Living in the UK has been strange over the last 10 days or so. I was in work when we started to get news around the Queen being ill, and it seemed to get steadily more serious as the time wore on. I was then at football training in the evening when I turned on the radio and heard the sad announcement.
My whole life, the Queen was a constant presence, always there. Seeing her on the money and stamps everyday. She visited at Christmas every year, and growing up we would sit down and watch her speech after lunch. She was like the relative you invited who came and no one fought with. So the reaction for me was not pain, but a strange feeling like a void. A big hole in the country.
The country had a long period of mourning, and the protocol surrounding it I found very intriguing. There were set number of days, certain events that had to happen at certain times. It was fascinating to think that we were witnessing something that has been repeated over centuries, and seeing it much better than any other generation had ever done.
I didnt go to join the queue. We did consider it, but one big factor, aside from the commitments for the children at weekends, was the length of time, and the impact on my wife. She is disabled, and so would not be able to manage the endurance. I did hear about the accessibility queue late in the day, but we had already decided not to go.
We did watch the funeral itself. Again, this was a ceremony that has been seen for centuries, and I really felt like the weight of history played a big part. I felt for the family, so obviously in need of a personal moment after all that time being part of a machine, but having to observe protocol again. It must have been so tough.
And we are now in the reign of King Charles III. He has changed during the mourning period, and I think has a kingly look about him, which was a big surprise. He has waited so long, but does look the part now.
As I said, strange times. Surreal in many ways, but amazing to live through history on a day to day basis.