Home / articles / Saturday, 2nd June – 65th anniversary of the Coronation of HM The Queen

Saturday, 2nd June – 65th anniversary of the Coronation of HM The Queen



A pop-up book from my childhood

Today, the 2nd June, is the 65th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

I was eight years old and remember it well.  We went to see the event in our local town hall where three television sets had been placed at the front of the hall, with rows of seats just like in a cinema.  However, the screens were tiny in those days, around 14 inches, and they were hazy with what was called ‘snow’ as the reception was poor.  But it was still a wonderful event

This illustration of King Edward’s crown, only used for the actual crowning of the monarch, is from one of my royal souvenir books

Children were given pottery Coronation mugs, but my dear Uncle gave me a china one and I still have it.  In fact, I have two, as he gave another to my mother, hence being able to show you the back and the front …


We were up very early this morning, around 4.20am.  We had coffee, sitting in bed, and listening to the dawn chorus.  I absolutely love early morning in spring.

About an hour later, around 5.30am, I popped into the garden to take this photo of the walnut tree with the sun (from the east at that hour, of course) shining through the leaves.  Soon, this lovely pinky colour will disappear and it will be just like any other tree with green leaves.

I was showered and dressed before 7.00am and, using the little courtesy car from our local garage, we popped down to our local Co-operative store as there were a few things I needed to get.  It really is the ugliest little car I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve been thinking about that:  someone must’ve designed it to look like it does. It didn’t design itself.  Perhaps it was designed by a committee?  Anyway, the  manufacturer must’ve thought it looked nice for it to go into production.  Or perhaps they thought that they’d have a go at making a really nasty-looking vehicle just to see if it would sell by the garage-load, proving that Mr and Mrs Joe Public really do not have any taste!

Actually, it looks more like a van than a car, i.e. a van with windows.  Perhaps that is the reason it looks so awful?  Fill in the sides and you’d have a van, i.e. a dual purpose design!  Never mind, it gets us from A to B but if I wanted to drive around in something as utilitarian as this, I’d buy a van in the first place.  Thank goodness it’s only on loan.  I can’t wait to get our own car back!

Back from the Co-op we had breakfast.  Husband had already had porridge when he got up, about 5.00am, so it was just a very light breakfast, about 8.30am.  I had fruit and then we each had a warm croissant with apricot jam.

I then did a few jobs, hanging out washing, making the bed, and then I decided to make mushroom soup for our lunch.

I’ve mentioned my recipe before, and it’s so easy – just a couple of onions, a potato and some mushrooms, chopped and sautéed in a little rapeseed oil, boiling water added (sufficient to cover the vegetables) and vegetable Oxo or bouillon added, simmered for 15 minutes, parsley added (if you have any), a little crème fraiche added (I use low-fat crème fraiche) and blended using a stick blender or in a liquidizer.  We had it for lunch with crusty baguette and various cheeses, olives, tomatoes, and an apple and cider chutney (and there is sufficient for another meal.)  But tasty or not, I apologise for the look of mushroom soup!  There isn’t any way you can make it look pretty!!!

While the mushroom soup was simmering, I made a rhubarb and ground almond cake.  This is like making toffee apple cake but substituting rhubarb for a couple of dessert apples.  You simply cut the rhubarb up into bite-size pieces, saute them in some butter and add muscovado sugar.  When you have mixed up your cake and put it into a prepared tin, you put the cooled rhubarb mixture on top of the cake mixture and then bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven, around 160C for about 45 minutes.

For this cake you need 6 oz caster sugar, 6 oz margarine, 3 oz each of ground almonds and plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3 eggs.  Make as you would a sponge cake, creaming the sugar and margarine, adding the eggs, and then adding the flour/ground almonds/baking powder which you will have mixed together.  It couldn’t be easier.

When it has cooled, remove from tin and sprinkle a little icing sugar on top and serve, either on its own or with cream. I don’t have any cream at the moment, so  we had a slice each with a cup of tea this afternoon, and it was really light and moist.


The rhubarb, being heavier than the cake mixture, sinks into the cake but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the taste, and it’s lovely.  It really is a pudding-cake, nice to eat warm with custard, cream or ice cream, or to eat cold with a cup of tea.

While I was enjoying my tea and cake, the Red Arrows screamed overhead. Today is the Torbay Air Show with lots of events, but we don’t care for crowds so have stayed at home.  Last year it was reported that there were around 150,000 people watching the event from various vantage points and on the sea front.

I should’ve had my Nikon ready, but I’d totally forgotten that the Red Arrows were due this afternoon, so not a good photo, taken with my compact camera, but it’s always exciting when you hear them come screaming over the house.

To get this view (above) – again not good – showing the Red Arrows with the cannisters of red white and blue smoke, I needed to stand on the loo seat of our upstairs bathroom and hang out of the skylight window!  If we are prepared to do this we get a view of the sea!  Many boats were out there today, enjoying the fine weather and the aerial displays.

And now I’m looking forward to seeing the film on TV this evening about the four acting dames:  Dames Eileen Atkins Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith.  What a change it will be to have something (hopefully) interesting to watch as Saturday night viewing, across all the channels, is usually spectacularly awful.

Until next time.

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

Check Also

Animal Magic

Yesterday, our son and grandson invited us to go to the Zoo with them.  It is only …


  1. That program about the acting dames sure does sound interesting. Please do give us a report.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I think it might be good. They are together in conversation at Dame Joan Plowright’s home.

  2. How exciting the coronation must have been for a young child. Those 2 mugs, my goodness, they will be worth quite a bit of money, now….. but, some things are too precious to sell, they are great items to pass down.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Ratnamurti. No, I doubt whether the two china Coronation mugs are worth very much as such commemorative wares were made in countless thousands. Indeed, it’s what are known as ‘cabinet’ pieces which, generally speaking, are often worth less than what people originally paid for them. This is because they were of the highest quality when they were produced and people would put them out of harm’s way into display cabinets and thus they weren’t broken, cracked or chipped. It’s often the more ordinary everyday objects – the pottery mugs given to children – which people used and therefore were broken or damaged – and if they have survived are sometimes more valuable. But as I say commemorative wares were made in vast quantities, hence few are valuable. I don’t actually collect commemorative wares, I just haven’t parted with these two mugs as they are so very pretty.

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I love mushrooms but have never been keen on mushroom soup. Strange, isn’t it? I must make the rhubarb cake as soon as we get more . We’ve started picking it but there’s not a great deal just yet. The cake looks so appetising (I suppose cake usually does)! Ground almonds make for a nice texture; I use them a lot. I made an apple fruit cake today. I’m experimenting with seeing how much sugar I can leave out, reducing it by one ounce each time.

    We greatly appreciate your lovely photos but, Margaret….please do resist hanging out of the skylight on our account. It doesn’t sound like a terribly safe pastime!

    My mum collected Coronation chinaware and had several commemorative pieces from various coronations including the mug in your picture. I donated them to The British Heart Foundation shop (her favourite charity). She was involved in the British Commonwealth army parade in Singapore on Coronation day.

    I’ve recorded the Dames to watch later in the week.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yesterday’s mushroom soup was very nice but not strongly-enough mushroom-flavour for my liking. I bought large mushrooms, the ones that Waitrose had loose so bought just four of them and used three for the soup, but really I should’ve bought some Portobello and shitake ones to combine for soup, as they are more strongly-flavoured. But with the vegetable cubes, and a handful of parsley and a couple of onions, it’s usually really tasty. However, the rhubarb cake is lovely. I’ve put 1/3rd of it into the freezer, we each had a generous slice and what is left is now in the fridge. It’s lovely warm, with a little cream as a dessert. Yes, I love to substitute some flour for ground almonds in almost any cake recipe, it makes for a very moist cake. Yes, I’m sure we could reduce the amount of sugar in many recipes.
      Oh, I wasn’t in a dangerous position, only my head and shoulders were out of the skylight! More dangerous, perhaps, was being perched on the loo seat, ha ha! It’s annoying, really. We have a decent-size detached house on a corner plot of land as you enter our Close, and opposite us are six semi-detached town houses (three pairs of two, garage at ground level, sitting room and kitchen above that, bedrooms at the top) but they are facing the sea and have wonderful views, while our house is side-ways on to them (because of the shape of the plot of land on which our house is built) so we only have a glimpse of the sea from our sitting room window, and then when we look out of the skylight (Velux window) a lot of our house roof is also in the way of a good view!
      How wonderful for your mother to have been ‘on parade’ in Singapore on Coronation Day, and how lovely that you donated them to the British Heart Foundation.
      I won’t say more about the Dames prog now as you have yet to watch it.

  4. Thank you for showing us photographs of the two mugs and pop-up book from your childhood. Those are very special items. It’s lovely that you have kept them.

    I echo Eloise’s comments about endangering yourself whilst photographing – but confess I had a chuckle imagining you balancing on the loo seat with camera out the window ! 150,000 is a huge crowd. I don’t blame you for hiding from the throng.

    I must get going. It’s now 7:47am and I’m still in bed – I woke before 6:30am and came back to bed with my cup of tea (in my favourite fine bone china mug 😃) and iPad. My cat is fast asleep on my lap and no doubt will let out a meow of complaint when I move her. She is purring away and I hate moving her when we are both snuggled and cosy. I have a busy day and can see myself being late before I even start ha ha.

    ps your teacups, saucers and side plates with the little violets are very pretty indeed. You have many lovely items xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It’s amazing what has survived since my childhood, Lara, but there are some things which I wish I now had which have long gone. Not large things, just small things. One was a little bottle of scent which was fitted into a Bakelite gondola, like gondolas in Venice (not that I’ve been to Venice, but I have seen films and photographs.) It was cream coloured and the little square bottle, which fitted into the centre – I don’t recall the manufacturer or the perfume – had a pink bottle top. A silly little thing from childhood, but I really loved it. Similarly, a box of floral-scented soaps by Bourjois which, when the box was opened, it formed a flower stall, the lid the back of the stall with the flower seller’s picture and the soaps, on end, with pictures of flowers on the wrapping paper. But even without these two things, my love of perfume and good soap has remained.
      I Googled Devon Air Show 2018 this evening and saw someone’s video of the Red Arrows as seen from Paignton beach. We only caught glimpses of them, but seeing all 9 planes screaming over our house was some sight.
      I thought it was time for the violet tea service to put in an appearance – I found this, mint condition (perhaps never used) in the Quay Antiques Centre in Topsham a few years ago and loved it on sight.
      Your lie-in this morning with your cup of tea and your cat snuggled up sounded lovely.

  5. You really are a true snob.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *