There's a wave of Royal wedding fever and excitement sweeping the nation at the moment. The population at large is divided into two groups; those who are quite into the forthcoming wedding and celebrations and those who hate the concept and think that the money should be spent on homeless people, the welfare state and providing money to students so they can get pissed.
I've found myself falling into the first group. I'm no Royalist either, nor am I a
Thomian Republican. There are things I rather like about the monarchy here as well as things that don't float my flotilla.
The negative side includes factors such as their inherent ugliness; the women all looking like horses dressed as Humans and the men opting for that chewing a lemon big eared goofy posh look that's all the rage among big eared goofy posh people these days.
And there's uselessness. Many of these Royals live extravagant and opulent lifestyles at our expense. Examples like Prince Andrew and Fergie are pretty much disliked by all, though I admire the way that Fergie has carved out her own career with Will.I.Am and the others.
Most people think that Prince Charles, though a bit mad, is okay. Camilla seems to mind her own business and has been quietly adopted by the public, which is quite nice and British really. Perhaps because she appears so unlike Princess Diana in every way there's never been much in the way of comparisons by the public, just an acceptance that she is where and who she is.
Her Maj The Queen? Everyone likes her. She's getting on, she doesn't do a lot in terms of ruling the country, but she opens parliament, makes speeches at Christmas time and gives lessons to everyone on how to talk posh.
Prince Philip is treated with a mixture of amused scorn and admiration. When he's your own man you have to like a fellow who says things like:
"You look like you're ready for bed" - to the President of Nigeria, dressed in traditional robes.
Or to a driving instructor in Scotland "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through their test?"
The news here is dominated by Royal Wedding related stories. Of course the weather takes the number one spot in this. You can talk to just about anyone and they'll probably be able to give you an accurate and detailed report of the forecast for tomorrow, such is the nation's obsession.
Pubs, streets and houses are adorned and decorated with bunting and Union flags (not Union Jacks; they're only called that when flown at sea you know!) and people are busily organising street parties. In typically British fashion people started camping out days ago in central London to get a good view. Queueing, like saying sorry at every available opportunity, is an intrinsic part of British culture.
I drove down Pall Mall the other day and saw the old buildings and the back of Clarence House, where Prince William lives in London. It's right next to the wedding route and there were barriers up already in preparation for the crowds and a fleet of outside broadcast vans and trucks parked there doing their thing. I felt excited and a bit proud.
The eyes of the world are upon us, looking at London, this wickedly fantastic city, doing what it does best.
I love it. Really I do.