It was the first Sunday in a month of five Sundays, and the residents of Lower Strangling plus some people from nearby sat along a long table covered in a Union Jack tablecloth, eating a meal to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee whilst also raising money for the people suffering the most from the cost-of-living crisis.
“How is your burger?” John asked his daughter, Adele, who’d come up from Hampstead to celebrate.
“Pretty good, dad, thanks.” Adele said.
“It’s one of Sasha’s, isn’t it?” Dave asked.
“It certainly is.” John said.
“I’m surprised you eat meat instead of your sister-in-law’s vegan produce.” Adele said.
“Sasha understood my love of meat,” Dave said. “We made an agreement.”
“You could always try going vegan.” Adele said.
Dave did not respond. He simply continued eating his Paddy O’Brien’s beef burgers.
“We could have all eaten vegan.” Adele’s boyfriend Grant Corbellings said. “Or at the very least, you could have supported someone else more deserving than Patrick O’Brien.”
“Paddy O’Brien’s have always been reliable for providing high-quality food for social occasions.” John said. “His previous criminal record does not change that.”
“You have a butcher who doesn’t have a history of paedophilia and animal abuse.” Adele said. “You could have just served everyone meat from him.”
“That meat is for the Hangman’s Noose only.” John said. “Paddy O’Brien’s is better for serving food quickly.”
Adele rolled her eyes, then continued to eat her vegan burger.
Robert looked up at the ominous grey clouds above them.
“Looks like rain,” he said.
“I’m sure it’s just overcast.” Simon said. “And if it does rain, then that just makes our street party even more British.”
“I’d rather not have a soggy burger and diluted wine.” Paul said.
Simon sighed. “Fine. If it does rain, then we’ll simply move into the Hangman’s Noose and continue the party there. But I’m sure the God Lord will provide us with pleasant weather.”
Just then, Robert felt the unmistakable wet texture of a raindrop on his face.
“I definitely felt a drop just then.” Robert said.
Simon sighed once again. “Stop winging, Robert. Just enjoy the party.”
“Fine.” Robert said, before biting into his beef burger.
After a few minutes of banal conversation about various things like the Royal Family, the state of the government, and so on, the heavens opened, and a vertical deluge bombarded the partygoers.
“Told you.” Robert said.
Simon got up. “Right, ok. Everyone into the pub, quickly.”
With that, the party guests quickly grabbed their plates and rushed into the pub, leaving the table with its Union Jack tablecloth to get soaked.
The rain continued to pour for the next hour, but the party goers simply watched it through the window whilst seated at various tables in the village’s iconic 15th century pub.
“Well, that was a shame, but at least everyone is still enjoying themselves.” Simon said.
Sarah looked at the table outside, the tablecloth threatening to blow away.
“Should we bring the tablecloth inside before it’s blown away?” Sarah asked.
“I’m sure it should be fine,” Simon said. “Besides, I don’t think anyone in here wants to go out in that in a hurray.”
“If you say so.” Sarah said, before continuing to eat her meal.
“Are you sure you don’t regret not being at the Mall?” John asked Adele and Grant, who were sitting opposite him.
“Well, that would have been cool. But I could only have been with my dad in my home village, rain or no rain.” Adele said, before taking a sip of her wine.
“Good to hear it.” John said, before sipping his Throckmorton Ale.
And so the residents of Lower Strangling continued to celebrate the 70-year-reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second, whilst the Union Jack tablecloth outside blew away and flew down Economy Drive, perhaps never to be seen again.