Hello Manchester!

If you click on my portrait of the Queen waving (left), you will see that I have cleverly used a gentle soft focus to flatter her.

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.

And that was about it. HRH turned to the crowd and raised her voice again, ‘One has been the Queen – you have been amazing!’, while holding her arms aloft, her fingers giving the peace sign.

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.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • Pudding 24th March 2012

    I’m so happy that the weather behaved itself for you. Okay Elizabeth Regina was wearing a dusky pink number but what was Mrs Parrots wearing? That should have been the main focus of this blogpost.

  • Bob Brague 24th March 2012

    Her Majesty is lovely as ever, if a bit long in the tooth. Soft, gently-focused pink is definitely her color. And just who is the gentleman with her? Did Philip have something more important to do? And why does she always wear gloves?

    I am full of questions today.

    Y.P. need not comment on that last sentence.

  • Pleb Pudding 24th March 2012

    Okay, I will comment on the sentence before then. She wears gloves because…
    a) she is a reserve lollipop lady who may have to step into the breach should a full-time lollipop lady become suddenly ill.
    or b) her hands are exceptionally hairy – like a werewolf.
    or c) she doesn’t want to catch a contagious disease from one of the plebs she has the dubious pleasure of ruling.
    or d) All of the above.

  • Katherine 24th March 2012

    Sorry Mr Parrot, I know I should be making some comment on the content if this post, but ever since you said the Queen would be opening the new hospital, all I could think of was you as part of a line-up aka Mr Bean, and all the silly things that might have happened, of that ilk…

  • Mr Parrot 25th March 2012

    Come on YP, everyone knows that she wears gloves to hide her alien, repitian claws.

    Katherine: I know exactly the episode you mean, but I’m happy to say that I managed to get through the whole thing without nutting the queen.


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