Diamond Jubilee: So many ways for city to salute the sovereign

Christine McGonigal gets the royal treatment from Maureen Hall at Granger hairdressers

Christine McGonigal gets the royal treatment from Maureen Hall at Granger hairdressers

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There is no shortage of events to choose from if you’re planning to get in on the action for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

FROM street parties to school picnics, classical music to sports tournaments, Edinburgh residents who want to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years of service to the nation will have a plethora of events to choose from.

Florist Lesley Wilson prepares her shop window in Morningside with help from Alfie the dog

Florist Lesley Wilson prepares her shop window in Morningside with help from Alfie the dog

Whether it’s a long table and old-fashioned public dinner you’re after or classic British fare with a modern twist, the Capital has the party for you.

Recent figures suggest the city is gearing up for the occasion. At the last count, 31 street parties have been approved by the city council, almost double the 16 held to mark the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year.

The council will host its own Royal Mile Afternoon Tea Party on West Parliament Square on Sunday for 100 special guests, including local primary school children, residents of the Whitefoord House veterans home and representatives from the business community.

There will also be a Jubilee concert at the Usher Hall on Monday, when the Academy of Ancient Music, who are to appear at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, will perform.

And events taking place in London will be shown live on the Big Screen in Festival Square, with seating provided for the BBC Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace on Monday.

But the celebrations extend well beyond Edinburgh’s best-known streets and squares.

At Drummond High School’s outdoor court, a basketball tournament will take place on Sunday.

And in Princes Street Gardens on Tuesday, the Bangladesh Catering Association Scotland will host an event featuring leading Bengali folk singer Momtaz Begum.

While the Capital, in common with the rest of Scotland, might not be embracing the Jubilee with quite the same fervour as communities elsewhere in the UK, residents looking to celebrate won’t have to go far.

At Pennywell Road, residents expect around 100 people to join their Diamond Jubilee Lunch in the grounds of the Muirhouse Millennium Centre on Sunday.

“As a country, this is a time for us to come together and know that we can still do something together,” says African foods retailer Moses Salako, one of those organising the Pennywell Road picnic.

“The Queen is an example of this. She has been there as the monarch while the country survived so many crises and wars. And yet she is still able to support her husband and her family.”

West End celebrations

From a showcase of the best in independent British fashion design at Pippin Boutique in Haymarket Terrace to royal-themed promotions at Ryan’s bar, the area’s managers and entrepreneurs are promising a wide range of entertainment.

“The tramworks have affected us hugely. It’s not an exaggeration to say the West End resembles a war zone at the moment,” says Murray Ainslie, marketing director at The West Room. “That’s why the Jubilee is so important.”

The bar and restaurant is to put on a “right old royal knees up” featuring “pot-tails” (Hendricks gin cocktails served in traditional teapots), duck and cress sandwiches and mini-scones with clotted cream and jam.

“We’re inviting customers and traders to come down and celebrate on us.”

Edinburgh’s schools join in

At Queensferry Primary, children will enjoy an outdoor lunch on June 4 and will dress up as princes and princesses or in red, white and blue.

They will also learn a special song called God Bless The Queen, which will be performed before the picnic. “The children are very much looking forward to a day when things will be a bit different,” says deputy headteacher Alison McLean.

Other city traders

My whole window is blue, red and white,” says Lesley Wilson, owner of the Arrangements Direct florist in Morningside Road. “We’re doing special Jubilee bouquets. And there’s my dog, Alfie, with his Jubilee vest - he sits in the window the whole time. I’m just trying to do as much as possible to promote it.”

Jubilee-themed shop displays can also be found elsewhere. “We’re putting on quite a show for our customers,” says Maureen Hall, stylist at Granger Hairdressers in Davidson’s Mains. “We’ve put up flags, union jack bandanas on the kids’ seats, even a cardboard cut-out of the Queen. ”

And if you want to avoid it at all costs

THE Cameo cinema will have a one-off screening of Akira, Otomo Katsuhiro’s legendary animated movie, tonight at 11pm.

Alternatively, Amnesty Scotland’s Shabnum Mustapha will join Billy Briggs and Jackie Kemp, academic George Wilkes and SNP MSP Marco Biagi in St John’s Episcopal Church on June 6 for a discussion about arms trade treaty negotiations.

WRONG TO RAIN OVER US . .

SOME of the best weather in the country will shine on the Capital this weekend.

Families across the city will be gearing up for royal celebrations or trips away to make the most of the long weekend.

Despite the city experiencing heavy showers yesterday, today will see the beginnings of a dry and settled spell with periods of sunshine.

A Met Office spokesman said: “We won’t see as much sunshine as we did last week, but we will see some sunny spells and temperatures in the mid teens through to Tuesday.

“The clouds will thicken up as we go through the weekend, with rain returning on Scotland.

“Edinburgh will be among the best placed locations to see dry weather over the weekend.”