an early start as we had to be in our designated position before 10am when the site was locked down by the security forces. In other words, we had to hang around outside for an hour or so, but fortunately, the sun was shining.
In any event, it gave us an opportunity to watch the last-minute preparations. If you click on the photo on the right, you’ll see someone busy with a vacuum cleaner on the stage. I know she thinks the world smells of fresh paint, but I can’t imagine the queen inspecting the carpets.
We were also able to watch the men in black scanning the crowd with binoculars and no doubt with rifles at the ready.
One of them leapt out of the back of a van and stalked to the entrance. He was dressed head to foot in black, combat trousers, shirts sleeves rolled up and wearing a black peaked cap. At least I assume he was security and not someone butch going for the Village People look.
Mr and Mrs Queen had travelled up by train and had obviously got special dispensation from Railtrack because theirs arrived ahead of time, so most of the crowd was taken by surprise when the convoy sped past ten minutes early.
I took the photo of the queen’s car on the left to show the bonnet ornament of a polo player. I did wonder why she had taken the train if her car was being driven here anyway, or perhaps the train has a special car transporter wagon.
When the royal party finally re-emerged from their tour of the hospital and climbed on to the stage to the strains of a piece specially composed for the event and played by a quartet from the Royal Northern College of Music.
The chairman of the hospital got the ball rolling with a (fortunately) brief speech before the main act came on stage. The queen grabbed the mic and shouted, ‘Hello Manchester!’ before pulling the string to unveil the glass plaques.
I may have dreamt those last bits.
In fact, it was a very pleasant day, not so much for the visiting royalty, but because I got to see many former colleagues, some who I hadn’t seen in years. Plus the satisfaction of a job seen through to completion.