Monday, 4 June 2012


There’s a full programme of activities and events at Leicester Cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee extended weekend. This afternoon it’s a 1950s-themed tea party (catered mostly by Barry and Julie-Ann Heath).

As I approach the Cathedral, I can hear Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire: not actually from the 50s of course, it was written and first recorded in 1963 (I'm only saying that, so you don't have to, faithful reader).

There’s a band of four young fellows, smartly dressed in white shirts and black ties, playing favourite songs from the period; songs that would have been labelled devil’s music in the 1950s and wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near a church. No one seems to know what the band’s called. Maybe they don’t actually have a name. I press the bass player when they’re finished and packing away, asking for a name I can put in the blog. Indeed, they don’t appear to have one, but he offers me “Hotel Zulu”. That’ll do.

There’s a good mix of ages, from toddlers up to more mature folk who may well have bought some of these songs on 78s. One old lady in a wheelchair joins in the dancing. There’s more than one person who looks like they’ve never set foot inside the Cathedral before, some wearing a self-ironising smile as they work their way through the refreshments. I’d like to think everyone feels welcome here. I certainly do.

There’s a nice spread of sandwiches and cakes, and some tea with a lovely old China tea service. I have some of the nicest chocolate cornflake cakes I’ve ever tasted (thanks to Julie Ann’s mum) and enjoy several biscuits made in the shape of crowns, with decorative icing.

If you're wondering what I've brought with me that's 1950s-based, well that would be me! I was born with the last 33 days of the 50s still to go. Wow, what a decade! If you can remember it, then you weren't really there. No, erm, hang on ...

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