Everyone in the UK could not have failed to be swept up in the wonderful atmosphere of celebration surrounding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We were definitely amongst those and watched everything on television - the Thames river pageant being the highlight.
On the bank holiday Tuesday, we took the train to London and decided, when we arrived to join the crowds and sample the festive atmosphere for ourselves. We were not expecting to get anywhere near Buckingham Palace for the balcony appearance, but just wanted to be in the centre of London with all the crowds.
We bought a diamond jubilee flag - flag sellers must have made a fortune in London that weekend, and set off to see what we could find. We crossed Westminster Bridge (the queen had been to St Pauls, had lunch and travelled back by carriage to Buckingham Palace by this time), and soon encountered the hoards of people around.
Certain streets along Whitehall were closed, others were "one way only" pedestrian - this was strictly enforced by the police, so we tried in vain, but failed to get down any of these streets. We carried on until we got close to Trafalgar Square, and then stood at the back of a huge crowd of people. We could see nothing, but everyone was very jolly and merry. People were climbing on top of telephone boxes, or anything they could really, to try and get a view.
We contented ourselves, thinking this would be as close as we could get, but at least we were in London on this historical day. Suddenly, at 3:00pm, the police moved the crash barriers in front of us, and we were able to move towards Admiralty Arch. We could not believe our luck, but just carried on. We got at least half way down the Mall, and had a view of the balcony at Buckingham Palace - not a perfect view, but we could see it!
There was a sea of people, all singing and waving flags and when the Royal Family appeared on the balcony, a resounding cheer thundered down the Mall. It was incredible. I could see the Duchess of Cambridge, but unfortunately the stage from the concert on the previous evening did block our view of the Palace.
We saw the fly past - some wonderful old planes - a Hurricane and spitfires, and then the piece de resistance was the Red Arrows, flying in formation and leaving a red, white and blue trail behind them. This was really wonderful.
We experienced a bit of a crush after this, trying to leave the Mall, but did soon manage to get to St James Park and walk through there. It felt a bit surreal, but we were full of wonder that we had witnessed this wonderful event. Even though it rained at the end, nothing could dampen our spirit!