There are very few people I’d do this for. But it seems I’m on the train to London to join a very long overnight queue with my dear old Mum.

Here comes a rolling thread about #TheQueue Image
My Mum absolutely loves the Queen and is the owner of many a commemorative item (plates, tea towels, spoons, mugs, cake tins). She spent her honeymoon in London for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. She spent all night queuing to see the Queen Mum’s coffin, before working the next day.
And so when the Queen died, it was clear my Mum would want to pay her respects, regardless of the length of The Queue. It was also clear she’d need some company.

And that’s how I found myself here on the 9.45pm train to London, trying and failing to sleep before the epic event. Image
My Mum was a Queen’s Guide back in the day and is one of the most prepared people I know. Thus we have ALL the clothes and ALL the snacks and ALL the enthusiasm for this hare-brained venture 😀
*pauses for final attempt at sleep before we arrive in London*
I have to say I’m feeling pretty bloomin’ daunted about The Queue Image
The train is 15 minutes EARLY (since when did that ever happen in the UK?) so it seems we’re here! Image
That’s my Mum by the way 😀
Tube to London Bridge. What with it being half midnight, all the other passengers are on their way home from nights out and are dressed accordingly. We’re dressed like it’s the height of winter and look like the biggest Queue cliches in the world 😂 Image
So we’ve still not found the end of The Queue, but we’re have found The Queue itself, looking lovely (and fast-moving!) in front of Tower Bridge Image
So the person who told us to walk to the end of The Queue from London Bridge can actually get in the sea. We’ve been walking for half an hour against the tide of The Queue and it’s pretty darn demoralising 😫

Currently aiming for Southwark Park and wristband nirvana…
*angel chorus from the skies *

We’ve made it to Southwark Park!

But… Image
…the end of The Queue entails walking up and down and up and down several thousand snaking barriers. There’s literally no need for us to walk up and down every single one, but walk it we must because QUEUEING Image
And there it is: the end of The Queue Image
(This is just the queue to get wristbands, before the long London-shuffle begins)
It’s taken us two hours to get here from St Pancras, which feels like an almighty waste of time. Next time we will GET A CAB.
Next time 😂
Still in The Queue To Get In The Actual Queue in Southwark Park. This snaking business is getting a bit old now. Image
Made it out of the park and have started the Grand Trudge. Lovely cityscape though. Image
Now that we’re out of the park The Queue is moving incredibly quickly, with big gaps between people. We’re starting to feel pretty tired after the giant walkathon. And there’s still so far to go!
A brief bit of stationery Queue while we wait to cross the road in groups in Bermondsey. Mum’s having a rest on a wall behind me. I ate a Twirl 😀 Image
Cool Queue photos ImageImage
Lady next to me queuing in HEELS 😯😯😯😯😯
Another stationery moment after a long moving stint. Not sure why we’re queuing but there’s a man with a camera and tripod taking photos 🤔 Image
My step count at 4am 😂

Also MY FEET 😫 Image
Shakespeare’s Globe is looking lovely and is also open for toilets. I’m very much enjoying sitting on a wall while I wait for my Mum 😀 Image
Using this pause to ponder My Life In All-nighters:
👉 20-30 yrs old: partying euphorically until the sun rises.
👉 33-36 yrs old: rocking crying babies in despair until the sun rises.
👉 42 yrs old: slowly shuffling in a slow-moving queue until the sun rises.
Also, St. Paul’s is looking LOVELY Image
Outside the Tate Modern now and The Queue has slowed right down. There are lots of people and it’s not moving very quickly at all. It’s also getting pretty cold! Image
It’s completely stationery now but we’ve found a bench to sit on, which feels like the best thing in the world. I’ve also put my hat on because it’s bloomin’ cold 🥶 Image
Still at a standstill, but gorgeous views all round - accompanied, as always, by The Queue. Image
We’ve moved about 50 metres in about an hour. Every so often there’s an enthusiastic gasp from the crowd when we begin to move… but then a collective “ohhh” of disappointment when we stop again just a few metres on.
My legs and feet are in agony but I’m oddly zen about it all. I feel like the guy in Rogue One: I am one with The Queue and The Queue is with me.
The sky is slowly starting to lighten and all I can think about now is a cup of tea. My God, I want a brew 😫 Image
Still by Blackfriars Bridge. My Mum has brought out the big guns and put on her furry hat 🎩 Image
Well this is clearly just designed to tease us / bring us to tears Image
It’s been magical watching London come to life over the last hour. We’re getting very strange looks from people walking to work though - a combination of wonder, disbelief and pity 😂
And just when we were starting to lose all hope in our still-stationery queue, this happened… Image
I’m enjoying the queue-rumours that are filtering down, trying to explain why we’ve not moved for about two hours. Some have said they’ve closed The Queue until 7am; others have theories about bridges and congestion.
Oh my God, WE’RE MOVING.
And we’ve stopped again.
I don’t want to tempt fate but I think we’re now moving-moving. And we also have a whole new section of Thames to look at, which is very exciting 😀 Image
My husband has just texted a photo of him in bed with a cup of tea and I am LIVID
[Grammatical sidebar: I *do* know the difference between stationery and stationery and am appalled at my typos! I can only say that I’ve been awake for 24 hours and my brain has clearly fallen into the Thames]
Look what this massive legend has just appeared with! Can I have a giant, Twitter-wide standing ovation for my Mum please? Image

Feeling quite emotional ❤️ Image
Also, ahhh, the irony of multiple grammatical errors AGAIN.
So we’ve moved quite a lot, we’re just past the National Theatre and Mum is buying more tea 😀

And behold the giant screen of Queen archive footage, which has helped pass the time!
Just been a rambling, incoherent mess on 5 Live, but then they asked to speak to my Mum, who swooped in and saved the day with her wonderful eloquence about the Queen!
Love that our end point is in sight; definitely don’t love that we have to go past it and away from it before we can go towards it again. Ahhh, the random logic of The Queue. Image
I realise I’ve not mentioned the blankets. At the beginning of The Queue (about a thousand years ago) we were all given light blue blankets to keep us warm. When worn on mass they give off almost a post-apocalyptic vibe, as if there’s been a mass escape from a hospital. Image
Think I’m entering a fugue-like state. Time has lost all meaning. What even is an hour anyway?
God, can you imagine if it was raining 😂
We’re on Lambeth Bridge! LITERALLY doing the Lambert Walk.

And there’s a very nice view from it too 😂 Image
(Although there still apparently three hours to go from here 😫)
Putting this out there, for anyone needing to know!
This isn’t a good photo. But it’s about so much more than aesthetics because it means we’re now ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE THAMES! Image
The final snake. So near, yet so far. Image
ALL the respect to this lady, who I’ve been admiring for the last eight hours! Image
Almost-midday step count 😂

Note the Dark Hours of Misery between 5-7am Image
Oooh and DAVID BECKHAM is just a few lines behind us in the snake 😯😯😯
It’s causing quite the stir 😂
The Queue is now full of people trying to photograph David Beckham and forgetting to actually move onwards. It’s madness! Image
Here he is in the background! Photo taken by my new queue buddy @OliverAngove Image
I feel a bit sorry for him, but he’s taking it very well 😀
It’s made me almost forget that we’ve been in The Queue almost TWELVE HOURS though 😂

Deary deary me.
Lots of people have been asking how Mum is, so here’s a photo of us in front of Westminster Hall. She’s in fine fettle (if thoroughly knackered)! Image
Interestingly, people have now stopped trying to pap David Beckham and are now getting back on to the business of The Queue. So that’s nice.
Think navy-blue flatcaps may be making a comeback though 😂
We’re so near but I think it’s going to be at least an hour still. I can no longer feel my feet. Image
I don’t dare count how many rambling tweets I’ve twet over the last 12 hours 😂

Thanks for sticking with me guys - you’ve helped make The Queue an incredibly fun and joyful experience for me and Mum ❤️
For all the David Beckham enquiries 👇
Introducing our Queue Buddies Lucy and @OliverAngove! Ollie took the photo of DB (which has now been stolen by the naughty Sun and Mail, honestly) and they’ve been jolly good queue companions for many hours 😀 Image

But are we really though. I’ve had this feeling several times today and it’s been so long that I’m struggling to remember my own name 😂 Image
Golly goodness, security beckons! I think it won’t be long now 😯😯😯 Image
I’m being told to turn off - ta-ta for now!

Will report back.
Well that was… just wow.

A tweet could never do it justice, but it was somber and powerful and glorious all at once. The magnificent room, the bowed guards, the flag draped over the coffin, the sense of peace. Without wanting to be too hyperbolic, it was really awe-inspiring.
It’s been amazing. The Queue introduced us to so many ace people: we’ve laughed, cried and cheered each other on. And while we came close to an existential crisis around 5am, we pulled through with a hot cup of tea and all was well again 😀
Mum cried, obviously. And even I was really moved it all - it was wonderful. Image
And David Beckham, having paid his respects, exited the area pursued by a crowd waving phone cameras in his face.

It was all quite the experience 😂
And now a hilariously super-fancy cup of tea and scone because we went the wrong way down Whitehall looking for a cafe and this was all we could find.

Cheers all! Image
Some final bits and bobs before I leave you all in peace.

After tea and scones we went up to Green Park to see the floral tributes - a sea of flowers and cards, bathed in incredible light. Mum loved it - and it made a very fitting end to the day. ImageImage
Final step count - the most I’ve done in a day for a loooong time 😂 Image
Strava stats, which include the trip to Green Park. 15 hours 45 minutes on the go, before we collapsed into a cab 😯😯😯 Image
And a final thank you to everyone in the Twitter community who’s liked, shared and commented on our mad adventure and generally cheered us on. You made a hard day so very entertaining and Mum is genuinely bemused and thrilled that so many people have read this thread 😀
There’s a fab little coda to the story. A man called @Rob_Mercer1979 who works for East Midlands Railway got in touch to say how much he’d enjoyed the thread - so much so that he’d like to put us in first class on the way home! Thank you Rob, it’s the BEST end to an amazing day🙏
Final thoughts:
👉Always be excellent to each other
👉Remember the difference between ‘stationery’ (pens & stuff) and ‘stationary’ (wot we were in The Queue for hours)
👉Support small businesses, because if not we’ll lose the things that make our local streets interesting & cool
And if you ever need any bright, colourful greetings cards or happy wall art, there are VERY reasonably-priced products for sale on my website 😂 (I’m a poor artist and after today I definitely need new shoes!)

Cheers all. Peace out ✌️ Image

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More from @NowThenSunshine

Oct 18, 2022
Someone asked me the other day what my favourite thing was that I’d created. (This was hard because I'm rarely 100% happy with anything I make and will pick holes in my work until the cows come home😂)

A mini🧵
After some thought, I realised that my favourite creation isn’t a card or print - and not even really to do with art at all. It’s a colouring book I made in 2019 to help improve children's mental health.
It came about after I realised that my son and I had our best chats when we were colouring in stuff together – he’d open up in a way that he wouldn’t usually and we'd talk about all sorts of things.
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