Happy Royal Wedding Day!

Hope you all enjoyed the big day today – of course some of us had to work as usual (Walking Tours were still happening while you lot slouched in front of the TV – grumble, grumble…)

In honour of Kate and Wills (I’m sure they’ll be thrilled!), I’m posting a few vaguely Royal Wedding-related musings that formed my Thought For The Day on Radio Ulster this week.  Enjoy!

Where were you on 29th July 1981?  As the next Big Royal Wedding approaches, we’re all talking about what we were doing at the time of the last one.  I remember it perfectly: I was six, it was a lovely hot day, and we got to have wheelie bin races down our street.  That’s my one memory: not the royal wedding, not the dress or the vows or the crowds, not the history-making that was unfolding on the TV screen. My only memory is that for our street party, everyone brought out their shiny brand-new black plastic wheelie bins, which had just been delivered to our street, and we spent the day playing wheelie-bin dodgems, wheelie-bin races, how-many-people-can-you-fit-inside-a-wheelie-bin, and any number of other health-and-safety-defying, wheelie-bin related amusements.  We had a great day – but it’s just possible that my six-year-old self was not fully switched on to the importance of the day.  And now my thirty-six year old self can only remember that one silly detail about that historic date.

Memory is a funny thing sometimes.  Why can I remember the bin races, and all sorts of daft details from my childhood – theme tunes of Dangermouse, the title of every Doctor Who story – but forget the name of the person who just introduced themselves to me thirty seconds ago?  Why can I remember every word of Kylie Minogue’s ‘I should be so lucky’, but forget every word of my First Aid training?  My earliest memory – of sitting watching clothes spin in the washing machine – why did it stick, when every other event of the first 3 years of my life is forgotten?

Sometimes we’re stuck with the random things our minds and memories latch onto.  But sometimes something is so important, so personal, so true, that we choose to remember it.  We write notes, or diaries, or leave post-its on the fridge, or – most importantly – keep telling the story.  Have you noticed that the incidents you remember most clearly are the things you have told other people about? When you dine out on a story, telling it to one friend after another, the details and the memory stick.  We even tend to start stories like that by saying “I’ll never forget it-”

We’ve just passed through the season of Easter, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing – retelling the story so that we remember it, because it’s important.  Every year we recount the details – Judas’ kiss, the moment of choice in the garden of Gethsemane, the horrors of the trial and crucifixion, the blossoming, breathless hope of Easter morning.  We tell it and re-tell it because when all else fades, when all else passes, this is what I choose to remember: that Jesus lived, and died, and rose again.  Something too good to be forgotten.