Live Chat 8am - 8pm
FREE Next Day Delivery on orders over £25
FREE lifetime support

The Goats Go To Windsor!

So, that was surreal…

Last week Rich and I went to Windsor for my MBE investiture. I had no idea what to expect because – well, you don’t really, do you? 

After a fairly harrowing train journey (5 hours, 3 changes), suit bag and very awkward hat box in tow, we staggered to the hotel. From the hotel you can see Windsor Castle – in fact, from everywhere in Windsor you can see Windsor Castle!

The castle isn’t just a building – it’s like a small town itself, occupying 13 acres of ground above the south bank of the River Thames. It consists of two quadrilateral-shaped building complexes, or courts, that are separated by the Round Tower. They say that there are more than 1,000 rooms in total – no one seems to be completely sure. But what’s certain, is that it is absolutely mahoosive! I was fascinated to find out that it was the largest castle in Britain, first built by William the Conqueror as a hunting lodge, rebuilt in the 14th century and is the oldest castle in continuous occupation. (I’m a bit geeky about stuff like that. Love a bit of British history!)

Next day we woke up early, dressed in our glad rags and got the receptionist to take this pic of us outside the hotel. And just look at Rich, wearing a tie. That doesn’t happen very often, I can tell you! 

We strolled up the hill and past loads of lovely, smiling people in uniform, who were all stupendously polite and congratulated me and steered us to the next corner, with the next smiling person waiting for us. I know they were being paid to be friendly and all, but goodness, it did make a difference. And made me smile, and feel a bit less nervous.

Finally made it into the Castle building itself. Room after room after room went by in a blur of three-story-high ceilings, endless gold, gilt, velvet, chandeliers and works of fine art. I passed the famous portrait of Elisabeth I that I had studied in my fine art class, looking weirdly familiar. No time to stop, though! (I’d love to go back and spend a whole weekend just poking around as a tourist, as I was so twitchy on the day that I missed most of it…) Our names were ticked off a list by another smiling official. I was given a pin that was affixed to my left shoulder, where the medal would go.

Then into a large and lovely room where we sat on very small gilt chairs and were given final instructions by a gentleman in a very fancy uniform. “You will be looking into a light, bright room with even bigger chandeliers than this room. Enter the room, walk and stop with your shoulder at 90 degrees to the chest of the Equerry, then walk four paces forward, turn, bow or curtsey. Wait for His Royal Highness to speak, and don’t forget to speak back to him! At the end of the conversation he will extend his hand for you to shake. Don’t forget to let it go afterwards.” (You could tell that these people had seen it all before…)

I instantly forgot everything the fancy gentleman had just said, because I was panicking and all the blood had drained out of my frontal cortex. I begged Rich to tell me whether I was meant to walk four paces and curtsey, or curtsey and then walk four paces. He didn’t know either. Damn!

Anyhow, all too soon it was my turn and I was peering into the huge, light room. Prince William was standing in the middle, flanked by officials on either side. He looked exactly the way he did on telly – very handsome, and very tall. The lady at the door gave me a gentle push and then I was walking….I stopped, made my little bow, walked up to the central square of carpet. It wasn’t too hard at all. I could do this! And there was the His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, smiling and leaning forward to speak with me, a tiny crease of concern between his eyebrows. I had the impression of a conscientious, personable young man who was intent on trying to do the right thing, and put me at my ease…Not an easy job, at that very moment!

I had a flash of thinking what it must be like for members of the royal family to do their jobs, day after day, meeting person after person who is melting with stage fright, and what an effort it must be to try to make each person feel comfortable and relaxed. Each royal must think that the world consists entirely of stammering, incoherent people with sweaty palms.

Prince William congratulated me, and attached the medal to the pre-attached pin on my shoulder. Then we chatted, and he was so kind that it was a strangely relaxed and charming conversation. He said that he had tried kefir before, asked where the farm was located, and said that he would like to come and meet the goats! I said that he would be very welcome, and I would put the kettle on.

Then he put out his hand and I shook it, remembered to let it go again (as per previous instructions from the fancy gentleman) backed away, curtsied again, pivoted smartly and walked out of the room, collecting Rich (who was holding my hand bag) along the way. We both emerged into the ante-chamber, relieved and a bit breathless, feeling that we had just climbed a really tall mountain. And – best of all – I hadn’t fainted, or tripped, or done any of the other humiliating things that had been haunting my dreams for weeks ahead of time! It was, in fact, really lovely.

Here we are, basking in the sunshine afterwards.

And then we went back to the hotel, changed our clothes and belted straight out to the Carpenters Arms pub (real ale on draught) that we had visited the day before. And I’m not going to lie, there was some day-drinking that occurred.

Because…you know…sometimes it’s just got to be done!


Shann aka

Shann Jones MBE

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

More from The Gut Health Express