Royal baby stirs excitement in Middletons’ home village

The Duchess of Cambridge’s former neighbours are very excited.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Royal baby stirs excitement in Middletons’ home village” was written by Maev Kennedy, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 22nd July 2013 16.44 UTC

In a restrained, good taste way, largely invisibly behind their handsome timber security gates and long blossoming gardens, the Duchess of Cambridge’s former neighbours are very excited.

The Berkshire villages which sound like Camberwick Green’s neighbours – Bucklebury, Upper Bucklebury, Chapel Row, Stanford Dingley – scattered within a few miles of her parents’ home are tucked among low hills that cut out the real world so effectively that the sound of wood pigeons is louder than the traffic noise from the M4 and A4 just a few miles away.

The countryside, and the rosy redbrick and thatched houses, are so remorselessly pretty it’s astonishing not to come upon a Midsomer Murders corpse at every crossroads. The beautiful 12th-century church in Bucklebury itself will ring a peal of bells when the birth is confirmed.

“We are very excited. Well, we will be when it arrives safely,” said the two women admiring a ravishing flower bed worthy of Miss Marple. “No, we’d rather not give our names. This has been going on for so long – and we’re always misquoted.”

“Oh we are very excited,” John Haley, the landlord of the Boot Inn – known to television audiences worldwide as “Kate and William’s favourite pub” – snarled, his renowned good humour and endless friendly words for the media finally cracking.

His car park held two Jaguars and three outside broadcast vans, and between television interviews he was the only one behind the bar.

“Yes I am John Haley, for my sins, and today I wish I wasn’t,” he told yet another journalist, before picking up a shrilling phone and telling Australia this really wasn’t a good time.

He has known the Middleton family for years, and they were regular diners in the back room restaurant, but he escaped the worst of the last major media invasion of the pub because he was invited to the royal wedding.

Most of his regulars express tolerant amusement, and low key benevolent interest in the imminent birth, but a few visibly find the snaking cables and thrusting microphones a pain.

“Mr Smith” swerving carefully through the television crews to get to a pint, recalled that he once almost ran the royal couple down in the fields, when he was leading 20 ramblers on a walk and they came upon them out for a stroll. “They saw the whole pack of us coming down on them, and they changed direction sharpish.”

He happened to be in the pub for the last media invasion too, on the day of the royal wedding. “That was quite a scene.”

He sighed, and expressed treasonous sentiments. “I’m not a republican, but I can’t say I take much interest in this. But good luck to them.”

“Hope it does happen this evening,” Haley said, arranging a phone around to try and drag in extra staff, “let’s get it over with.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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