When we booked this holiday months ago, it seemed like a really great idea to go over the Jubilee weekend. Bank holiday jackpot! We'll save loads of annual leave! We'll breezily board a plane and jet off just as the rest of the capital gets engulfed in a steaming tourist soup of trampled Union Jack tat and overpriced cupcakes! We WIN at holidays.
Now, though, as yet another email headed "Really Great-Sounding Thing Happening Over the Jubilee Weekend" rolls into my inbox, I'm starting to worry that we lose at holidays. Why am I going abroad when my homeland is suddenly putting on such a show? It's like turning your back and missing your dog perform the whole Single Ladies routine on its hind legs.
I'm not a royalist, honest (as goes the standard disclaimer uttered by every secret flag-waver), but other than willing the violent destruction of every Keep Calm and Carry On spin-off in Christendom, my feelings towards the Jubi-hoohah remain unfailingly cheery. It ought to be turning my stomach by now, but it isn't - possibly because I keep picturing the day like a triumphant parade scene from a film, with confetti and people hugging in the street and Ferris Bueller, singing on a car.
Even the BBC is making me feel guilty about missing out. I worry that when my future kids ask me what I did for the Diamond Jubilee, and I have to tell them mummy was in a bar in Bulgaria playing poker for pork scratchings, they might fail a school project or something. (Come to think of it, it's a particular skill of mine to miss historic moments - I accidentally spent the '99 solar eclipse in a Dutch shopping centre - but not all historic moments offer the same excuse for Kettle Chip consumption).
Mainly I'm feeling sad because against all the odds (susceptibility to sun stroke; wacky hat-intolerance), I love big public occasions. Even crap ones, like power cuts. Love them. Last year, after weeks of grumbling, I got up at 5am, packed a massive picnic and went to watch the Royal Wedding in Hyde Park. It turned out to be, and I am honestly not exaggerating here, one of the Top Five Best Days of My Life.
Before you choke on your republican granola, I should say that this was due in part to plenty of non-royal factors: our elaborate cheeseboard; eating the elaborate cheeseboard at 7.30am; the excitement of being so close to the Westminster action; a surprise cameo from Vanessa Feltz; the chance to bellow my way through Jerusalem in public without anyone smothering me with a pillow; the surprise cleanliness of the portaloos; it all added up.
But I also loved the overwhelming feeling of communal celebration. I loved talking to strangers without there having to be a broken-down train involved. I loved the romance, goshdarnit. I'm not ashamed.
And now, it's possible the Jubilee might be even better. Because it's easier to get all "bah, taxpayers' money" over a giant, fancy wedding than it is over a knees-up for a woman who has tirelessly dedicated herself to public service and handbag co-ordination for 60 years. Whether you think her job should exist or not, it's hard to deny she's done it devotedly. Besides, she's going to be on a ruddy boat! With Stevie Wonder in her garden! As someone who's remarkably restrained most of the time about being Head of State and all (let's not forget the breakfast tupperware), for one day I'd like to see her enjoy being, well, a massive Queen.
Whether I'll be able to sneak some bunting into my suitcase and find a Bulgarian telly to watch it on remains to be seen - so you must all promise to eat extra party rings on my behalf, okay? And dress a gerbil in a Union Jack onesie, or something.
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