The royal wedding at the weekend was a marvellous day, not just for Harry and Meghan, but for our family, friends and neighbours. More than that, it really felt like the wedding was a cause for celebration by the whole country. In the week leading up to the big day, everyone was talking about what they were doing and how they would be celebrating.
It felt momentous too because I realised whilst watching the ceremony on television, that there would not be another royal wedding in this country for quite some time. Prince George, Charlotte or Louis won’t be getting married for at least another 20 or 30 years. And unless you count Princess Beatrice or Eugenie (and let’s face it, their weddings will never be quite a big or as eventful), then that’s a long time to wait. And so I tried to get my two girls to watch as much of the wedding as they could, because, it was such a historical moment!
After the wedding, we started preparations for our street party! We are lucky in that we live in a small cul-de-sac and so we put bunting up across the road and got the barbeques ready.
We had our first street party two years ago to celebrate the Queen’s 90th and then decided to have another one last year because we all enjoyed it so much. This year it grew in size dramatically and we invited most of our neighbours on the adjoining road. It was fantastic when almost everyone turned up!
People are so busy with their everyday lives that we tend to neglect the very people who physically live closest to us. A short while ago, I learnt that my 80 year old neighbour had fallen and broken her arm. I was mortified that despite living so close to her, we didn’t know anything about it until over a week after it had happened. The street party was a good chance to re-connect with those people who we don’t see very often and in some instances be introduced to those neighbours that we’d never even met.
Maybe it was the glorious sunshine, maybe it was the free-flowing bottles of Pimm’s and Prosecco, maybe it was the men bonding over sizzling BBQs and football in the background or the fact that the kids were entertaining themselves whizzing up and down our street whilst us Mums all chatted, or perhaps all of this combined made a very enjoyable afternoon talking, catching up and bonding with people who we wouldn’t normally spend so much time with.
As someone fast approaching her mid-forties, it brought back happy memories for me of street parties and celebrations with my neighbours from my childhood. Not just in honour of Charles and Diana’s wedding or Andrew and Fergie’s wedding, but plenty of other occasions: fireworks, Christmas and just a Saturday afternoon get together. Our girls have loved all of the street parties and I’d like to think that they will be good memories for when they’re older.
I’m sure the street party is now a tradition that we will continue with our neighbours every summer, and despite not seeing many of them very often, I like to think that for one afternoon a year we might all come together and catch up. But in between times I’m going to make more of an effort to spend some time checking in with my closest neighbours and keeping the community spirit burning bright!