How are you spending the Jubilee weekend?
Here in Cambridge, exams rule... and, as usual, we are paying not a blind bit of notice to the season's festivities. We never observe the early summer bank holidays here. That is to say, university life goes on as it ever did, the libraries are open and the students sit the Tripos (and we mark it), jubilee or not.
My own priority for the next couple of days is to get a version of my big lecture in Paris done, to send off to the translator (the deadline was today, but I'm hoping that Monday won't matter too much). The students are heads down in their exams (but I havent got any scripts to mark yet) . . . remember please when they have a few nights of over the top celebration afterwards, that they missed this weekend's jollities.
The topic in Paris is "Les Romains riaient-t-ils", and I have got more than enough to say .. except I don't know what bits to focus on, for an hour's talk in French -- which always takes longer than in English (in my French, at least -- if I was more fluent, no doubt I'd romp through). So that's what the weekend is for. I'm hoping that a punchy version will be done by Monday, whatever else is happening.
Meanwhile, I have been going on with the French lessons, and especially with 'le francais familier' (definitely not to be used in the big lecture though,or so I'm told -- but great to discover all those words that were kept from us at school). I'm working once a week with the Newnham lectrice, both on chat and comprehension of tv videos. We looked at "Dr Cac" today, obviously a new French phenomène) and got together more and more vocabulary I didn't know (bosser = travailler; une baston = une bagarre . . . no wonder I didnt understand French tv before I did this).
And I did some French tongue twisters, for pronunciation purposes... Un chasseur sachant chasser doit savoir chasser sans son chien.. etc etc
It is of course quite hard to keep going on through all the flag waving. And when you're a bit out of it, it's also kind of hard to take the euphemistic eulogies of her Majesty quite seriously. When David Cameron says she "has never put a foot wrong", does he really expect us to think that is true? Sixty years and NEVER a foot wrong... ?? Don't patronise us (or her); get real.
Much more to the point is that she has put plenty of feet wrong, as has her husband, but on balance, for the time being, we'd prefer her to the alternatives. My problem, of course, is not Her Maj herself, but the whole pyramid of privilege she legitimates -- not to mention the young royals and the money they plough into Bouji's and Tatlerland.
Signed: a hard-working, semi-monarchist Republican, who wont be seeing much of the celebrations (or minding too much., but hoping those that are taking the time off have a good time).