We've just had a very royal visitor to Jura. Princess Anne arrived by helicopter last night - using our Cricket Pitch by the beach as a helipad. She was here to officially open a new Care Centre for the elderly in Craighouse. It was always sad that people who had lived their whole lives on Jura (rarely or never leaving the island) were forced to leave in their last years. So that's now a thing of the past. The opening ceremony was at 10am this morning and the Jura school children were the first to greet the Princess - see picture.
The royal connection brought back childhood memories. One of the summer highlights was the Royal Yacht Britannia passing the island. When we knew - via R4 - that the Royal summer holiday was due to start, we would eagerly watch the horizon for the unmistakable silhouette of Britannia's funnel and three masts - accompanied by a navy frigate fore and aft. Once a sighting was made, we would all dive in the car and race down to Feolin Ferry where she would pass close by. My father drove an old Rover P4 and this occasion provided one of the few legitimate excuses to drive it fast! When combined with the bumpy single-track road down to the ferry (and my dad's driving...), the Rover's weight, soft suspension, and overly bouncy leather seats gave us a ride Alton Towers would be proud of.
Of course we weren't the only ones. A small gathering of Jura folk and visitors would congregate on the old pier. Union Jacks would materialise, car lights flashed (it was usually at dusk), horns sounded and a few rounds of Rule Britannia and God Save The Queen would be sung out as loud as we could while the ship passed by. Once, to our great excitement a small female figure came out on deck and waved back. Could it have been you know who? It must have been...