Hilda and George have been faithful members of the Scout movement in Bristol for many years, rendering countless services to the association they so heartily believe in. In recognition of their marvellous efforts they have been rewarded with an invitation from Her Majesty herself to attend one of her famous garden parties at Buckingham Palace. There is great excitement, and new clothes are purchased for the great day. They immediately reject the plan to take the car, in view of parking problems and the expense. The train will be cheaper and less stressful anyway.
Timings are carefully rehearsed to ensure they do not arrive late, which in fact results in them leaving for Bristol Temple Meads railway station very early. Despite their care they are both a little stressed, and unused to wearing such smart clothes in the morning. They settle into their carriage, and a couple of stations flash by. For want of anything better to do, Hilda gets the invitation out of her handbag…
Hilda (60): …er…George…
George (65): Oh what NOW.
Hilda: Well, it says here that showing the invitation isn’t enough. You have to show proof of identity, preferably passports. Have you brought anything?
George: …… you were hanging on to the invitation. Didn’t you read it?
Hilda: Not that bit…. What do we do?
With panic rising George thinks fast and rings his daughter back at home. They alight at the next station – Reading – and leaving Hilda on a bench, George crosses the line and takes the train back to Bristol. Their daughter is waiting for him on the platform with their passports, and he then races back across the line and takes the train back to Reading station. He collects Hilda from the bench and they take the next train to London.
Although they have allowed plenty of time, they hadn’t envisaged this sort of problem, and they realise that there will not be enough time to get across London to Buckingham Palace by public transport. Their stress levels overflowing, not to mention their tempers, they are therefore forced to go against their principles and take a taxi.
However they arrive in the nick of time, and all goes smoothly.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: (stopping to speak to them briefly as she proceeds across the garden) I see you’ve been members of the Scout Movement for many years. How wonderful. I imagine you’re terribly well organised.
George: Oh yes Mam.
(With thanks to Karen)