By Laura Campbell

      4/7/2022       Next-->

The sight of so-called eco-warriors being used as impromptu pooper-scoopers as they were dragged off The Mall whilst attempting to interfere with the Queen's Horses during the Trooping of the Colour parade in London last week, brought a snigger of delight to my frozen nostrils.
You can read all about it in the world news further down, but during the parade, which was part of Queen Elizabeth II's 70th Jubilee, a gang of Green freaks jumped the crowd barriers and started to buzz around the mounted troops like those nasty little flies which hang around over ordure of all varieties.

The Bobbies swung into action fairly quickly, but as it is the practice of Extinction Rebels and their ilk to sit down to block roads, the coppers had to drag them off by the legs, whilst these Tikok addicted morons filmed themselves with their smartass phones "bravely fighting for the future of Planet Earth".

At least one of these protestors managed to gather up enough fresh horse manure on his jeans to start his own organic gardening supplies business, or, if the jeans are ever washed, collect enough compost to feed his little cannabis plot for a year. Have a look at the pics and videos and you'll agree that this episode adds a whole new meaning to "skid marks".

Apart from the riffraff being silly, the celebration of HM QEII's 70th year on the throne went off rather well, the pomp and pageantry reaching unequalled heights. Among the highlights of the four-day binge was an open-air concert outside Buckingham Palace attended by the heir apparent HRH Charles the Prince of Wales as well as the next lot in line, Prince William and his family.

Elizabeth was unable to attend all of the events, which is not surprising as she is, as William pointed out, close to 100 years old , and has recently recovered from a bout of covfefe. She did, however make an appearance on the famous Bucks House Balcony, from which Royals have greeted their subjects for a century or more. The roar of approval from the thousands gathered around the Palace was actually quite astounding and even if they didn't know all the words, the crowd gave Her Majesty a stirring rendition of God Save the Queen, which apparently brought a wee tear to her eye and caused her say, according to lip-readers: "How amazing!"

It reminded me of the Queen's visit to Bulawayo back in October 1991 when half of the city turned up to see her and Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the airport, while the other half were lining the streets of the town to catch a glimpse of HM, who had visited this country in 1947 in the company of her father King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes Lyon the Queen Mother. Princess Margaret, younger sister tagged along. Memories of this visit linger still in the city with such places as the King George VI Memorial Home and School for disabled children the Princess Margaret Clinic, Queen Elizabeth house for the elderly and so on.
Being employed at The Bulawayo Bulletin of fond memory back in 1991, I spent much of that weekend charging round after the royal entourage in the faithful Renault 4 and even went to the church service attended by the Queen at St John's Anglican Cathedral on the Sunday. That was a tough call as most churches start doing stuff way too early.

A few days after all this, I was pleasantly surprised to find this large and very posh-looking envelope awaiting me in the Bulletin's mail basket. (In those days we didn't even have e-mail. Letters still arrived with a chap on a red bicycle carrying a leather postal bag.)

Within the envelope was a gilt-edged (nog-al!) rectangle of high-quality paste-board embossed with a crown and the Queen's insignia, EIIR. "The Master of the Household is commanded by Her Majesty to invite ...."

So, having chiseled the airfare to Harare out of our publisher by persuading him that it was all for the greater glory of the 'paper, off we went to Harare whither members of the local 4th Estate has been invited to a reception by the Queen. In those days I actually had a rather smart skirt-suit ... what my old Granny called a "costume" ... which could have been designed as the ideal outfit for a garden-party with royalty. I also had high heels, which matched.

We, the local Press, more accustomed to denims and T Shirts and takkies, all rocked up at State House looking jolly posh and were greeted on the steps by the Q, complete with her trademark white gloves, designed for mass-handshaking . I think I sort of managed a curtsey in the approved fashion and wandered off to join my fellow hacks for orange juice and cucumber sarmies in a large marquee on the State House lawn. The Master of the Household being obviously well-acquainted with the dipsomaniac habits of those who write for a living, had wisely decided on innocuous beverages for this occasion.

So the Queen circulated about the tent with a smile and greeting for all, while we stood around wandering what to do with our hands as cameras and notebooks had been banned.

The rule is when meeting the Queen you don't speak unless spoken to, so it was lucky for Liz that as she approached our group, the heavens opened and a downpour of epic proportions set the State House gutters gurgling and gushing. It gave her a beautiful opening and she asked: "I'm sure you could do with some of this in Bulawayo!"

"Yes, Ma'am, replied the hick from the sticks. "But it's rather early in the season and we would much rather have gentle rains to start with to get the grass growing and prevent soil erosion."

Readers who were alive at the time might recall that Bulawayo and Matabeleland were then in the grip of yet another severe drought. It had rained lightly in Bulawayo on the day of HM's arrival and this downpour in Harare just convinced me that Bamabazonke was getting more than its fair share, as usual!

While I hadn't been prepared to chat with the Queen, I had certainly not thought to give her a lecture on soil conservation. I was impressed 'though that she knew enough of Bulawayo's woes to pick a subject to ask about on the spur of the moment ... even if it was that perennial English topic, The Weather!

Granny, aged 91, was fairly chuffed when I returned to Bulawayo to relate to her the latest exploits and show her the "costume I'd worn (with stockings and everything, except for the hat. I didn't think my battered trilby which had seen too many dunkings in the waters of Kariba would really "go" with the shoes).

Ancestors of mine going back several hundred years served in cavalry and infantry regiments, so the military parades which accompany all Royal events are of especial delight. No wonder then that I spent more time looking at the magnificent horses in the 70th Jubilee parade than the "costumes" of the Windsor Women. Although I do seem to recall that Kate was wearing a small umbrella on her head at the Service of Thanksgiving.

Good on the horses this year for laying a perfect minefield for the Klimate Kreeps and what a pity, I thought, that the animals are so well-trained that not one of them took it into its head to lay a hoof on the hoi polloi!

Thank you Laura!!


The first two books of the Stone Hills series - All the Way Home and Wild Honey by Bookey and Richard Peek - are available, new, plus our National Geo video Raising Hell, all at $10 each. Please whatsapp +263 712 615 582.