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Devion's Views #200




IT WAS REALLY "QUITE BUMPY" (posted Dec. 28, 2019)

Monsieur Ronald's fingers (aka his ten "pinkies") struggle ever-more with computer keys. Arthritis; the enemy of dexterity is making work on the (200th) article somewhat difficult.

                                                      REFLECTIONS ON ANNUAL TRADITIONS 

The white-bearded old man in the tattered white robe staggers to the side of the crib.

He is scarred, bruised and bedraggled.

His trembling hands hold an ancient hourglass.

He looks down at the baby. A faint smile (of relief) crosses his weather-worn visage.

As the last bits of sand pass through the narrow glass neck, he slowly turns the timepiece upside-down and gently places it into the tiny upheld hands; whispering "It's now your turn little lad...good luck. I'm outta here...!"

                                                                 FESTIVE SEASON CELEBRATIONS 

Did you celebrate "Festivus" on December 23rd?

Pardon?

"Festivus", the word that was popularized in the 166th episode of the NBC sitcom "Seinfeld". The term has come to describe yet another way humans celebrate "the annual festive season".

                                                     MEANWHILE IN THE "CITY OF GARDENS"...

Genteel ladies and gentle men of the Monarchist League (Victoria Branch), dressed to the nines, shuffle their way through the side entrance of the grand old storied hotel "The Empress".

Mere yards away and kitty-corner to the chateau-style hotel sits another architectural marvel, designed by Francis Rattenbury, the British Columbia Parliament buildings (The Leg., as it's known locally).

On the front lawn of "the Leg.", Queen Victoria looks down (sternly) from her stone perch. Her subjects look up wondering, why the look?

These two imposing structures welcome visitors to the impressive Inner Harbour of B.C.'s capital city. The vista offers a memorable glimpse back to another place and time. A place where British monarchs reigned and Francis Rattenbury was murdered (at age 67) by his second wife's lover.

The "Empress" manager (appropriately attired in a formal Prince Albert black frock and white gloves) greets the Queen's adoring flock and ushers them into the sophisticated lounge of his hotel; where traditional afternoon tea on fine china has been served since 1908.

NB: "Sophisticated" refers to tea-prices - from $82-$122 (per) includes a three-tier stand filled with goodies. Considered by tourists to be a real "bar-goon" for the quintessentially Victoria experience. 

Scones, pastries, clotted creams and strawberry preserves with fresh lavender from the rooftop herb garden. Original blended teas and the exceptionally rare "Tong Mu Phoenix Lapsang Souchong" blend. All certified by the "Ethical Tea Partnership".

The room decor, gentle piano sounds and subdued conversation, establishes the perfect ambiance to dream of long-gone Edwardian times.

Chapter President, Mrs. Fionulla Guilded-Sleeves, the third, (the third Mrs. Guilded-Sleeves) rises to address the gathering...

"Members, we are in this grand room to once again hear our Queen deliver her annual address. Please stand, if you are able, for the singing of 'God save the Queen'.

As tea and goodies are consumed, much gossip is exchanged..."My neighbour, Mrs. Balwin-Smyth, who knows the Reverend's wife, told me the reverend told her, he swore he saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex jogging on a trail in North Saanich. He was walking their dog. He stood at attention, gap-jawed, as they ran passed. Now it may not be true. There's been so much speculation about where they are vacationing in Canada, he may have imagined it. He's quite old you know."

The time of the broadcast draws near. Excitement and anticipation fills the room.

Since 1957, the Queen has sat down at the end of each year to deliver her verdict on the 12 months just gone, but only ever tacitly acknowledges the history-defining events that shape a turbulent world. It is a masterful annual display of wink-wink, nudge-nudge genre of communication.  

In 1992, following the marriage breakdowns of Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, the publication of a tell-all book by Princess Diana, the Sarah Ferguson Toe-sucking saga and a fire at Windsor Castle, the Queen gently confronted the elephant in the room..."As some of you may have heard me observe, it has, indeed, been a sombre year...an annus horribilis."

Like the rest of us...a normal human family...nothing to really see here.

This Christmas, via a five-minute television broadcast, the public got a glimpse into what the 93-year old monarch thinks of the antics that have shattered a decade of relative royal stability.

In Queen-speak, the phrase "quite bumpy" was a rare and blunt public acknowledgement that all has not been well inside the royal family.

As their monarch stared directly into the eyes of her loyal subjects in the stately Empress tea room, the mood darkened. The silence deafening.

Bookended by nasty car crashes - literally and figuratively - 2019 did not quite reach "annus horribilis" status but the House of Windsor sailed dangerously close.

The assembled monarchists took solace in the words of the Queen's press secretary from 1988 to 2000, Dickie Arbiter, "The monarchy has evolved over 1000 years. It has had all sorts of circumstances running against it, but it has survived. It survived 1992, it survived the abdication in 1936, it survived 2019." They can always count on "good old Dickie" to cheer them up.

Among the casualties of 2019, Prince Andrew is radioactive and likely spent Christmas in the Tower.

And who'd of thunk it...a once unloved figure, the Prince of Wales is now emerging from his mother's shadow and growing in public popularity. He has displayed rare stability and authority over a turbulent 12 months for those around him.

Joy returned to the Victoria Monarchist League folks when intrepid reporters from the Victoria Times Colonist reported, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and baby Archie are vacationing in Greater Victoria.

A TC report confirmed by the owners of the swankiest and most exclusive French restaurant in the area, "The Deep Cove Chalet", in North Saanich, that the royals are in the area.

Security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex called the restaurant to make a reservation for Harry and Meghan. Co-owner and executive chef, Pierre Koffle (from France) answered the phone. Pierre is well known (by his regular customers) for his "unusual" eccentricity. Having heard the security demands, he promptly turned down the request for a reservation and hung up.

Co-owner and Pierre's wife, Bev Koffle, remarked "Anyhow, you know what Pierre's like. We'll see what happens" she laughed, adding she wants them to enjoy their time here.

Only a cheeky French man would tell royals to take a hike...n'est-ce-pas?

Wonder who is picking up "L'addition" for this royal vacation?

May we all enjoy a better 2020.

Happy New Year.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory   


Ron welcomes all reader reactions, comments and feedback to any of his Views articles. Should you wish to do so, please email rondevion@mac.com


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