It’s time for me to to break my long silence on a sensitive topic. Loyal followers will be acutely aware that I was overlooked this summer in my quest to be the United Kingdom’s next Poet Laureate. I had hoped that my close association with Her Majesty the Queen, living, as I then did just across the river from her, would have swung the decision in my favour but sadly it was not to be. It seems that, despite the commitment I demonstrated to producing verse for royal occasions my little ditties were not quite what Her Majesty or the lackies surrounding her were seeking.
I thought the country could do with cheering up a bit but they obviously didn’t agree. Now that we have a comedian for our Prime Minister, and a majority of the country seem sufficiently entertained to want him returned to office, I assume we bards have to strike a more serious note.
I can not pretend that the slight was unexpected but frankly the rejection was harder to take than I’d expected. It’s rather like applying for a job you weren’t sure you wanted. You try to tell yourself you don’t care when they don’t want you but there’s something about the act of applying that convinces you you wanted the job even if any first you weren’t sure.
I thought my collected royal poems in the aptly titled, Begging Your Pardon : Please Can I Be Laureate? might have swung things but sadly they didn’t seem to. The volume is still available on Amazon for anyone who may have missed it but frankly it’s time for me to move on and focus on other things. Hopefully there literary juices will start to flow again and I’lll be back to myself in 2020 but my association with the royal family is I’m sad to say at an end.
It’s with some regret that I dissociate myself from royal associations but, given my namesake Prince Andrew’s single handed attempt to ensure our name “Andrew’ will not make the top ten boy’s names for 2020, it’s probably the right time.
I think I will be better off foregoing royal patronage and striking out on my own. To reinforce the separation we have sold our house across the river from Her Majesty and moved to a new property down river in Maidenhead where I shall be licking my wounds in the parliamentary constituency of our former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Theresa May, who knows a little about rejection herself. I’m not quite certain what comes next but watch this space for news of new beginnings.
I’ve finally had a job offer from Buckingham Palace! I’m a little surprised and confused because it’s not quite the job I’d hoped for. You’ll know I hope that I have offered myself as the next Poet Laureate. Sadly there has been no news on that front but another opportunity has come up.
I’ve received correspondence, via an agency I forgot I’d ever registered with, offering me a job in ticket sales. Slightly left field but maybe Her Majesty is dropping a hint I need to get a foot in the door and work my way up? I’d have preferred ‘fast track’ given my advanced years but you have to start somewhere. I’ll share the details here in case any one else is interested.
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It seems that the would be Laureate Mr. Andrew Green was put out that One did not include a ‘shout out’, as he chooses to put it, for his book Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate? in one’s Christmas Message. One has apologised of course but a few words here seemed the least one could do to make up.
2018 has been a year of centenaries. The Royal Air Force celebrated its hundredth anniversary with a memorable fly-past demonstrating a thrilling unity of purpose and execution. We owe them and all our armed services our deepest gratitude and 100 years on from the ending of World War 1 we should not forget the poets who brought the horrors of war to life for us. Who can forget Wilfred Owen who died so tragically days before the armistice? We recall that his mother received the telegram informing her of his death onArmistice Day as the church bells in Shrewsbury were ringing out in celebration of the wars end. One likes poetry and will be putting in a word for Mr. Green to be the next Poet Laureate. It would be handy for one with him living so close to Windsor. One’s there most week-ends and never knows when a quick couplet might be called for.
It has been a busy year for my family. With two weddings and two babies and another child expected soon. I loved Mr. Green’s poem for Harry and Meghan’s wedding though it was a little disrespectful here and there and I have warned him to pull his socks off. We don’t do the ‘off with his head’ bit any more but we still have standards. Harry enjoyed it but we know about his sense of humour and the trouble it gets him into. Meghan wasn’t awfully sure; a bit to British for her one expects.
It all helps to keep a grandmother well occupied. We have had other celebrations too, including the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales.I forgot to buy him a card and have heard about nothing else all year. Charles thinks one is becoming forgetful and should think of retiring.
Some cultures believe a long life brings wisdom. I’d like to think so. Perhaps, part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life’s baffling paradoxes such as why everything one enjoys eating or drinking is so bad for one. One has eaten so much this Christmas and would like to go on a diet in the New Year but all the beastly banquets make that so difficult for one.
In April the Commonwealth Heads of Government met in London. My father welcomed just eight countries to the first such meetings in 1948. Now, the Commonwealth includes 53 countries with 2.4 billion people, a third of the world’s population. Its strength lies in the bonds of affection it promotes and a common desire to live in a better, more peaceful world. It’s important to build friendships around the world especially when we are struggling to get on with the neighbours.
One’s nervous of mentioning the Brexit thing, every one gets so cross with each other’s and one’s running out of relatives one can marry off to take people’s mind off it.
Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding. Indeed the Commonwealth Games held this year on Australia’s Gold Coast are known universally as the friendly games because of their emphasis on good will, mutual respect and not inviting the Americans, Chinese or European’s. We send four British teams instead of one and win stacks more medals than we would otherwise. We love it.
The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn’t provide theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life. Instead, it’s about the birth of a child, and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago, brought to the world. Only a few people acknowledged Jesus when he was born; now billions follow him. I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all and unexpected success is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; not least obscure poets!!
A very happy Christmasto you all and may Mr. Green and his poetry thrive in the New Year!
Oh and buy the book or, if one’s to poor, get the kindle version.
The UK’s current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be standing down soon at the end of her ten-year stint. A distinguished committee of experts will be making recommendations for a new Laureate to be appointed from May 2019. Some well known poets have made clear they don’t wish to be considered but I am available and willing and would aim to bring a lighter touch to the role.
I won’t be too disappointed if they go for someone else. My poems are more for fun than to be taken seriously; affectionate but slightly irreverent.
The book is a light hearted look at what it’s like to live as a close neighbour of the royals in an imagined Windsor where locals regularly rub shoulders with royalty. It would make an ideal stocking filler for locals with a sense of humour.
I’m hoping Windsor’s newest residents Harry and Meghan will want a copy as there are several poems about their wedding.
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